The Outsider: “Que Viene el Coco” Review

As we delve deeper into the mystery that is The Outsider, this week seemed to mark a subtle, albeit definitive shift in overall tone and genre. For fans of the hard-boiled detective version of King we met in “Mr. Mercedes”, this may be a bit disappointing. But for fans of his classic horror (of which they are many), this episode will certainly excite them!

Putting the Pieces Together
Once again, the plot moves at a methodically slow pace, however this is very much intentional. The episode checks in with Glory Maitland, as she wards off another reporter, who happens to be posing as a private tutor to get access to the family.

Later at a restaurant, a random man harasses her, and while Ralph and Howie come to her defense, it shows just how tough life will continue to be for her and her children…until this is all settled.

Meanwhile, Holly continues to go down her rabbit hole of a private investigation. It leads her to speak with Terry Maitland’s father Peter, as well as an employee of the facility, one whose coworker killed himself in prison last episode.

One of this episode’s highlights is seeing Holly navigate awkward social norms with other people. This week especially, Cynthia Erivo does a great job of portraying an awkward quirkiness to her.

Suddenly, everything starts to come together in a chain of people who uncharacteristically committed gruesome murders; all of whom interacted with each other briefly. As Holly digs deeper into this, interviewing everyone she can, the answers she receives start to sound more supernatural than rational.

Classic King
While fans of Stephen King certainly enjoy when he changes up his style with such hits as “Shawshank Redemption”, “Green Mile”, and “Mr. Mercedes”, what fans of his truly love is his horror classics like “It”, “Pet Sematary”, and “The Shining”.

Ultimately, this is what made “Que Viene el Coco” so compelling, because from the foundation of a gritty detective story, an unexplainable supernatural force seems to be arising. So far, Holly is only hearing myths of stories of an alleged “boogeyman” or “Cuco” as it’s described to her. And we can see that even someone as rational as Ralph is starting to believe the unbelievable.

Ralph has heard stories about nightmares from the Maitland children, but seeing this drawing seemed to unsettle him in a way we haven’t seen yet.

Picking Up the Pace?
There are certainly pros and cons to long form television as a device of storytelling. For a thick source novel such as “The Outsider”, an HBO miniseries seems like the perfect way to tell that story.

Unlike a film adaptation, they don’t need to rush or omit any major characters or plot points, and the series is able to breathe week after week, as it explores its characters, narrative, and theme. That being said, sometimes it can feel that it’s taking a bit too long to get to certain things.

We definitely need an answer as to why Hoskins’ “mission” involves buying so many lamps!

The first two episodes were very quick to establish tension, as well as action, and they moved with the fast pacing of a film. The two since however, have been closer to that of a traditional series. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, and it doesn’t quite yet feel like it’s dragging too long, but it’s almost at that point.

Only time will tell, but we don’t want a 10 episode miniseries that feels like it could have been done better in 5 or 6. It’s not even really a problem now, just something to be aware of. What did you think of “Que Viene el Coco”?! Let us know in the comments below!  And for more reviews, rankings, and other fun horror content, follow Halloween Year-Round on Facebook and Twitter!

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