The Outsider: “Must/Can’t” Review

Following a season of highs and lows, The Outsider finally came to an end tonight, and delivered exactly what we should have expected from a Stephen King adaptation.

Some fans will be outraged and irritated, while others will praise its subtle brilliance.  Either way, it will get a reaction.

Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned

That Escalated Quickly
Following the cliffhanger from last week, we see Hoskins in his sniper position, taking shots at the group.

After watching Alec and Sablo get shot, Andy makes a run for the car (much to the horrified disapproval of Holly), and Hoskins makes use of the oldest action cliche in the book, when she shoots the gas tank, and somehow ignites a massive explosion.

Despite being disproved by Mythbusters, the massive car explosion kills Andy, as well as Howie, who attempted to save him.

Hollywood just can’t resist the explosion shots!

After the attack, El Cuco seems to be done with Hoskins, and has a snake fatally bite him.  Just before he puts himself out of his own misery with his rifle, he warns Ralph to kill the mysterious creature.

Anticlimactic Climax
Ralph and Holly enter the caves, where they finally come face to face with the malevolent entity itself, in the physical form of Claude.  It taunts them with some banter about why children are tasty, and even asks Holly why she was so willing to believe in it.

It’s a scene that seems like it played out better in the book, which had more time, but just feels rushed here.  They then easily kill it via knife and rock to the face, which just seems like a disappointment after the series built up El Cuco for so long.

However, when we remember the source material, it’s not all that farfetched.  Stephen King is known for weaving fascinating and compelling tales that seem to be better at building mystery than delivering on the final answers.

It’s also an incredibly dark scene, not even in tone, but in lighting. It seems that HBO didn’t learn their lesson from the Battle of Winterfell that audiences need to see waht is happening to fully appreciate it.

In many ways, this ending feels oddly parallel to that of It.  Both involve a group of people taking on a supernatural entity that no one else believes in.

This quest eventually leads them into an underground location, where they defeat said supernatural entity in a manner that seems simple, and even goofy, especially after the threat has been built up so much over time.

It’s honestly not that exciting, and fans were probably hoping for more, but at the same time, this is what we should come to expect from a King adaptation anymore.

An author with a beloved, but well-known style like his shouldn’t really surprise us when he does what he’s always done.  Granted, we’re strictly discussing the ending to the TV series rather than King’s novel, but obviously what King wrote had great influence on this.

The Great Cover Up
By far, the most disturbing aspect isn’t the final confrontation, but instead the massive cover-up to prevent anyone from knowing the truth.  Ralph, Holly, and Claude purport some fictionalized story involving a human murderer, using Hoskins as an accomplice.

They know that the public will never believe in the existence of El Cuco, but they still wish to clear Terry Maitland’s name and absolve him in the court of public opinion.

In true Dark Knight fashion, they decide the public simply can’t handle the truth, and thus deprive them of knowing about this very real supernatural threat (of which there could be more).

Jeannie and Glory have a great, but brief scene which demonstrates just how much can be conveyed with little dialogue and time.

It hearkens back to conspiracies of government secrets, and reminds us that there could be many disturbing things out there we will simply never know about.

Overall, the season told a compelling story.  And while it had its slower moments, it always took the time to develop characters.  Despite the ending not being as exciting as we had hoped, what else could we expect from a King adaptation, given his track record?

What did you think of the season finale?  What do you hope to see in a second season?  Let us know in the comments below.  And for more reviews, rankings, and other fun horror contect, follow Halloween Year-Round on Facebook and Twitter!


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