Monday, June 13, 2016

Outcast 1x02 Review: “(I Remember) When She Loved Me” (Memory and Belief Drive Us All) [Guest Poster: Amir]

“(I Remember) When She Loved Me”
Original Airdate: June 10, 2016

Belief is a hallmark of any religion, and it’s powerful enough to drive any man or woman to do what they feel is right, because they believe it so. Reverend Anderson believes in the war between good and evil so devoutly that any other option doesn’t exist for him. Considering what went down last episode, it’s not that much of a surprise really. Memory has just as strong an effect on a person, driving us to make a decision based on the past. It’s what drives Kyle Barnes as a person these days. But what if the memories and beliefs we held so sacred and true are wrong? How far are you willing to go to make it true in spite of what you already know? “(I Remember) When She Loved Me” touches on these themes in a number of interesting (and spooky) ways and further solidifies that Outcast is a show to keep an eye one with this great follow-up episode.

Following the events of “A Darkness Surrounds Him,” we see Reverend Anderson giving a sermon to his congregation after having defeated an evil force and saving a small boy. With the knowledge and insight of before, Anderson is ready to preach the word and to prepare people, but getting people to believe anything is always harder than it seems. It doesn’t help if people don’t bother to show up to church at all. It almost mirrors the way people view religion today, and how few of them bother to believe in the stories of God anymore. “People will tell you this is full of stories but what good are they if people don’t believe them,” says Reverend Anderson to Kyle, and there’s a point to be made. For all the work that Reverend Anderson and Kyle will inevitably do together in the future, what good is it if people don’t believe them? Even Kyle has his reservations about what’s happened, but his reasoning stems a lot deeper than just simple denial of the facts. “I don’t remember it happening like that with her,” Kyle says, and no matter how much Reverend Anderson tries to reassure him, he just can’t seem to believe it.

One of the things that make Outcast really great as a show is how we’re not just following two men and how they deal with things, but how the town of Rome deals with things. In the previous episode we had Kyle’s adoptive sister Megan write off his mother as being sick, while Megan’s husband and cop Mark doesn’t believe a word of anything that Reverend Anderson says in regards to demons. Allison opts to just not talk about what went down with her and Kyle, and hopes her daughter learns to avoid it too. We even get Reverend Anderson’s small group ready fight off the demons by trying to get more “asses on those pews.” Everyone in this show has an angle and everyone believes in something different, which gives everyone a unique quality to them. They all just want what’s best for everyone, even if sometimes what’s best is a bit reckless — as we find Kyle breaking his mother out of her nursing home to tend to her himself, out of guilt or out of fear that maybe whatever demon claimed her isn’t finished with her.

This launches into an incredibly heartbreaking scene as Kyle is desperate to save his catatonic mother, all because he didn’t remember seeing the demon actually leave her. The truth of the matter is — as we learn at the end of the episode — the demon did leave her, but he has no memory of it. Kyle still believes he can make amends and try to save her, but even Reverend Anderson knows that she’s already been saved and there’s nothing Kyle can do for her. Kyle just needed to see for himself, and that’s always the hard part of believing anything. That the good memories Kyle had with his mother, which we get to see in a wonderful flashback sequence, will never return, and that Kyle has to move on.

Outcast still delivers its promise of providing spooky things with engaging characters and situations in “(I Remember) When She Loved Me” and still it sets us up for something much darker to come, as we meet a mysterious stranger speaking to Kyle’s mother at the end of the episode, as well as Chief Giles and Mark stumbling upon dead animals nailed to trees out in the forest. Something wicked this way comes, and hopefully it’s not just Kyle and Anderson who need to be ready to take it on, but for the people of Rome to believe them when it happens.

And now some stray observations:
  • Apparently saying “putting asses in pews” is saucy language. Interesting to know how conservative some people of Rome are. 
  • Special shoutout to Howard Deutch, director of Pretty in Pink and one of my all-time favorite teen films Some Kind of Wonderful for directing this great episode. 
  • The relationship between Reverend Anderson and Chief Giles is briefly touched on and further supports that they scratch each other’s back when necessary. 
  • Atticus and Leopold, and Claudia Sarne are the composers of this show, and their music suits it perfectly, especially during the opening flashback scene. 
  • Kyle gives his daughter a copy of Homer Price, which is pretty interesting considering Home Price also delves into the lives of a small town and a boy caught up in a series of crazy incidents.


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