TV Review: OUTCAST, Episode 1 – “A Darkness Surrounds Him”

outcast posterKyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) is a loner who could care less if he has running water in his house. There are dirty dishes lying everywhere and it’s clear that an odor fills the air whenever he is inside of an enclosed space. His sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) is pounding on the door, wanting to offer some assistance, but he barely pretends to not be home. Eventually, he lets her in and she’s more than upset at what conditions she finds Kyle in. “Do you remember having solid poops?” she asks after getting a glimpse of his fridge, a line straight out of the original comic.

This scene alone is stronger than any of the horrors that await during the first episode of the new Cinemax series OUTCAST, based on the comic books by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta. A relationship dynamic is set in stone, diving into the emotional bond only siblings can understand with that bit of dark humor some might find distasteful. There is a story behind their love, leading back to a traumatic childhood that makes Megan loyal to Kyle despite his own personal demons (no pun intended). She convinces him to get out of the house for an hour to take him grocery shopping, where he gets stares from the locals who apparently know his story.

Via flashbacks, it turns out his mother was a victim of possession leading to Kyle living a physically abusive childhood. These memories closely resemble that of the present when a local boy becomes possessed by an unknown aggressive entity that terrifies his mother. His symptoms include levitation and chewing on his own fingers, presented to viewers in gruesome close ups. Against his sister’s wishes, Kyle seeks out and aides a Reverend Anderson in exorcising the demon in a fairly violent sequence where it turns out the demon and Kyle might have more in common than he’d care to share.

The first episode of OUTCAST is directed by Adam Wingard, a genre favorite known for A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE and YOU’RE NEXT. His unique style fans are familiar with is on display and it’s his charm that helps prevent the show from feeling stale and familiar. OUTCAST doesn’t seek to break new ground, but to literally explore our inner demons and what happens when we keep them hidden in the shadows for too long. Kirkman writes the script here and fans of the comics will be happy to see how close the show sticks to the original material. I had a creepy smirk on my face as I watched specific moments from the comics brought to life, almost line by line. The show is fairly creepy and promises to go hard when it comes to confrontation. Fugit has been around for several years, but proves that he can carry a story, adding a sense of empathy to Kyle that’s not to be overlooked.

As a fan of the comics, I am more than excited of what’s to come with this first season (the show has already been renewed for another season prior to the premiere) and plan on visiting each episode with some after thoughts as the themes beg for conversation.

*Cinemax has the entire first episode available to watch for FREE on YouTube. We figured to save you some time, we would just throw it your way below!

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