Outer Range Season 2 Review – A decent enough follow-up lacking a cutting edge

Season 1

Season 2


Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3/5


Ever since Lost took the TV world by storm back in the early 2000’s, there have been a myriad of shows scrambling to hit that same cultural zeitgeist – and many falling by the wayside. Fast forward to 2022 and Amazon Prime’s moody, noir-thriller Outer Range impressed many people.

The show was slow, but it was never boring; it managed to keep things interesting with its unique atmosphere. The show married a dark, sinister undertone with decent enough characters, a dash of western vibes and a mystery to keep you watching. Oh, and pockets of humour too, including well-placed surrealist jokes.

The season ended on a cliffhanger (because of course it did) and many worried the show would suffer the same fate as other recent mystery box thrillers, including Amazon’s Night Sky and Apple’s Constellation, which were both unceremoniously cancelled. However, Outer Range managed to dodge that bullet, returning to our screens in May 2024 with a season of contrasting fortunes. There are some great moments here, but also some big issues too, which we’ll get to shortly.

The story of the second season picks up right where we left off. Ceci and Royal finally learn that Autumn and Amy are connected but  there are still question marks over whether they’re actually the same person or not.

At the same time, the fight over the West Pasture continues, with the Abbotts and the Tillersons fighting more fiercely than ever before, waging a war over the land for one very important reason. The hole. Yes, the black gaping time-jumping hole is still here and after the bison stampede in the finale, our characters find themselves scrambling to make sense of their altered realities.

As the season progresses, the story branches out into different POV characters. We have Perry who finds himself in very unfamiliar territory, while Joy herself learns more about the past through a unique few chapters that explore her ancestry. I’m being careful not to spoil anything here but suffice to say, more pieces of the puzzle are taken out the box than before.

Mystery box shows like this live or die on their ability to keep a breadcrumb trial going long enough to reach the grand prize at the end. However, you also need to reward loyal viewers with titbits of information or little hints to show the story is moving in a consistent way, without relying on cheap gimmicks or sudden fake-outs for key narrative beats. Outer Range season 1 did the foundational work, with the promise of a follow-up delivering answers… and we do get that here, at least in a roundabout way, but with a narrative that definitely doesn’t have that same impact it had before.

Narratively, the show is a bit all over the place. The disparate storylines we follow do paint a larger picture but things like causality, anachronisms and our perception of reality are never tackled in any sort of meaningful way. At least not this season anyway. Maybe they will in the future but relying on a show’s renewal chances to tell a complete story, is akin to playing Russian Roulette and we’ve seen way too many of these shows cancelled in the past to put all our faith into this happening. And I’d imagine this needs to do big numbers at Amazon to secure 

It doesn’t help that a lot of the characters this season just don’t have that much growth. You take any character, from the very unlikable Autumn to the eccentric Wayne and they just don’t have the character journeys needed to carry this one in a way to make you really care and rally behind them. The only exception here is Royal, played brilliantly by Josh Brolin, who manages to keep up that same level of stoicism and moodiness that made him such a compelling player the first time around.

One of the big narrative threads this season is a great example of the issue this season has with stakes and consequences. The Ranch and its future is something that’s been such a huge deal for two seasons and it’s wrapped up in the most anticlimactic way possible.

Visually, the show still looks great although the problem with Outer Range’s pacing is exacerbated here with so many long, establishing shots. Don’t get me wrong, the locations are beautiful, but the unnerving tranquillity that makes Outer Range so unique is also its biggest Achille’s Heel. With so much time to think  about the show and its plot… you end up with more questions than answers – and also notice some of the plot contrivances too. I won’t get into that here, given tis is a spoiler-free review, but suffice to say you’ll probably take to Reddit or the forums to bring these questions to the masses. 

Outer Range season 2 isn’t a bad follow-up, but it’s definitely a far cry from the echelons of season 1’s unique vibe and feel. The show feels like it’s missing that key ingredient that made season 1 so different, and although there are some stand-out moments and enough meat to chew over, there’s nowhere near enough to satiate your hunger pangs between seasons. And that’s a damn shame, because Outer Range has a lot of potential. Hopefully season 3 will pick things up and get us back on track.

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  • Verdict - 6/10

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