After a strong couple of episodes to begin this thriller, The Outsider slams on the brakes and delivers a much more methodical slice of mystery, one that deepens some character ties but doesn’t do an awful lot to progress the plot. With the foundations laid already, this episode ultimately serves to strengthen the bonds before presumably plunging into a more exciting dose of drama late on.
Episode 3 of The Outsider begins with police swarming the barn and starting to look for clues following the bloodied clothes reveal last episode. A woman named Tina returns to work where she hears one of the officers lamenting his drive up to the barn that day. We then cut to the officer heading into the barn alone in the middle of the night and seemingly attacked by someone or something from behind.
While a new group of prisoners arrive at the jail, Ralph plays back footage from the shooting in his head before being shown the bloodied clothes found in the barn the next day. Among the clothes is Terry’s belt buckle he was wearing at the strip club. To make things even more weird, the strange liquid and fingerprints they found at the scene point to something far more sinister at work, especially given the lab results show they don’t actually know what the liquid is.
In order to try and retrace Terry’s steps, the group recruit the unorthodox knowledge of a woman named Holly. She agrees to help but only if Ralph and the others speak to her face to face. While Glory is forced to move the kids out of school following the incident with Terry, Ralph opens up to his therapist and tells him about his dead child and how rough things used to be for him. Soon after he visits Holly and they talk about the different reports, and see first-hand how scatty she is. However, in the midst of her thoughts she suggests that Terry had a doppelgänger which would explain why he was in two places at once.
Back in prison we see the prisoner with the glasses snapping one of his glass lens in half and cutting his leg open, prying out a wooden shiv hidden within. As he lies back down again, Jessa continues to see the strange man in her room and this time he has a message for Ralph; stop investigating the case. Alone, Glory speaks to her daughter who tells her more about the man she saw and how she originally saw him as her Father but didn’t tell her as she didn’t want to make her upset.
Holly tries to speak to Terry’s father but gets nowhere. Outside though she phones Ralph and tells him that they didn’t know Terry was dead, prompting her to look into that revelation a little closer too, especially given police have been sniffing around recently. That evening, Holly does more research online and finds stories relating to a man in jail for murdering two sisters. This is the man we saw in jail earlier in the episode but in the middle of the night, one of the inmates slits their own throat while the officer from the beginning of the episode nurses a strange piercing on the back of his neck, muttering “whatever you need” repeatedly, where we leave things hanging in the balance.
As the supernatural elements begin to spin web of doubts across the seemingly straightforward procedural playing out, The Outsider delivers a much slower episode this time around. Although the show does well to keep things mysterious, there isn’t a whole lot of actual plot development or reveals worth getting excited about here. The slick camera work returns this episode though, with shots beginning out of frame and smoothly moving over on a dolly movement in a really interesting framing technique that’s used to perfection. When it comes to the aesthetic and sound design though, The Outsider is compelling and gripping enough to watch to keep you coming back next week.