The Outsider returns this week for another twisted and dark slice of investigative detective work as our dysfunctional duo both work toward gaining answers from their respective cases. While Holly spends the episode looking into Heath and his suicide in prison, Ralph sifts through video footage trying to meticulously find the smallest lead to jump at going forward.
Episode 4 of The Outsider begins with an uneasy date in a diner while Ralph receives an email in the middle of the night, and a subsequent follow-up phone call relating to further information regarding the killer. At the same time, Holly learns that Heath worked at the retirement home Peter Maitland finds himself occupying. Following a Nurse called Angela, Holly is unfortunately maced before admitting she’s a private investigator to her. Inside, they talk together and Angela discusses Heath and the day he arrived to work during his week off – which happens to be March 6th.
During that day, Heath bumped into Terry in the hallway but something else is troubled here – Heath’s mother is adamant that he never left her side that day meaning our suspect potentially could have been in two places at once. As Holly continues to dig, she feeds back her findings to Ralph, paying particular attention to the 6th March date, given the 5th is when he killed the William sisters.
Ralph phones Yunis and manages to get access to CCTV footage that should help piece things together his end. As he sifts through the various videos, he pays particular attention to the CCTV footage of the strip club and zooms in to the handshake. Meanwhile, Glory continues to grapple with the press, as a reporter poses as a tutor for the kids until Glory throws the woman out the house. That evening she faces continued scrutiny from the townsfolk too, as people whisper around her while out for dinner.
Ralph heads back to the strip club and discusses the infamous Terry handshake while Holly speaks to Peter Maitland. Getting nothing but cryptic answers and deflections, Holly instead turns her attention to the detective originally fronting the Heath case, Andy Katcavage. She learns more about the mysterious circumstances surrounding the family, with a plague of deaths hopping between all the different family members.
Holly immediately senses something afoul and after sitting in a bar collecting her thoughts, the bar-maid mentions the possibility of a bug spreading. Holly heads back and speaks to Nurse Angela again and asks about Heath’s recent trip. After snapping a photo of the postcard, she heads home and looks up crime reports until coming across a woman named Maria who’s currently in Rikers Island awaiting trial. Once there, she asks about Heath and shows the woman two photos.
Interspersed around these two stories are various different scenes involving Jack, who continues to suffer from what looks like radiation burns on his neck. For now though, he remains a background player but no doubt he’ll become more of a central focus going forward.
At the station, Merlin returns and admits he lied last time out regarding the van. He was too scared to say anything but Ralph encourages him to draw a picture, where he sketches a disfigured man in a hood. Meanwhile, Holly believes Maria is innocent but also learns of a strange mysterious fable known as El Coco, a boogeyman that takes whatever it wants. “It” can take the form of a person and happens to be a grief eater too; a creature that sticks around and devours the pain and suffering of another, spreading like a virus. As Holly looks up El Coco and sees disturbing imagery, we leave the episode on a tantalizing note and with things hanging in the balance going forward.
If there’s one thing Stephen King novels do better than most, it’s characterisation. The players in The Outsider all feel fully fleshed out and interesting, with a clever way of interweaving both investigations together into a cohesive whole. Both Ralph and Holly are looking for the same thing and while their journeys run parallel to one another, there’s no doubt that this El Coco fable is going to play a big part of the story going forward.
The theme around doppelgangers and twins seems to lead naturally into this too and having not read the book, the story remains an intriguing puzzle box just waiting to be uncovered. There’s a lot of potential for this one to really set a high bar for the thriller genre this year and so far, it’s certainly one of the better King adaptations out there. Quite what’s in store for us next week however, remains to be seen.