Burn, Baby, Burn
The Outsider has, at times, felt a little too slow and lethargic in fleshing out its initial idea. After all, the very thought of a supernatural entity feeding off grief whilst surrounded by people consumed by this very emotion is the perfect Stephen King nightmare fuel. Translated to the small screen, The Outsider has felt a bit sluggish in recent weeks but episode 6 injects some pace and, more importantly, some urgency into the story to make for a really compelling slice of horror.
Episode 6 of The Outsider begins with Holly seeing the news about the boy with the neck burn shot down in the street last episode. With evidence surrounding El Coco, she heads back on a bus while Ralph compares the two sketches and finds them both eerily similar. Jeannie however, becomes spooked when she sees these two sketches, realizing that Merlin saw the same man she did. As they continue to talk, she invites herself along to the meeting surrounding Terry.
Before they do however, Jeannie heads over to Glory’s house and asks Maya about the figure she saw in her room, comparing it to the sketches she has infront of her. Meanwhile, Jack waits for Holly to arrive and picks her up from the bus station, intent on finding out what she’s going to talk about at the meeting later on in the day. She notices straight away that he’s going through some serious anguish but when she mentions it to him, he starts to act shiftily.
The meeting begins and Holly theorises that all three killers are linked but are actually the victims here. Chosen by “it” (which we know as El Coco) she relays her theory to the group. Unfortunately this doesnt go down well as Glory storms out in incredulous rage while an embarassed Ralph heads off to find tangible evidence. Jack stays behind though and listens intently to Holly, eventually seeing hallucinations of cuts on the back of his hands spelling out “Stop Her”.
Jeannie invites Holly back to stay with them, much to the displeasure of Ralph, but once there she sees the various sketches on the wall signifying El Coco’s transformation. This usually takes between 24-27 days and from the looks of it, Jack may well be the next host here. Holly dusts for fingerprints in the house, courtesy of a special home-made UV light, and lo-and-behold the creature’s markings are all over the chair it was sitting at in Jeannie’s dream.
Meanwhile, El Coco visits Jack at his house, in the form of his Mother, and begins beating him. As Jack struggles to catch a breath in the face of this brutal assault, Ralph heads over to Glory’s and apologises for Holly’s theories earlier in the day. As glory starts to despair that Terry was the real killer, the burns on Jack’s neck get worse, prompting him to cave to the supernatural wishes of El Coco and entice Holly to come and “see for herself” what he’s found.
In the car together, she sees the burn marks on the back of Jack’s neck and immediately realizes she’s in danger, where the episode ends.
Between the slick camera work, eerie atmosphere and some serious growing dread, The Outsider is certainly gearing up for a thrilling second half to its 10 episode run. While some may lament the slow pace up until this point, King’s adapted novel is doing a great job building atmosphere and character.
Those who have persevered through the slower moments are certainly rewarded here with a really solid episode. Given the cliffhanger ending, all eyes now turn to next week’s episode as Holly’s life hangs in the balance.