The Eve Of Battle
The Outsider returns this week with a strong episode of character development and tension as El Coco grows in power and our group work together to try and stop it before it strikes again. With some eerie scenes and a chilling third act, this chapter of The Outsider feels a lot more ominous and raises the stakes for all our characters, ready for the final battle.
Episode 8 of The Outsider sees the group reconvene and discuss what to do next. Holly decides to try and trap El Coco, which is currently inside Jack but may well be turning toward Claude sooner rather than later. Given El Coco is nearing its final stages of transformation, they haven’t got long to track him down. Ralph puts his name forward to help, along with Yunis and Andy, who all head off to Tennessee.
Before he can go however, Howard takes Ralph aside and tells him Glory is going to sue. Jeannie tells him to be careful as well, and with these final loose ends wrapped up, he hits the road with Holly.
While driving they talk about their current situation, with Ralph telling her a touching story about his Mother and a song called Washington Square playing that may be linked to a supernatural occurrence. With a straight face, she turns and tells him it’s just a coincidence, leading to plenty of laughs.
Meanwhile, Jack listens to the police radio where he hears the officers discussing a dangerous and armed man on the hunt. Given Jack broke into his own apartment and scooped up a bunch of guns earlier in the episode, it’s fair to say they’re talking about him.
The compulsion to kill is too much and in the woods Jack winds up killing a rogue fisherman, prompting him to question his own morals as he stares at a picture of his family. Unfortunately El Coco outstretches its hand and takes it away from him, telling Jack it wants to eat.
Our target, Claude, heads up to Tennessee and reconnects with his brother, asking to stay for a while. Unfortunately his brother winds up arrested, leading Claude to sit with the guards until he’s released… momentarily at least, as his brother’s outburst prompts him to get tasered and arrested again, this time with Claude sitting in the cell with him.
The group arrive at the station and pick Claude up from prison, managing to convince the officers there to let him (and his brother, of course) go. Back home, Holly and the group update him on the situation with El Coco before making sleeping arrangements that suit everybody.
El Coco feeds again as Jack winces at the pain in the back of his neck. This interesting shot of him cowering in the foreground while the monster roars in the background is arguably the best scene of the episode, highlighting how something so small can destroy and cripple something so big. It’s a wonderful metaphor for the entire premise of El Coco.
Meanwhile, a family arrive in Tennessee for a nearby festival, wearing masks and getting into the festivities. A man wearing a bear mask manages to isolate their son Sam and entices him to follow toward a nearby bear cave. Thankfully his sister spots them leaving together and stops this from happening, with his Fatger tackling the man to the ground.
He rips the mask of this guy off, staring in disbelief at who this man is. Some time later, the police bring the family in for questioning.
As the night draws on, the group prepare for the upcoming fight. There’s a real calm-bef0re-the-storm feel to these scenes, as we see each of our characters finding comfort in their own way.
The next day, the group breathe a sigh of relief as they see Claude is still Claude and hasn’t turned just yet. As they gather in the living room to discuss what’s next, two officers arrive demanding to speak to Claude. Someone from the party managed to capture the face of the masked man from the party.
Ralph and the others watch and exchanged concerned glances as they see what’s shown on the video. El Coco has now transformed into Claude. As Holly looks at Ralph, she says “It’s here”. There’s a wonderful exchange that takes place as Ralph, once an advocate for science and reason, rocks gently on the spot before nodding in agreement; a big moment for his character where he accepts that things are not right and El Coco is real.
The Outsider’s latest episode has a really eerie anticipation clinging to every part of its hour and from the opening moments of Jack snatching up the guns through to the final reveal, there’s a good amount of plot progression here alongside the various character arcs advancing.
Ralph’s character has had the biggest change though and seeing him and Holly accepting that they need one another’s critiques and point of views is a really big moment in the show, one that finally sees the group come together to try and stop this monster once and for all. Much improved, The Outsider looks like it’s ready to end things with a bang, as the final fight looms on the horizon.