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Outcast - A Darkness Surrounds Him - Review: "The Cure"

"A day without substance
A change of thought
The atmosphere rots with time
Colours that flicker in water
A short term effect"
- "A Short Term Effect" - The Cure

Based on the Skybound/Image Comic title of the same name by creator Robert Kirkman and artist Paul Azaceta, "Outcast" follows Kyle Barnes, a young man who has been plagued by demonic possession all his life. Now, with the help of Reverend Anderson, a country preacher with personal demons of his own, Kyle embarks on a journey to find answers to obtain a normal life he has never known. But what Kyle discovers could change his fate — and the fate of the world — forever.

That is the synopsis for the new TV Show, "Outcast", from its website - After watching the premiere last night I was extremely impressed with the quality and acting presented throughout the hour. When I first read what Kirkman envisioned for The Walking Dead storyline, it made sense to me from a narrative standpoint. He mentioned that he had always enjoyed the zombie genre, however, he wondered what happened after the movie was over. What had happened to those characters? How did they survive the story after the credits rolled? And The Walking Dead was born. It appears that Outcast is similar to that creative structure in many ways. What happens to The Exorcist story line after the credits rolled? Are there other people who are demonically possessed? Where did the demons come from? What do they want? What is their ultimate goal? Also, who's the hero?

Outcast plans on answering these questions and many more as the ten episode first season unfolds. Kyle Barnes, the main character of the story, is played by Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous). Kyle joins Reverend Anderson, played by Philip Glenister, in attempting to find out what exactly is going on with the townspeople of Rome, West Virginia - the fictional town where this story takes place.

At the onset, we see Kyle as somewhat of a loner; living in his childhood home where obvious neglect and abuse turned him into the morose figure we see today. Megan, his adoptive sister, pays him a visit to get him out of the house and much needed groceries. Something must have happened to Kyle's mother after the flashback scenes because we know that Megan's family took care of him afterwards. Megan then takes Kyle, against his will, to her house for dinner and there is obvious tension between Megan's husband, Mark, and Kyle. Holly, Megan and Mark's daughter, then adds some depth and backstory to Kyle's character by saying to him, "you hurt your little girl, and now you're not her daddy anymore." Is this another reason why Kyle elects to keep a distance between himself and everyone around him? Does everyone think he is an abusive father and husband? Something tells me there is a lot more to that story arc than first presented in the premiere. It's a story, I believe, will unfold over the course of the first season and possibly the entire series as it seems central to Kyle's character and possibly his anti-hero persona that we will get glimpses of as we go on.

After Kyle phones Allison, his ex-wife and mother to his daughter Amber, he feels compelled to go help Reverend Anderson with Joshua. This is probably because Kyle faced a similar situation with his daughter, which I am certain will come to light later on in the series. The Rev and Kyle have a chat and it's during this that we get another glimpse into Kyle's backstory when the Rev tells Kyle, "Whatever you think happened to your mother it was you who stopped it." This lends to the theory that Kyle has had his 'gift' his entire life. Perhaps it was passed down by his father, whom we know nothing about. There is even more evidence of Kyle's troubled past when young Joshua begins to tell him things no one else could know. How Kyle was locked, using a padlock, in the pantry by his mother and how he used to draw pictures on the inside walls. This tells us there is more of a connection between Kyle and the possessed entities than we thought. The real question is how far that connection goes.

I think it is interesting that Reverend Anderson's 'path' that he is on is a direct result of Kyle. The Rev tells Kyle this after their first attempt at saving Joshua. When the Rev went to save Kyle from his mother's malevolent actions he saw most of what had transpired. We are then treated to another flashback sequence where we see that not only is Kyle's blood imbrued with magical demonic repellant powers, but his tears function in a similar way when his mom feels the burn from them. Kyle and the Rev visit Joshua again and after some intense fight scenes, and levitation, Kyle discovers that his blood can successfully cast out a demon. The result of a possessed Joshua tasting Kyle's blood is a black ooze, oily in appearance, escape from his body and deteriorate into a fine mist. Joshua appears back to normal with the addition of battle scars in the form of black eyes and other bruising. Although it appears no charges will be pressed, Kyle is going to have a tough time explaining what happened with any amount of believability. Could this be what happened with his daughter and ex-wife? He says to the Rev that 'it didn't happen like that', but I'd bet that some what transpired with Joshua was similar. Either way, having the first episode come to a satisfying conclusion and successful exorcism on behalf of the dynamic duo, Kyle and the Rev, made for an amazing hour of horror, creepiness and all-around good story telling.

"Seems like they've been coming after me my whole life"
- Kyle Barnes to Reverend Anderson

For fans of the horror drama, Outcast is going to be your new favorite show. They do not hold back on some scenes, and each is done masterfully with plenty of thought and care put in to create an authentic feel. This is important as I believe most shows don't create a genuine horror type of atmosphere, whereas Outcast perfectly blends horrifying scenes with the right amount of drama creating a seamless transition between each.

I loved the first episode and thought it was a great start to this new series. The hour had a satisfying conclusion and explained just enough of the mythology to make you wonder what is really going on in this strange little burg. It had me wondering what is really happening with Kyle and asking how did he become the man he is by the end of the episode. Demonic possession, according to Reverend Anderson, seems to be ailing many people in town and all over the country. What is Kyle's role in all of this? Hopefully, we will find some answers in the episodes that follow. It was interesting to find out that the song playing at the end of the episode was by The Cure. Is that a hint that Kyle is the cure the world needs right now to rid itself of the demonic plague that seems to be growing in Rome, West Virginia? I, for one, cannot wait to find out more answers as this intense and interesting first season unfolds and the lines between good and evil are drawn and blurred.

Thoughts and Discussion

- In the first episode, we met many of the characters we will see throughout the season. Kyle's loving sister, Megan (Wrenn Schmidt), is introduced and helps us understand more of Kyle's troubled youth and how he became the lonely man he is today. Reg E. Cathey (House Of Cards) plays Chief Giles and friend to Reverend Anderson.

- I loved that first scene with a possessed Joshua staring down that bug before smashing it with his head. It shows that this series will not hold back when it comes to frightening the viewers. This is going to be a great first season.

- What is Kyle's role in what is going on in Rome, West Virginia?

- Ms. Austin, Joshua's mother, mentions to the Rev that what is happening to her son is similar to the cases of "The Connor's boy and Ms. Martindale". What happened to those cases? Are they still possessed?

- Did you notice...In Kyle's bedroom there are many pop culture references: There is the 'X-Files' poster; A poster for Youngbloods - a comic book created by Rob Liefeld and is credited as the comic book that introduced Image Comics; There is a newspaper clipping that reads, "rape allegation"; Castle Greyskull from He-Man.

- What did Megan mean when she told Kyle that she owes him? Owes him for what? What did Kyle do for Megan when they were younger? Mark makes it sound like he saved her from something.

- That young actor that played the possessed Joshua Austin did such an amazing job. He was uber creepy, especially during that demonic-contortionist scene. A+

- How did Joshua know all those things from Kyle's past? What was that Black Mist leaving Kyle's mouth and entering Joshua's? We see the same thing with Kyle and his mom.

- In the premiere, we meet Joshua Austin, a boy who is plagued by demonic possession. There are many things we hear him say and although it doesn't make any sense now I imagine it will be important later on in the season. What exactly is "The Great Merge" that he tells Kyle "cannot be stopped"?

- What happened in Kyle's past that made him the way he is now? Does it go beyond what we saw his mother do to him in the flashbacks?

- What happened between the Rev and his son Matthew?

- Does Kyle's father have anything to do with his 'powers'? It's no mystery that there are definite 'father-son relationship' metaphors throughout the first episode. Especially when we hear the Conway Twitty song, "The Games That Daddies Play".

- Did you notice...Kyle is seen reading "Sofia The First" when at Megan's house for dinner. "Sofia The First" is a story about a common girl who joins the royal family when her mother marries the King. Coming from a humble background she is quickly cast in an 'outcast'-like role among her new royal friends. Sofia's father is also absent in the story for unknown reasons. This mirrors Kyle's life in some ways.

- I imagine Reverend Anderson will have to come to terms with the fact that he is a holy man and Kyle's blood is better at exorcism than holy water. Will we see the Rev question his faith at some point?

- We hear Joshua say to Kyle, "for so long we have tried to find you Outcast - too long have you hidden your life from us." What does this mean? Is Kyle possessed by a similar demon that rebelled? Or is it something else?

- Does Kyle possess any 'special powers'? We saw his blood 'cure' Joshua of his possession, but was it only his blood? Was it a combination of elements coming together?

Thank you for checking out my Review! Please comment below so we can discuss the episode more and share our thoughts and theories on this great new show! Check back every week for my Advanced Preview of upcoming episodes as well as Reviews of each chapter. Have a great weekend everyone!

About the Author - Geo N
Geo N is from Detroit, MI. His favorite shows include The Blacklist, Outcast, Hell On Wheels, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, LOST, The Leftovers, The Strain, Sons Of Anarchy, Sleepy Hollow and countless others. When he's not watching tons of TV, he enjoys reading, playing hockey, comic books, weightlifting, and writing. Thanks for checking out my post.
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