Five Thoughts on Outcast‘s “The Common Good”

By | August 20th, 2018
Posted in Television | % Comments

Welcome aboard to the world of the supernatural, Southern fried style – – it’s Robert Kirkman’s Outcast, the Cinemax adaptation of his 2014 -2018 Image Comics series. Set in Rome, West Virginia, Outcast is the story of Kyle Barnes, a man haunted in many ways by demonic possession throughout his life, and his return to his hometown of Rome to solve these mysteries after separating from his wife and daughter after his wife’s own demonic possession was misinterpreted as a domestic violence situation. In Season 2, the mysteries of Rome deepen for Kyle, and he’s thrust into the dual roles of demon hunter and caretaker for his young daughter Amber and traumatized sister Megan.

Megan’s in denial, Alison’s in doubt, and Rome is fearful.  We’re at the halfway point of season 2, Let’s dive into “The Common Good” – – and as always, spoilers within.

1. “The merge cannot be stopped.”

This episode opens with a flashback to the elder Mr. Barnes interrogating Helen Devere in the hopes that he can stop whatever demons are terrorizing Rome.  He uses both physical and mental tactics (including some that Kyle also has – – perhaps inherited?), gruesome and disturbing, but his subject ominously warns him, “the Merge cannot be stopped.”

Has the evil that she has brought to Rome penetrated its citizenry so deep that it cannot be stopped? As the scene switches to present day, and Kyle staring at that same chair, no doubt that is the question on his mind.

2. Family Relations

Kyle can’t believe Megan is at her mother’s house, offering up his place as a safe haven for the family while they get back on their feet. For Megan, that’s a no-no – – she can’t be around Kyle for her daughter’s sake: Holly believes Amber was some part responsible for what happened to her dad. “If we’re going to get past this, we can’t be around the crazy.”

I don’t know if this is a smart move. Right now Kyle is one of few folk in Megan’s life, if not the only one, who has a keen sense of what she is going through, and can empathize on a level that no one else – – certainly not her mother who is turning Megan’s old bedroom into a vanilla scented Jesus Craft Den(TM). I’d reconsider, Megan. The key to getting through this may just be being around the crazy.

3. Alison

We haven’t seen much of Alison since she checked herself into a mental health facility near the end of Season 1, save for Kyle and Amber’s visit in episode 3. With this episode, we have a glimpse into some of her daily life and some disturbing encounters with patients, leading her to consider self-checkout of the facility. It’s an abrupt moment that would have probably made more sense had we seen more of Alison’s time there. I don’t doubt that a handful of frightful moments with her fellow patients would be enough to scare anyone.  But, there’s some sort of journey implied by her final conversation with one of the therapists that deserved more time than fleeting moments on screen halfway through the season.

4. A Revelation Not a Revolution 

The Church of the Beacon’s history is revealed here, and it’s a dark one. Dakota (the church leader we saw twice earlier, once with the Reverend and once with Megan) has scarring on her shoulder blade that mirrors that of the Reverend.  Dakota, like the Reverend, had a demon inside her, but a “savior” provided her with a “revelation” and removed the demon. “You believe the fight is real.  That’s why you’re here.”

Just when you thought the Church of the Beacon was a challenge to the Reverend’s spiritual fight, they may just turn out to be an ally.

Except that Sidney knows about them now, the Beacons. (Thanks a bunch, Junkyard Bob.) Who will get to them first?

5. The Town Meeting

Patricia’s murder has left Rome rightfully spooked, so Owen calls a town hall to help quell some fears (much to Giles’s chagrin). This is the last 10 minutes of the episode, and there’s quite a lot in those 10 minutes.

Giles is fired as police chief much to his surprise (at least in the means of finding out the news; he and Owen have had a rocky relationship at best). An angry Giles takes the pulpit and angrily contradicts the mayor . . . before himself fainting on stage after a coughing fit. (The hindsight that this was one of the late Reg E. Cathey’s last roles makes his collapse on stage all the more poignant and eerie.) This isn’t an illness for the ER, but a spiritual one: Giles is possessed. Kyle and Rose (Giles’s wife) try to help their chief but are blocked; someone wants these demons out and about in Rome.  Sidney and Aaron confront the mayor in the parking lot, revealing that there was another one like Kyle in the meeting audience, but who? And with that, Aaron fatally shoots Owen. Kyle and the Reverend confront Giles, with Giles stabbing Kyle and the two dangling mid-air in a fight for Giles’s soul (a scene the Doubting Megan witnesses), before the demon leaves the police chief’s body and Kyle is bleeding to death atop a school bus.

That was some town meeting.

What did you think? Sound off on your own thoughts in the comments (but be mindful of spoilers)!

//TAGS | Outcast

Kate Kosturski

Kate Kosturski is your Multiversity social media manager, a librarian by day and a comics geek...well, by day too (and by night). Kate's writing has also been featured at PanelxPanel, Women Write About Comics, and Geeks OUT. She spends her free time spending too much money on Funko POP figures and LEGO, playing with yarn, and rooting for the hapless New York Mets. Follow her on Twitter at @librarian_kate.


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