The journey of ‘The Outsider’ has been an inconsistent one, to put it mildly. In its first two episodes, which aired back to back, so much happened at once that the audience didn’t have time to take it all in. But then, things slowed down with the third episode, and since then, have been on a deceleration, which hit the minimum with Episode 7.
The slow-burn of the show got to its slowest in this episode, and even though not a lot of things happened, there were some details that caught our attention. And who is to say that this isn’t the calm before the storm that hits in the next episode of the show. If you haven’t yet caught up with the episode, head over to HBO. SPOILERS AHEAD
Sitting next to Jack in the car that is headed towards “the barn”, Holly realises that she is in a very difficult situation. This is life or death. Jack has the same scar that Tracey Powell had on the back of his head. This means that he is also under the control of the thing that has been killing children all across the country. Luckily, there is still a long way to go and Jack starts to talk about his pain and suffering with her.
Meanwhile, Jeannie prods Ralph to find out where Holly could have gone alone in the town that she knows nothing about. After making some calls, Ralph realises that the investigator is in danger and Jack might have something to do with that.
What did Jack intend to do with Holly?
Holly was supposed to die, that’s for sure. One way or another, she had to be eliminated because, in a very short span of time, she connected all the dots and was already ahead of the game. If she was allowed to keep working on the case, she would have soon caught on to another detail and would have eventually located the Outsider and found a way to expose it. Now that she has been saved, we hope all of that will happen in the coming episodes. But what if things had taken a different turn? What if Jack was careful enough to hide his scar as well as his intentions? What did he intend to do with Holly? Where was this barn he was taking her to?
After finding her way back home, she wonders about this possibility. The first thought is that Jack’s intention was to take her someplace secluded and kill her himself. Because he had first thought about taking his own vehicle, he must have made some arrangements, hidden some things in it- the usual murder kit, you know! This would have also allowed him to be more in control of the situation. He could take her wherever he wanted and she wouldn’t have had an escape route. He would have the keys, and even if she somehow found herself behind the wheels, she wouldn’t be able to take off. But that changed when Holly showed up with her own car and Jack had to improvise.
The second possibility is that he was taking her to his master. Maybe killing her wasn’t the plan. It had something else in mind for her. Perhaps, it wanted to find out exactly how much she knew about its connection to the killings. It suspected that she had been holding out on something that she thought was too much for everyone else to believe. As Holly believed, it only ate children. All the cases that she came across had been about child-killing. But a murderer is a murderer. Maybe it just preferred killing children. But desperate times called for targeting adults as well.
Moreover, considering the time frame, it must have been in its final phase of completing the transformation. “It’s only been three weeks”, says Howie to Glory. Isn’t that the estimated time interval needed by it to morph into the next human and go about killing. What if it needed some extra energy to complete the process because it was getting restless of being on the side-lines for too long? Could Holly have served as his snack before it turned towards feasting on a child?
One more scenario pops into imagination when you think about how the Outsider operates. We have seen in its pattern that after the killings, it doesn’t take much time to find its next form. Staying in the same skin that is now being hunted down by the cops makes it risky and it quickly finds another option. What if it wanted Holly as its next form? She is an investigator and she has been working against it. It would be an act of perfect revenge to frame her for a murder.
The Ending: Will Ralph believe?
Seeing is believing. At least, that’s what Ralph thinks. We have been watching him for six weeks (though it’s only been three in the show). He has been at the case since the beginning and even though some weird things have happened around him, he hasn’t yet crossed over to the believer end of it. He is still a sceptic, if not a non-believer. His own wife has been giving him one proof after another to show him that there is a greater force at play here, but he is not convinced. He also tries to find some logic in Holly’s kidnapping, even after she has told him all about the scar and the things that he said to her. And now the similarity between the sketches and Claude’s face. Is he now hindering the investigation rather than aiding it?
As I said in the explainer for Episode 6, it is more about the journey of a man whose beliefs are questioned rather than being the story about a bogeyman. At first, Ralph was completely in opposition to anything that Holly had to say about the case. But now, the emergency meeting with the therapist shows that he might be thinking about accepting the unexplainable. And if something like a visit from the Outsider is what it will take for him to do that, then it might not be so far ahead on the horizon. The danger is closing in.
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