In its ninth episode, titled ‘Tigers and Bears’, ‘The Outsider’ brings the story one step closer to the end and prepares the ground for the final showdown for the next episode, giving us a peek into how it’s all going to end. The episode retains the quick pace of the previous episode and jumps from one thing to another to cover up as much as possible before the finale.
While this excitement is welcomed, especially after a sluggish pace that the series had suffered with in the middle, we can’t help but wonder if it would have been better to somehow distribute this action in the episodes where things seemed to have slowed down to a halt. On the other hand, the approach also hits close to reality because that’s how it generally is. Sometimes, it feels like you’ve hit a dead-end, and then suddenly, everything comes pouring down on you.
The same happens with Ralph, who had been trying to hold on to his scepticism for as long as possible. But there is no way he can deny what is right in front of his eyes. If you haven’t yet caught up with the episode, head over to HBO. SPOILERS AHEAD
After discovering that El Cuco has followed them to Cecil, the team focuses on how to trap, and maybe even kill, it. But before that, they need to find out its hiding place. Ralph and Sablo interview the boy who had almost fallen prey to the monster. He tells them that they were headed for the Bear Cave, but no one seems to know where exactly it is. Meanwhile, Holly and Andy visit the crime scene and another horrifying case comes to light.
What Happened to the Weaver Boys?
The episode begins with two boys playing around, and you know it is going to end in tragedy. The question is: what kind? Thomas and George had been playing in their barn from where they turned towards the woods and eventually ended up in front of a cave opening. We are scared for them because we know what danger lies inside. The last attempt of El Cuco had been thwarted by a crowd, which means that he is still hungry. Are the boys going to be his next prey?
The tension is further added when their father comes looking for them. This leaves us with the will-they-wont-they die situation. Will the boys become the monster’s prey or will it attack their father if they succeed in escaping its grasp? It is hungry, so anything would make a good meal for it.
A while later, we discover that the events were not in the same timeframe as the current one. Seale tells Ralph and the others about the Bear Caves, which is where El Cuco intended to take little Sam, and the tragedy that happened in 1947. This comes as both good news and bad news. Good because no child was eaten by a monster, and bad because lives were still lost.
The boys got lost in the caves and their father, along with the first search party that came for them, were trapped after the cave collapsed. The search party also included four men from the Bolton family. Efforts were made to get them out but at that time, there was no machinery good enough to carve an entrance without causing any further damage. The boys and all the men were trapped in the caves, which was later sealed by the authorities.
Why did El Cuco choose the Bear Cave?
When we first find the monster and Jack in the cave, it is understood that the place was chosen because it was secluded. El Cuco needed to gain back its strength and hide, and no one would come to the middle of the forest, unless they were to be its next meal. Later, we discover that the town actually has an entire cave system with too many caves to keep a count of. El Cuco must have chosen the one that was rarely visited. But in this episode, we find out that there is more to that.
From its pattern, it is known that the monster likes to hole up at the places where it can feed on the grief of people. Cemeteries would be its usual abode, but it wasn’t just about grief and loss in general. These feelings were targeted to a specific family. The barn that it had been at in Cherokee was close to the place where Terry and his family had been buried.
This time, its focus is Claude, which means it has to be where his family have been buried. From Claude’s memories, it knows about the Bear Cave. Not only are four Boltons buried in there, but the cave is a tomb of a number of other people. Moreover, it was the worst tragedy to have happened in the town, which means that there is more grief and loss in this area as compared to the cemeteries. This is what makes the Bear Cave ideal for El Cuco.
The Ending: Is Everyone dead?
Due to Seale’s stupidity, El Cuco comes to know about the attack planned on it. It knows that Ralph, Holly and three other people are coming for it. Alone, it would have been scared and would have tried to run away. But it has Jack, who happens to be a skilled sniper. Howie, Seale and Claude run to their help, but it is too late. Jack is ready to attack and the others have no idea that the monster knows that they know! We wish Jack would show some compassion for his colleagues, if not friends, and maybe give up at the last moment, but he is too far gone for that.
His main targets are Ralph and Holly, but everyone else is fair game too. The first bullet hits Alec, so he is definitely dead. But the same can’t be said about the others. We hear multiple gunshots as the screen goes blank, but we don’t actually see anyone die. However, that doesn’t mean that no one will die in the next episode.
Read More: Is ‘The Outsider’ Based on True Events?