Cinemax

Does Demon Hunting Make For Solid Bromance On Outcast?

It may be time for Kyle to take a closer look at his relationship with Rev. Anderson.

You know that saying "Never go with a hippie to a second location"? Let's add to that, "Never go with a minister to a third exorcism."

Three episodes into Outcast, the strangest, most undefined relationship in the show is the one between our protagonist -- the haunted, severely damaged demon magnet Kyle Barnes -- and weirdo Rev. Anderson. Together, they've managed to drive whatever was possessing a young boy, but almost by accident, and there's no telling whether the fix is permanent. Now, the Rev. is recruiting Kyle to help him with other cases of demon possession, or whatever it is they might be dealing with; Kyle is game (really, what else has he got to do these days?), but also ambivalent. "I'm not sure where I fit into all these," he tells Anderson. Why is Kyle able to drive out these spirits? How was he able to survive the attack on his mother that left them both nearly dead? If Anderson knows anything beyond his Bible verses, he's not letting on, so Kyle is both wary of Anderson and in need of some guidance and hope. But is he looking for it in the wrong place, with a guy who seems to have his own major problems, including some loss involving his young son that causes him to freak out when he loses a photo in the road? (Tech tip: you should have taken a pic of that photo with your phone, dude!)

It's a good time to ask whether this relationship is healthy for either of them, because things go very, very badly in this week's attempted exorcism, which involves a man named Blake sent to prison for brutally killing his police officer best friend's wife. The absurd change of scenery -- a spooky boiler room where the prisoner is tied up (really?) -- seems to overcompensate for a not-so-great story diversion from the homegrown horror of the first two episodes. Instead of a gross, creepy creature like the one inhabiting the boy in the pilot, this demon (or whatever!) inhabiting Blake is more clever and charming and knows things about Kyle. It says gross things about the assault on the policeman's wife. Things get all philosophical about the Bible, and it feels like a lot of wheel spinning about The Nature Of Good And Evil.

As Anderson starts digging in and get faked out by the prisoner, Kyle looks completely lost, and you begin to wonder if this was a good idea at all. You know, Kyle, you didn't have to come. You could have bailed on this particular assignment as soon as you heard "vicious killer in a spooky prison setting." It may be that Kyle should be searching for answers on his own rather than relying on Anderson's exorcisms to lead him to them. Because Blake's information about Kyle -- that he's a special breed called an "Outcast" -- causes Kyle to lash out angrily at Anderson for throwing his family away on this righteous crusade. Kyle thinks he can make a deal with Blake for more information, but Anderson puts the kibosh on that. And Kyle comes to realize, after trying to beat the crap out of Blake (a technique that's worked in the past), that this demon thing isn't going anywhere, and its warning that Kyle and his family will never be safe may actually be the truth. Kyle's association with Anderson may by making things worse, but then Kyle's life hasn't exactly been worth a damn since he became estranged from his wife and daughter anyway.

Kyle and Anderson's strange relationship does progress much in this episode, but we do come to realize that, just because they're working together for now, it doesn't mean they're exactly on the same side. They both want to defeat whatever evil is invading Rome, West Virginia, but each of them is coming at it for very different reasons; those differences may be what end up sinking this partnership of convenience. Despite the good Anderson may be doing, he also seems like a desperate man grasping, which could pose a big danger to Kyle down the line.

Kyle might want to make more friends, and pronto. And decline an invite to a Rev. Anderson exorcism every now and then.

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