The Outsider: The One About the Yiddish Vampire   Show Only 
February 9, 2020 7:45 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Holly presents her unusual theory about the connection between two other mysterious child murders and the Frankie Peterson case. While Ralph remains skeptical, a more receptive Yunis suggests they start looking into Claude, the last person to have contact with Terry.
posted by oh yeah! (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does anyone else just spend the entirety of each episode saying “no, no thanks” over and over? Just me?

I love the show. But holy shit, does it get me right in the creep bones.
posted by ancient star at 8:42 PM on February 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

I like the directing, production design and acting of this show a great deal. The mood. The style. The leads are all fantastic. But my willing suspension of disbelief is getting sorely tested.

I really hate the "nearly omnipotent supernatural energy vampire entity" trope. This thing that has miraculously evaded detection for millennia despite literally killing probably millions of people. I liked it better when it was more of crime drama. All supernatural story telling has to establish rules that make some sort of sense. And suddenly this thing can defy literally all known physics, read minds, summon spirits, kill or injure people remotely and project itself over time and space... AND drive cars and navigate the human world perfectly. So. It's a god?! This level of interaction in the human world wouldn't be a myth anymore. People wold worship this thing. We have world religions firmly established on flimsier supernatural myths.

So. By now it wouldn't be some myth people whispered about any more than crocodiles, cancer or the plague would be. We would except it as a part of the natural world. So that bugs me. "Eating grief" is just another silly over worn trope, IMHO. I don't understand the physics of it.

Frankly, just making it have to murder and eat human flesh with a side of just enjoying making people suffer (for a reason that we eventually come to understand) makes more sense and is vastly more terrifying.

This kind of story telling digs the writers into a hole where inevitably the ending is going to be a dumb "wizard did it" thing.

I know, I know. It's the ride, not the destination. But just once I'd like the destination worked out first.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 11:36 AM on February 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

It's remarkable how much this show doesn't want you to know it's a Stephen King story! The first two episodes were essentially a less machismo/drunken True Detective, down to the aerial interstitial shots of bleak, desaturated landscapes. Overall, I'm not crazy about the series so far. But it's enjoyable. And Holly is a welcome character for me on teevee.
posted by SoberHighland at 2:45 PM on February 10, 2020

I agree with the consensus on the manifestation of Hoskins' mother going too far over the top. I think if they'd cut most of her dialogue and most/all of the beating, just show the threat of it or the first blow, and then let that panning shot of all the destruction and bloody handprints leading up to Hoskins' body on the floor speak for itself, it would have been more effective, and more in keeping with the tone of the show so far.

But overall I liked this episode -- the ending left me feeling like, "now we're getting somewhere".
posted by oh yeah! at 6:05 PM on February 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

This is kind of random, but some of the lingering shots on Ben Mendelssohn really made me want to see him play Jason Dohring's (Logan from Veronica Mars's) dad.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:15 PM on February 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am Team Holly, but I'm also Team Jeannie, and I will be really disappointed if her continued efforts aren't rewarded.

I guess I can't really talk about "Under The Dome" spoilers here (I don't know how the show ended, just the book), and I haven't read the book for this series. As an example, it's possible King took "The Outsider" to a similar conclusion. I do try to remind myself that mining the imagination for that perfect ending must be like winning the lottery jackpot. I am sentimental about King so I want to give him a lot of slack. Anyway I really enjoy this series and if it ends similarly to "Under The Dome", my disappointment will be tempered by previous occurrences of King going full space cadet.

One thing that confuses me, so perhaps I missed something, but is Claude also a "slave"? Apparently he was also cut (and maybe Ralph should have mentioned that to Holly), but we haven't seen any neck boils on him that I recall. I don't understand his scene in this episode.

That leads me to a minor complaint about Ralph. He raged about Holly in this episode, yet chased down leads about people getting cut. How can he think the cuts are related and relevant and also be completely dismissive of the pattern uncovered by Holly? And if we discount the supernatural aspect of her report, there are still waaaaay too many coincidences here between these murders. I think a seasoned detective would realize that. My impression is that the skeptical Ralph character is meant to slow-burn his eventual jump to Team Holly, but it feels a little sloppy. I do enjoy the slow-burn, however. That kind of development can make his innevitable acceptance extra terrifying, and I hope it is!
posted by Brocktoon at 11:51 PM on February 10, 2020

Judging by the amount of damage to Hoskins' apartment (and the violence of the blows we saw), his "Mom" beat him half to death in that attack, so it jarred with me that he was up and about again so quickly showing no more than a few facial scars.

On Claude's scene ths week, I wonder if it was supposed to show us that his rage is getting out of control? Maybe that's a first step in the transformation process? As for Ralph, I took the contradiction Brockton points out to be him reacting first in anger and then reconsidering matters and trying to make amends once he'd calmed down.

The thing I didn't get this week is what the bereaved wife was doing with that drawerful of (her husband's?) clothes. And what was it she kissed when she first opened the drawer?
posted by Paul Slade at 12:12 AM on February 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think she was having an anxiety/panic attack because she was beginning to think her husband was a murderer.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:19 AM on February 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

The cut is when it copies you. The boils are when it is tormenting you to make you do its bidding.

I think I know what they're doing with Claude and his rage, but I read the book and I forget what they said about how Terry was doing before the attack.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:31 AM on February 11, 2020

"And if we discount the supernatural aspect of her report, there are still waaaaay too many coincidences here between these murders. I think a seasoned detective would realize that."

The trope creates dramatic tension, but I hate it. I'm as empiricist and skeptical as they come — I don't believe in anything paranormal/supernatural, etc. — but if I had evidence like this, I'd be open to the possibility and, in any case, whether it's supernatural or not, there's something going on. You can't wave away the drawings; the appearance is too distinctive and the descriptions too similar. You can't ignore the identical circumstances (it's an MO) and you can't ignore that all these people are connected. And you're starting from what you've already acknowledged is an impossibility: a person can't be in two places at once.

She kept saying "a person can't be in two realities at the same time", but of course they can if the "realities" overlap. But then their observed actions would be the same. The common formulation "a person can't be in two places at once" is precisely correct and changing that to "two realities" is just affected nonsense.

That's emblematic of the sloppiness that I found super-irritating in this episode. She goes to all the trouble of proving that he was there from his shedding, and then explains the lack of carpet indents as him being a projection. Which is it? With the "how much does a radio wave weigh?" I guess we're somehow supposed to think both, although how a radio wave sheds a complex chemical residue is, um, unexplained.

One thing I really enjoy is when the confrontation of the supernatural by skeptical characters is smartly well-written. I see it so rarely.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:50 AM on February 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

The "image" ability feels really unnecessary. El Cuco is Pennywise in his emo phase.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:25 PM on February 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

By the way he reacted to the pain, I thought for sure that Jack had been "cut" in the barn. Maybe the methods are similar but with different effects.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:46 PM on February 11, 2020

whether it's supernatural or not, there's something going on

Ivan Fyodorovich, I think I've got the same take as you: there's enough here for a skeptic to see that something is going on. The bartender (in Dayton?) hit it on the head for me when she analogized it to a virus. We may know it's not a virus, but doesn't thinking of it that way help us to understand, and possibly predict? In other words, not knowing what it is doesn't need to stop us from making progress on how it works. I think if Holly had presented it that way, it would've been a very different meeting with the group.

Ralph kind of got to it when he said to Holly that there's a difference between acknowledging there's something going on that you don't understand, and deciding that you have identified the one thing that it is, and given it a name.
posted by mabelstreet at 7:48 AM on March 18, 2021

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