Following the success of AMC’s The Walking Dead (TWD), another project of co-creator Robert Kirkman has come to television. Outcast is based on Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta’s comic by the same name. The comic is so good that it made our list of “13 Comics to Celebrate Friday the 13th With” which you can check out here. Instead of flesh-eating zombies, the comic and TV series focuses on the occult world of demonic possessions. The show premiered on Cinemax on June 3 and gives us a thrilling start to what’s to come.
Outcast follows Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) who has spent most of his life tormented by demonic possession. He returns to his childhood home in a small West Virginia town where he teams up with Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) to fight off demons and to learn more about his extremely troubled past.
*WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS CONTAINED WITHIN*
“A Darkness Surrounds Him”
Rome, West Virginia. Kyle Barnes has returned to his childhood home town after being away for some time. Kyle is tormented by the trauma of his recent and distant past. Shortly after he returns home, he finds that Reverend Anderson has taken an interest in a local ten year old boy that is exhibiting some disturbingly violent signs of a demonic possession. Once Kyle realizes that the boy is suffering much of the same torment and anguish that he has witnessed and endured before, he takes an interest in the boy as well.
If you are a fan of TWD comics and/or the TV series, you will be familiar with Kirkman’s style of storytelling, you will feel fairly comfortable with the way that Outcast plays out on screen. Body language is key to expressing the harrowed and troubled mind of Kyle. The dialogue, at times, seems a little forced and drawn out. Some scenes seem to be a little more fluffed than the comics, and sometimes slightly dry, the adjustments made to create an almost hour long episode fit very well for what they are trying to achieve.
Throughout the episode, we are given flashbacks to Kyle’s incredibly troubled childhood as well as how his past trauma has taken a toll on his entire life and how it affects him as an adult. Some of the best interactions are between Kyle and his adopted sister, Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt). While Kyle is (understandably) very strange and introverted, Megan loves and cares for him, while everyone else judges him. Kyle struggles with social interactions and Megan tries to encourage him to be more social. His awkwardness makes for a few lighthearted and humorous quips. The only other person that really believes in the supernatural side of things is Reverend Anderson, making him a trusted ally.
Much like the comics, the Cinemax show’s main theme is inner demons versus actual devilish demons. Kyle is and was tormented by the violent behaviors of the human dwelling demons, and must face his own demons and the acts that he was forced to commit to survive. The series touches on such subjects as domestic abuse and the way that victims of violence by loved ones is sometimes inescapable.
Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the first episode. If you don’t have Cinemax, you can watch the first episode below:
Outcast airs on Friday nights at 10 PM ET