Seeing as this is likely to be my last Outcasts post, it’s quite nice to be able to say the finale wasn’t terrible.
Julius was still appalling, Jack unconvincing and Lily unbearable, but, if you ignored them completely, this was pretty watchable. A new deadly virus started attacking Forthaven, Stella worked out the secret of the four-letter code, and Fleur and Cass tearfully (and quite sweetly, if entirely predictably) made up before she went to join the ACs. Oh yeah, and the whole thing ended with that big ship of folk Julius keeps talking to landing on the planet.
We’re unlikely to ever meet the passengers, though, as it would be sheer madness to commission a new run of this; if I were the BBC I’d be so embarrassed I’d just want to forget it ever happened. Given its pedigree, it’s such a shame that the best that can be said for the series is that it had some good ideas and an excellent cast, but had borrowed both of those things almost wholesale from other, better shows. And then messily mashed them together in a ridiculous and spectacularly unsuccessful fashion.
Yes, this episode wasn’t terrible but that was mainly because the storylines actually started to move. And the season finale is way too late for that to start happening. I was ready to love Outcasts 8 episodes ago, but it’s been too slow, too derivative and generally, too idiotic. Too bad.
“You thought this planet was empty. It isn’t.”
Oooh. The first minute or so of this week’s Outcasts was actually brilliant. I’m as surprised as you are, but it was genuinely gasp-out-loud scary as President Tate met HIMSELF standing in his living room. HIMSELF. Oooh again. And what’s more, Faux Tate told Real Tate he was going to end all the Forthavenites. And he’d done it before. Say it with me one more time, now…… OOOH.
More of that type of creepiness would have been welcome but, of course, it wasn’t to be, because this is Outcasts where good storylines hover in the background while total rubbish takes centre-stage. Oh yeah, and where the characters’ default setting is “idiot.” So, while the Pres was off up a mountain being a fool, Cass embroiled himself in the kind of hoary old sub-plot that only people on TV get involved in. (And even then most of them have the sense not to do it in the penultimate episode of what is surely going to be a one-season series.)
Sigh. Surely there were better ways to expose Cass’s past and drive a wedge between him and Fleur the Judgemental than the well-worn “drunken one-night stand, she goes missing, he’s in trouble” storyline? And as for Fleur making eyes at that dolt Jack (who incidentally had just hanged someone; at least Cass didn’t actually kill the one-night stand lady, Fleur) – give me a break. And give Lily and Julius one too. From my screen.
Erm… Smoke Monster, anyone?
Three XPs go missing. One stumbles back to town, all banged up and bruised, but also not quite right. (We know this because Juliet Aubrey can do creepy-face really well and someone keeps soundtracking her with creepy music. Handy.)
Her creepiness is confirmed when it turns out she’s not the real missing lady but some island entity that takes her form and freaks everyone the feck out. Ooh. Now where have I seen this before…?
Meantime, a couple of nameless, lineless, gormless ACs try and kill Jack, regrettably unsuccessfully; Julius continues to slime around the camp, and President Tate decides that all the ghost children playing chess and all the creepy ladies who are not actually the non-creepy ladies they are pretending to be are evidence of life on Carpathia. Or something, I don’t know. Basically, he decides that just because you’re bonkers doesn’t mean there aren’t ghost children trying to become Grand Masters in your living room and creepy ladies falsely representing themselves as non-creepy ladies in your detention cells. The big question for Forthaven is which side – slimy or bonkers – “pioneer, neurologist, midwife” Stella will choose. The big question for me is how on earth I can make it to episode 8 because, really, Outcasts has gone from being just naff to being both naff and quite, quite bizarre.
The second man ever to set foot on Carpathia turns up, after years away, to take Cass and Fleur to the seaside. No, really. The sea on Carpathia is lovely, full of diamonds. No, really. And there’s now a ghost dog to add to the ghost children. No, REALLY?
I have very little idea what’s going on, but it all seems mad. And not in a good Lost-ish way, whatever the writers may think. Still, at least there were some lovely shots of the ocean to offset the soporific political storyline and the sheer rubbishness of everything else. For anyone still watching, next episode’s on Sunday at 10.25pm, .
Why am I watching this again?
Not for the characters, that’s for sure, given that so many of them are too stupid or too irritating, or both; and in this episode, Julius, Tate, Jack and the frankly appalling Lily really took the biscuit in terms of both.
But, in fairness, the story was actually kind of interesting, if not entirely comprehensible. An emotionally and mentally damaged AC stumbled into town, revealing a terrible secret, and causing a big panic. Which, in turn, lead to all sorts of soul-searching and a Fleur and Cass moment which should have been dreadful, but, surprisingly, wasn’t.
Of course, there was still plenty wrong with the episode – like Lily still being alive, for instance – but it was miles better than the execrable episode 3. Even if I am on the fence about the ghost children and the human remains business. Eerie, yes. Likely to lead to a decent storyline? Hmm, probably not.
And we’re back to dreadful.
Fleur bonds with Rudi (Did I imagine it, or was there a plant finger tapping him on the shoulder during the electrical whirly thing? Weird.) It’s meant to be moving or something, but it’s just awkward. There’s a really big storm which is a bit less than the apocalypse they said it would be. A random new character, Cass’ ex-girlfriend Trix, pops up just so she can be idiotic and force Cass to endanger himself to save her fiance, whom we’re supposed to give two hoots about, apparently. Despite the fact we’ve never met him before either. Give me a break. I don’t even care about the people we met two episodes ago.
Meanwhile, Julius continues to be creepy, everyone continues to talk and behave like noone you’ve ever met, and Fleur continues to do my head in. The one remotely poignant storyline is, bizarrely, Tipper’s. Which still doesn’t work, although not for want of him trying.
It’s probably not enough to bring back anyone who gave up after episode 1 (and who can blame them?), but, for what it’s worth, this was a lot better.
The dialogue was still all kinds of appalling, and “idealist” Fleur all kinds of annoying, but the action moved a lot faster, the “advanced cultivars” (I told you the dialogue was appalling) were convincingly menacing, and there are some interesting themes in there, underneath all the pontificating.
I’m not sure that making
Daniel Meade Julius Berger a creepy child predator/cult leader-type is a great idea and I’m sure that adding two sulky teenagers to the cast isn’t, but, having spent months waiting for it, I’m invested enough to stick with Outcasts for now. If you’re doing the same, there are two episodes next week as well.