On the season premiere of Outcast we met the protagonist of Robert Kirkman’s series about a man’s battle with demons and possession. Like this episode’s title, “(I Remember) When She Loved Me,” suggests, Kyle’s childhood really did suck, but there had to be a time before his mom went rabid. What was does Kyle remember?
Up to now, Sarah Barnes (Julia Crockett) is seen only in flashbacks or in her catatonic state at the nursing home. But what was Kyle’s mom like before the devil paid a visit? Kyle visits his mom at the home and speaks with her even though she has not responded to any stimuli since the day she was taken away. Kyle, even though he is an adult man, husband and father, still holds within himself the belief that he has somehow failed his mother. Abuse victims often take on the blame for what their abusers do to them.
Patrick Fugit is a talented actor and, for me, the right choice to play the troubled Kyle. Fugit makes us care about Kyle because he is played as an average man who is way above his head on matters that are best left to the Vatican. Possession usually starts off slowly because the human will is so strong. The demon attacks a person the same way ancient knights would storm a castle. It would be slow, but the siege would begin with the demon’s use of our weaknesses. As we are prone to anger, hate, rage, greed and negativity… then those pesky demons have an “in” and the attack will continue until the walls of defense crumble.
Sarah was seen as a happy woman and good mother. This is what Kyle is remembering along with the horrors that followed. There were just the two of them. Kyle’s father is not seen. We know they were poor, but poverty is not a weakness. Sarah went from happy to a woman possessed on one sunny afternoon as she planted her flowers. Kyle witnessed the change even though he didn’t understand and he suffered at her hands.
Kyle is alone; separated from his family through no fault of his own. How was it possible for him to have exorcised the demon from little Joshua and not his own mother? When he sees that his mother is not being cared for properly, he sneaks her out of the hospital.
A frustrated Reverend Anderson is not happy with the low number of people attending his church. Everyone has heard about Joshua’s rescue from the hounds of hell and little Joshua is even sitting in the first pew, but many of the parishioners are too busy for church. No one is really paying attention to the sermon that the Reverend shouts out from the pulpit, but they should, especially with the mysterious stranger (Brent Spiner a.k.a. Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation) all dressed in black sitting in the back pew.
The Sheriff is notified by one of the townsfolk that animals are being mutilated on his land. While Chief Giles is connecting the dots – possessed boy + mutilated animals = bad shit heading his way – Kyle’s brother-in-law, Mark thinks that his boss and the priest are being too soft on Kyle.
They soon find a forest full of woodland animals nailed to the trees and an abandon trailer. While they try to figure out what’s going on, they are being watched.
Kyle is not equipped to care for his catatonic mom. It’s not for lack of trying, but her state of vegetation demands professional care. Kyle knows he is way over his head and that could be why he would not allow his neighbor into the home or his sister Megan. Not only is Kyle separated from his wife and daughter, there is a court order that says “No Contact.” Kyle coaxes Megan to bring a gift to his daughter. It has to be outright frustrating for Kyle to be blamed for his daughter’s injuries when we know that it was his wife who hurt the child.
Reverend Anderson’s ploy to get Mildred and her friends to help grow the church has brought on some flirtatious offers for tea and pie from Tansy (Andrea Powell) but before the priest gets to taste the pie he gets a phone call from the nursing home that Sarah is missing.
Is Sarah still possessed? Kyle thinks so and he thinks he can save her like he did Joshua. Reverend Anderson tells Kyle that the demon is gone but was inside his mother long enough to do plenty of physical damage…an exorcism was useless. Kyle persisted and even repeated the same order of events that cleansed Joshua… sunlight… holy water… prayers…. his blood. In the last flashback of the episode we see that Kyle had actually succeeded in exorcising the demon those many years ago, and it had tried to kill him.
In the end, Kyle returned Sarah back to the nursing home. He had failed his mother once again, but after he leaves the home Sarah receives a visitor. The mysterious stranger knows her and tells her that although she tried, they had Kyle. I think we’ve just been introduced to the Devil.
In case you don’t take demon possession as a reality, a few years back the Roman Catholic Church put out a call for more exorcists to be trained. See you next week my little angels, and don’t forget to pray.