In this episode of OUTSIDERS, Li’l Fos is returned, and the tribe welcome him back with a ritual cleansing and re-marking. It’s a rather powerful scene – his whiskery face in the water, his prison threads burned and replaced. The mountain people are joyful about Li’l’s escape and return – in the words of one cousin, “even their prisons can’t hold us”.
Their Bren’in G’win isn’t doing very well though – sweating and puffing on her sickbed, although pleased her people have recovered Li’l Fos. Convinced she is dying, she makes Big Fos promise to do a better job as the next Bren’in. Cue existential crisis for Big.
Wade’s success with one escaped prisoner whilst Li’l Fos runs free still earns him some stick from the hated emergency manager imported from the bigger smoke, who recalls quite how against Li’l Fos’ arrest Wade was in the first place and (rightly) suspects the deputy sheriff of tipping the mountain people off about Li’l Fos’ transfer.
The tension in the scene where the Emergency Manager confronts Wade is quite compelling. Wade really gets to lay out his theory of justice, against the excesses of Farrells, outsourced police governance, “community liaison” and the like. Though I don’t expect he’s off the hook – Wade’s justice is still only his, and the EM has guessed that Wade went rogue….this can’t be over yet.
Speaking of tension, Abby’s manarchist, Gordon, appears to be attempting to work his charms on PR chick Haley – calling her at work to apologise for the Coal Day disruption (when he personally doused some of the parade talent in black ‘coal’ dust), and sexily inviting her to come with him on a hike through the mountain her company would demolish. This whole exchange is some good troping: not only do they both play their part (bearded, earthy activist dude; tailored, smooth PR chick, but they refer to their parts (each saying ‘there’s always one of you’ in these fights about natural resources and corporate control), and as he leaves, there’s that ‘we’re not so different you and I’ energy… they’re going to get it on for sure.
#Sasil has some moments in this episode. When Hasil comes home after some days away on the mountain, clearly in some state of wreckage, Sally-Ann gives him an ultimatum: she’s leaving for the night, and if he’s not still in the apartment tomorrow, it’s over forevs. She can’t keep having him disappear like this. Not with little #Sasil on the way.
Anyway, back to Big Foster’s existential crisis. Big doubts he can be his best self as Bren’in; and is beginning to believe the Kinnah’s ordinance that the mountain needs a sacrifice in order to be purified and rid of its curses. In this vein, he asks Li’l Fos to kill him. Li’l, whose feelings about his dad are hardly affectionate (Big stole G’win away from him after all….!) refuses. Big Fos tries to force the issue…. blood is spilt…. still Li’l won’t do it. Big Fos is about to do it himself, when he sees the dead son he had with G’win. IT’S A SIGN.
And what’s this? Manarchist Gordon finds PR chick Haley in a hotel bar and repeats his intention to have her hike the mountain and see the natural beauty she wants to destroy? He has a collection of outsider art that he’d just love her to listen to and it includes some cultural products straight outta Shay Mountain? WELL WHAT A SURPRISE, they end up in bed together, to a soundtrack of “Appalachian hill people music” (her words). But why? Because he really likes blondes? No, it’s so he could steal her corporate secrets and save the mountain, of course. We see him uploading a bunch of said secrets in his caravan, full of smug satisfaction. (I gotta say, it’s a bit disappointing that manarchist dick may yet win the day, after all Abby’s sincere efforts).
The episode ends as G’win appears – shaky, oak in hand – before her people. Will she anoint Big Fos as her successor? Will she demand some of the modern medicine they have in the town at the bottom of the mountain? That’s for next week….
Season 2, Episode 8 (S02E08)
Outsiders airs Tuesdays at 9PM on WGN America
Ann Deslandes is a writer from Sydney, Australia. She has degrees in sociology and gender studies, which makes her very annoying to watch TV with.
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Ann Deslandes | Contributor