The Outsider is a 10-episode mini-series that appears on HBO. It was created by Rich Prince after a Stephen King book called The Outsider as well. Jason Bateman, who is one of the well-known actors in the show takes part in the directing and producing of the series. The episodes are concurrent, so you need to watch each one to make sense of the finale. Right out of the gate, it grabs the audience and pulls them into the mystery and drama. At first, it feels like you are watching a police or detective mystery, but that becomes mind changing early on.
The first episode is very interesting, as Prince kicks things off with a grizzly, mysterious murder, which is enough to draw anyone who enjoys a perplexing crime to solve.
. Episode 2 offers some drama and an opportunity to get to know some of the characters. It also introduces a couple of twists to the mystery, keeps viewers engaged and hooks them into wanting answers. The end of the episode provides a shocking event, which actually poses more questions than solutions.
As the show progresses, the pace begins to slow down, and the supernatural aspect becomes more evident, which would be expected from a Stephen King story. By the end of the third episode, the show becomes undoubtedly supernatural, and if case you had any doubt that paranormal forces are present, you won’t by the end of episode four. Even so, Prince does a good job with brining some human aspect back by focusing on the feelings of the characters, such as grief, fear, imagination and caring; especially since most of King’s work is centered around fear itself. Some focus makes its way back towards detective work and offers the audience some hope for resolve and possibly justice. Prince provides somewhat of a cliffhanger at the end of episode 9, which whether you liked it too much or not to this point, makes it almost impossible not to see what happens at the end.
The positive side for viewers is that the rolls are very well casted. The actors fit their characters, which is what made the series watchable for me. Jason Bateman who usually does a good job portraying the character of any role he plays, certainly wouldn't disappoint here. Although this is a switch from the comedic side we saw in Arrested Development and from his role in Ozark on the other side of the spectrum, he is engaging, believable, and likeable. Ben Mendelsohn plays his role well aligned with the backstory that is given about him. His acting is as compelling as his character who brings emotion and feelings into the picture, as well as determination to solve the unexplainable.
The story itself is well written. If you're looking for mystery, drama, crime, emotion and a little bit of fear all rolled into one, you've come to the right place. For those who are more drawn towards the drama and action of a cop or detective drama that ends with justice for all, this may not be the one. The ending might not deliver satisfaction. But since the supernatural genre isn’t built around reasoning, I suppose that is the point. Either way, Prince leaves it open for a second season, which is good for anyone that is hoping for a full explanation and is willing to take their chances on whether they will get one or not.