Opinion: The Outsider

Can somebody be in two places at once? Even when all the evidence indicates it is impossible, Stephen King’s book The Outsider suggests otherwise. On Jan. 10, 2020, HBO released a ten-episode drama based on King’s best-selling novel, captivating viewers everywhere. Due to the success of the show, with an average of nine million viewers, The Outsider won the best performance of the new HBO drama series. Adapted by the crime writer, Richard Price, and produced by one of the series stars, Jason Bateman, The Outsider will take you to a world full of mysteries.

The show begins with the discovery of the body of an eleven-year-old boy in Cherokee Creek, Georgia. Before we know it, the police arrest the local baseball coach, Terry Maitland (Bateman), for the boy's murder. The detective in charge, Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn), has all the evidence against Maitland. Not only has he spoken to witnesses, who have seen Maitland on the day of the crime, covered in blood, but he discovers his fingerprints are all over the body of the victim. Suddenly, new pieces of evidence disprove the theory of the police. As it turns out, Maitland was at a conference for secondary school English teachers in Cap City, which is an hour away from Cherokee Creek. So, what is the logical explanation, and how can Maitland have been in two places at the same time? Could it be something to do with the mysterious hooded man, which appears in the background of every investigation site? So many questions. At times, the series is a little hard to follow, but once you get hooked, you cannot stop watching.  

                                  The Outsider original series poster. Photo courtesy of CarterMatt

                           Ben Mendelsohn and Mare Winningham in The Outsider. Photo courtesy of TV Series Finale

In the third episode, Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), who is a private investigator, goes back even before the accident and starts to put the pieces together. Gibney possesses some extrasensory perception and people who know her describe her as "special." No one could have played Holly better than Erivo, whose presence completes the whole series, and it makes us shiver every time she appears on our screen. Being of immense use for the police, she notices little details and, with her brilliant mind, reveals things that no one else could find. After a couple of episodes, Gibney has an idea of who is responsible for the murder, but she is afraid no one will believe and understand her. That is when the show becomes even more interesting. Gibney believes that something supernatural, a monster, is responsible for the murder. Detective Anderson is the last person who would believe her. “I have no tolerance for the unexplainable,” is his reply when Holly first suggests something supernatural is afoot. 

Ralph Anderson is truly caught up in the case, and it has something to do with the loss of his son Derek a couple of years ago. In the series, the boy dies from cancer, and after years have passed, he appears in one of the dreams of his father. This scene is quite heartbreaking, but at the same time, it feels like Ralph’s son is giving him one more reason to continue with the investigation and solve the mystery. 

The events in the last episode of the series were more or less expected to happen and right after we start to think about all the things that left unexplained, we see Gibney in one last scene. This moment is very promising to look forward to the second season.

If you are a Stephen King's fan and you love mysteries, this show would be the perfect distraction for you! Both terrifying and intriguing, The Outsider can keep your attention for one weekend, this is how much time you need to finish the first season. Stay at home and enjoy this incredible show.

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