The Outsider Series Premiere Review: Fish In a Barrel

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Strange things are afoot in this small town. 

The Outsider Season 1 Episode 1 and The Outsider Season 1 Episode 2 introduced us to a compelling murder mystery that has the legs to keep us enthralled throughout every single beat of this HBO miniseries. 

Murder mysteries have been done to death on the small screen, and thanks to the boom of streaming, they are more prevalent than ever. 

Possible and the Impossible Tall - The Outsider

The Outsider differs in many aspects to the others, putting a fresh and exciting spin on the genre. 

Revealing Terry as the supposed killer early on was the first instance that proved this was not your typical murder mystery fare. 

These types of shows generally build towards revealing the killer over a meandering arc with various red herrings, but The Outsider offered up the suspect and evidence blended with a nice dose of angsty drama, as well as some mystery. 

For the what?

Terrence Matland. I'm arresting you for the murder of Frankie Peterson. Terry

Having multiple witnesses placing Terry not only at the scene but interacting with the deceased should have been the slam dunk the court needed to send him away forever. 

The Suspect - The Outsider

But there was a part of Terry that seemed genuine, almost like he was not the person he was being portrayed to be. He was so deeply intertwined in the lives of many others in town thanks to being the baseball coach. 

The curveball that Terry was at a teachers conference out of state on that fateful day could have saved him from all the doom and gloom, but the damage was done, in large part thanks to the DNA burying him. 

DNA can rule someone innocent or guilty. Unfortunately for Terry, he appeared to be guilty as sin, but only where the DNA was concerned.

The CCTV footage was quite the surprise, but it made sense as a means propel the story forward. One person identifying Terry in town on that day could be ruled a coincidence, but multiple, that's just bizarre.

A Couple in Crisis - The Outsider

Having not read the Stephen King novel the series is based on, the best theory I can muster here is that there is a secret twin or multiple iterations of the same person. 

Terry flipping the bird to the camera makes it seem like it was a calculated move, as though this person knew the police would be confused while investigating the crime. 

Answer me this. Do you think Terry Maitland killed that boy?

Ralph's Wife

Terry losing his life at the top of The Outsider Season 1 Episode 2 was another shocker. The concept would have allowed for Terry to be behind bars throughout the entirety of the miniseries, but with a possibly innocent man dead, it puts great strain on the police department to find out the truth. 

Ralph is an excellent character to have at the wheel. His conflicting emotions as he arrested someone who he thought he trusted shone through. 

He thought he had the murderer, but the story grew arms and legs, leading to a lot of pressure being put on the police force.

Dealing with the Fallout - The Outsider

The media loves to spin a story, and the notion that Terry was incarcerated despite there being physical evidence to put him in another state is something that will be used. 

Now that Ralph feels somewhat responsible for Terry's death, he wants to find out the truth ... and fast. His career probably depends on it. I appreciated that Ralph understood that he made mistakes. 

He's a multi-layered character who is battling some demons of his own while simultaneously trying to crack a case that makes very little sense. 

The 12-year-old bringing the van to town from the place Terry was supposedly visiting his father is another big thing. It seems like that trip has had the ripple effect that paved the way for the initial murder. 

Investigators on the Case - The Outsider

Glory was right to be mad at Ralph. It's not uncommon for significant others when they are accused of murder, but a part of Glory knew from the get-go that her husband was innocent. 

She blames Ralph for changing the state of her family forever. Glory was right in her assessment that she cannot move her family anywhere. Terry being tried for murder will hang over them like a dark cloud wherever they go, and it's heartbreaking to think about. 

It's clear Glory will ultimately work alongside Ralph to uncover the truth. There's no visible path for her to take otherwise. If she wants to take control of the narrative, she needs to help find out who murdered the young boy. 

The Suspect - The Outsider Season 1 Episode 1

More details about Terry's past will likely come to the forefront because he had to be doing something during that family trip to get the cut. Stephen King is well-known for compelling stories, and some of them have supernatural elements. 

It may well be that there's a supernatural link between Terry and the van.

Ralph: I'm as baffled by this conflicting evidence as you are. His prints are all over the crime scene, but the TV footage puts him sixty miles away.
Officer: He can't have been in two places at once.

Aside from Terry, it is the other recurring thing in this story. Whether that will vindicate him, I don't know, but we also need to learn more about the mysterious figure. 

That person will be the key to unlocking the answers to these mysteries. 

Ralph Looks Sullen - The Outsider

These two episodes were successful at setting up the conflicts and horrors to come. We still have eight episodes remaining, and viewers should buckle up because it's going to be a wild ride. 

What did you think of it all? Do you think Terry carried out the killing? Will this be the biggest mystery since Roanoake?

Hit the comments below. 

The Outsider airs Sundays on HBO. 

Fish In a Barrel Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (6 Votes)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Outsider Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Ralph: I'm as baffled by this conflicting evidence as you are. His prints are all over the crime scene, but the TV footage puts him sixty miles away.
Officer: He can't have been in two places at once.

For the what?

Terrence Matland. I'm arresting you for the murder of Frankie Peterson. Terry