Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review: Outcasts "Episode 7"

Non Spoiler Review:
After last week's somewhat tedious plotline, this one jumps right into the mystery—Tate confronting himself in his quarters and the reveal that an alien intelligence is at work on Carpathia. That's not really a spoiler, considering it happens in the first minute. Unfortunately that's not the main storyline. Nor is Julius' simmering coup d'etat. Instead we get Cass and revelations about his past, all springing from his association with a girl we only meet in this episode. It's all a bit messy and contrived, and not at all successful.

As the penultimate Outcasts episode, it's unfortunate this is what we get. What should have been a shocker about Cass instead meanders around and around with numerous scenes of Cass just running to fill out the hour. And then the payoff is pretty lame, as well. If Outcasts had a season with a few more episodes, then perhaps this would be acceptable, but I just wanted more focus on the big picture stuff.

Spoilers Now!
Tate comes out of his room to face...himself. In shock, he asks his doppelganger who they are and gets an info-dump—they've been watching Forthaven for a long time and a species like humans were here before, but became extinct. Tate asks if they killed them. It tells him they will suffer the same fate, then disappears.

Cass has not told Fleur what happened in the mountains, so she keeps pressing (and flirting) with him to get answers. But he promised Tate to keep quiet. He takes the opportunity to ask her out and she suggests they talk that night.

She goes off and Cass finds a letter on his desk that says I know who you really are. Be in touch soon. That puts him into a massive panic and he rushes off home and goes through some old files in his locker to ensure everything is still there and secure.

Tate's consulted with Stella, and realizes they need to respond to whatever intelligence is making copies of them. Jack remains a problem—he'll eventually talk about what happened with Josie. Tate needs time to deal with the situation before Jack talks to anyone, so he warns him he could have court-martialed him for his black op, so now it's payback—24 hours before he tells. And he wants the AC prisoner released.

Stella gets the idea to analyze the recordings of Josie made when she was still missing. Her team isolates an anomaly in Josie's broadcast that she believes is the host force. She gets some receivers set up in the city to detect any other signals and see what they can decipher.

By nightfall Cass goes to the bar and a girl strikes up a conversation with him. She's pretty drunk and so is he, and they end up going home together. Cass wakes up to find the girl going through his locker. He's crazy panicked and struggles with her, and she gets stabbed with some scissors. She fights back, though, and manages to get away with his gun. He runs off to work trying to keep it together. Fleur isn't too impressed with being stood up and gives him the cold shoulder. 

Cass tries to explain but says he got scared and spent the night drinking. She then gets a report of a missing person, Carla, so they head off to get debriefed by her husband, James. The man's wife went missing a few days before, and he shows them her photo—guess who? Cass nearly freaks. Her husband says Carla has been increasingly down about life on Carpathia and suggests she might be having an affair. 

Julius demands to know what's going on now that Jack's clammed up, but Tate has had enough of his scheming and tells him all he says are lies and has no right to demand anything from them.

Cass and Fleur look through Carla's house with her husband's help. Fleur finds a torn note to a lover, and then gets a tip she was seen at the bar the previous night with a man. Cass lets her talk to the barman while he checks out the neighbourhood, but instead runs home to clean up his apartment of any evidence of Carla. He finds the scissors with the blood, but neglects a spot on the carpet. 

Tate abruptly shows up and tells him he's going into the mountains to talk to Rudi. He's not telling Stella, but wants Cass to watch out for Julius to ensure they don't raise tensions against the ACs. 

Tipper shows up at command to talk to Stella and tell her Lily's been arrested for stealing at the bar. Stella goes to see her and finds out her daughter just wanted to get noticed by her mother. She has her retained for 24 hours and let go. 

Julius comes by to console Stella later on. Fifteen years is a long time to live apart, and Stella still sees her as a baby she left behind. Julius wants to talk to her about Tate, telling her he's disappeared. He suggests he's losing control, but Stella assures him he has his reasons. He says he'll wake the city up to the dangers that threaten it, and wants her to be on side with him. She doesn't want to talk with him about that and leaves.

Fleur gets reports of a woman trying to buy a gun, so assumes it was Carla planning to kill her husband. Cass rushes to find James, as two other kids come in as witnesses who saw Carla running away from a man. They bring Fleur right to Cass' house. Shocked, she looks around his place and manages to notice the spot of blood on the carpet. She takes a sample to get tested and it's Carla's.

Carla confronts her husband, threatening to kill him. He's been controlling her since they arrived on Carpathia and she wants out, but he won't let her. She then threatens to kill herself, but he takes the gun, promising her everything will be just as it was. She drops the bomb she had sex with Cass so he punches her out.

Julius continues to manipulate Jack and finally gets him to tell him the truth about Josie. He also provokes him to take action about the ACs and execute his prisoner rather than release him. He tells him not to worry, as they have friends—angels in heaven.

Fleur has uncovered Cass' file and wants to know who he really is—Tom Sileg. He confesses Carla stole his gun. Stella comes to see him, telling him James is claiming Carla was having an affair for over a year and has a diary that says as much, so she wants to know how long this has been going on. She leaves the diary with him to read.

Next Stella consoles Fleur, who wants to know if she knew about Cass' past. Stella had some idea. But Fleur doesn't know if she can believe his innocence now. Then they're advised James has found a suicide note. Fleur consults with him and he seems to think she might have gone out to the lake.

Cass realizes the diary is written in the same handwriting as Carla's letter, but no one will listen to him. So he fakes an illness to escape from the cell. Fleur gets alerted about that, and also what he said about the journal.

Tate follows his phantom children through the hills, but is soon surrounded by ACs. After a bit of a beating, Rudi shows up and Tate admits he didn't listen to the first warning, but wants Rudi's help to persuade the host force that they can all live together. Rudi rebuffs the overture, telling him they killed their children when they first arrived, and it's only Tate's people who are threatened, not his.

Cass' tries to get to James' house but it's locked up. He hears Carla inside and breaks in, finding her in a cellar. James shows up as he tries to free her and pulls a gun on them. He explains Carla will be assumed drowned and the search will be called off. He'll bury them both there together. Cass charges him, and the ensuing fight breaks the ceiling bringing down the soil above to fill the chamber. But they're rescued just in time and James is arrested.

Later, Cass confesses that back on Earth Tate had taken him in and saw him as redeemable, offering him a new chance on Carpathia. When Fleur presses just what exactly he did, he tells her if she finds out she won't want to know him. So she leaves.

Julius addresses the people about the AC attack, and assures them they have avenged it. The AC has been hung, and normal rules no longer apply now that they're in a fight for their lives. He accuses Tate of doing nothing when Forthaven needs action.

Jack isn't feeling terribly great about the execution, so tells his men to give the AC a decent burial, then shows up at the bar to find Fleur. The two get pretty close and go back to his place.

Tate comes to see Cass. They knew it would all come out eventually, but Tate defends his right to be there. Cass shows him the note he got and wonders who else knows about him.

Julius communicates with the transport, commenting that the information on Cass proved useful. They then provide him with information on the Omega subject he requested, noting there is one on Carpathia...Fleur.

In the command centre, Stella shows Tate they've deciphered four letters that cycle in infinite variations, which seem to compose the bulk of the alien communications. Now they can listen in.

The Verdict:
What a convoluted and contrived mess. Perhaps if the season were twice as long, the series could afford to bring in new characters to flesh out the main storylines, but it seemed tacked on here when Cass' story could have been better served with existing characters. There was simply no emotional investment in Carla or her situation at all. And even then, we don't get any information about what Cass actually did to make him so terrible. Plus we get a groaner of a jailbreak, and filler scenes of Cass running around Forthaven like a crazy person. It was really agitating to watch (and then attempt to recap) all these disjointed scenes and make sense of it.

Cass just isn't as important when Forthaven has Julius Berger and an alien host force to worry about, both of which get too little play. While the idea of disembodied aliens is still not my preference, the idea of their communications being detectable by Forthaven was a good touch.

And we get some additional details from the alien—there are 70,000 humans on Carpathia. Plus they killed the original hominid species and, perhaps, other life forms, as well. But for what purpose? And why would they leave the ACs alone? Why would they chose to differentiate between the two?

Outcasts has been unfortunately cancelled, so this amounts to the penultimate episode. Too bad, as this show did have much promise, and something tells me not much is going to be resolved in the final episode.

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