Tuesday, February 2, 2016

REVIEW: 'Outsiders' - Asa Has to Fight His Way Back Into the Good Graces of the Farrell Community in 'Doomsayer'

WGN America's Outsiders - Episode 1.02 "Doomsayer"

Asa fights for his right to stay on Shay Mountain in a brutal game of survival.

The fallout from the death of one of the oil businessman in last week's premiere doesn't lead to a ton of action against the Farrell clan this week. Instead, the community at the bottom of the mountain is in mourning over the death of this man. Not everyone knew him. But he was a key influence in what was to come to this town and community. The fellow people at his business are all wondering what happens next with their proposal to mine the mountain and bring a ton of jobs to this land. Should they postpone until this situation dies down? Should they act now in order to influence the upcoming elections of several officials? Should they seek punishment for the Farrells' hand in this death? It's a complicated situation. And yet, this hour is able to still keep the communities separated. The Farrell family has their own problems to deal with while the town below is still figuring stuff out. It's still a ton of rising action but it's being done in a way that suggests mystery and intrigue - and very likely danger in the future.

Wade is put in charge of investigating the death of this businessman. It seems like a pretty open and shut case. The kid got messed up when he mixed the Farrell wine with some drugs (which he refuses to admit that he took) and killed his father. He didn't know what he was doing - seeing the Devil instead of his father (which could be its own hidden metaphor). But he's still very much responsible for the death. That's all Wade needs to know in order to close this case. However, his superior wants him to dig a little deeper. He wants to see if there is any legal action they can pursue against the Farrell family that will help them get those people off the mountain. It's a suggestion that is whispered into the sheriff's ear by Haylie, the new representative for the company looking to mine the mountain. She is determined to proceed according to schedule. She isn't afraid to manipulate the sheriff into making it happen either.

And yet, something is up with Wade as well. He follows through on this lead from the sheriff. He confronts the dealer who sold the moonshine to the teenagers in the first place. And then, he also returns to where the party was held that got the kid messed up in the first place. He is searching for the moonshine container so that the forensic team can find out if there were any drugs mixed up in the beverage. That could suggest very dangerous and nefarious things happening on the mountain. It could turn public opinion against the Farrells. They are a nuisance. Everyone knows that. But everyone also figures they are just a part of living in this community and should stay as long as they want to. It's a mentality that has become a part of this culture. Wade's past with the Farrell family is still shrouded in mystery. However, he doesn't bring the moonshine container back to the precinct for analysis. Instead, he takes it to an isolated spot in the woods, spills out what was left of it and then smashes the container with a bat. He does not want this investigation to go any further than it is. Is that because he doesn't want to upset the balance in this community and start a war with the Farrell clan? Or is it because he's trying to protect their (and his) secrets from coming out?

Meanwhile, the Farrell clan isn't getting ready for an armed conflict with law enforcement. In fact, they are able to continue living life the way that they always have. Their leader has fallen ill but they still trust that Big Foster is looking out for their best interests. Sure, Big Foster is fueled by his selfish and narcissistic desires. But he still holds a ton of respect in this community as well. He has just lost his youngest son. He is fueled by rage. Rage against the community below that wants them off of this mountain. But also rage against Asa for bringing all of this death and destructive back with him. To Big Foster, Asa is the only explanation for why things are starting to turn against their way of life. His return brought the sickness that wrought Lady Ray, the eviction notice to get off the land, and the death of his own son. However, Big Foster is even more guilty of doing the actions that lead to all of those consequences. He just refuses to see that through his selfish pursuit of power. Some of the Farrells are wise to how Big Foster operates though. G'Winveer is able to expertly manipulate both sides of this power struggle in order to get more for herself.

G'Winveer is able to do that by suggesting a pit fight to determine whether or not Asa can stay on this land and be a Farrell once again. Asa doesn't have a ton of friends on the mountain. He betrayed all of them when he left. His life in the real world was much more dangerous to him though. That's why he has returned to the comfort of the mountain and the family he grew up with. He only gets to share a little bit about the tragic details of his life away from the mountain. Something changed him that forced him to come back. But his return has been met with such strong animosity. Big Foster doesn't want him on this land. As the man in charge, his opinion matters which is what forces this conflict. Asa has to face Lil Foster in a duel of sorts. It's a pretty thrilling sequence too. It did feel somewhat inevitable that Asa would find some way to win though. Him being on the mountain is important to the plot while Big Foster disowning his son should he lose would finally give Lil Foster something to do on his own. But it was entertaining and engaging to watch as the two faced off in the arena. It was the most compelling part of the hour. Plus, it was just a ton of fun. A lot of the show can be so serious. So it was just nice to have some fun for a little bit - even though the fun was also centered around something very serious to the characters.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Doomsayer" was written by Peter Mattei and directed by Adam Bernstein.
  • Lil Foster and G'Winveer are engaged of sorts. They are a couple as far as the Farrell culture can describe it. And yet, both of them are aware that she only decided to be with him because Asa left all those years ago. Asa and G'Winveer have a past. It has complicated their present relationship. It should be interesting to see what happened between the two that forced Asa to leave.
  • The Farrell doctor proves himself to be a strong ally and friend to both Hasil and Asa in this episode. He helps tend to Hasil's hand now that it only has three fingers and helps Asa fix up the vehicle for his upcoming fight.
  • However, Hasil's courting of Sally-Ann really isn't that interesting yet. He continues to just show up outside her place of work whenever he wants. And now, he knows where she lives too. This could be a story of either lovers from different walks of life or a tragic case of stalking.
  • Big Foster is only going to be more angry and filled with rage moving forward because now Asa has taken both of his sons away from him. That's not something that a man can bounce back from so easily. He's only going to make things worse for Asa in the future.