Friday, April 22, 2022

REVIEW: 'Outer Range' - Sheriff Joy Begins Asking Questions About the Abbott Family's Interactions with Trevor in 'The Time'

Amazon's Outer Range - Episode 1.03 "The Time"

The investigation for the missing Tillerson brother forces Royal to ally with Autumn, until Amy makes an improbable discovery.

"The Time" was written by Zev Borow and directed by Jennifer Getzinger

The planet has evolved countless times over the centuries. It doesn't care about the trappings of humanity. That's the overall mentality of the opening sequence. The planet will survive and thrive longer than anything that has merit for the people who inhabit it. Time has a strange way of connecting all of this. People can't forget the past. That will only doom them for the future. All of this plays out in a very singular environment. The development of the planet in Wyoming is different than elsewhere in the world. It doesn't even factor in the existential threat of climate change. As such, this is all told specifically from the people who only understand this way of life. They view it as simple and peaceful. It's full of drama too. The planet may be forcing them to evolve. They have to look at things in a much more challenging and broad way. They can no longer keep living the way they have for generations. The power of the family lineage still means so much. Cecilia refuses to entertain any offers to buy her family land. Wayne's deal isn't even communicated to the Abbott's. Luke is too busy fearing the worst has happened to his brother. Trevor isn't missing. He is actually dead. The audience knows that. Luke's suspicions are ultimately correct. They can't be hidden forever either. That would create a very monotonous narrative. Instead, the show has to embrace the unpredictability of its world. Royal wants to protect his family from the mystery he has uncovered. Autumn is the only person who shares in the awareness of the void. He has experienced delving into the unknown. He traveled through time. He returned with even more questions. He still stands firmly as a family man. Rhett has taken up his father's legacy as a bull rider. And yet, the stories Royal has accepted as defining his life can't be as comforting as they have always been. He shares that his past has been a lie. His father did die when he was a child. His mother didn't. Instead, Royal abandoned her and his younger sister. He made a new life for himself on the Abbott ranch. He found a way to prosper. That's essentially what Autumn is hoping to find in this place. She may have a stronger connection to what this land is capable of producing. The community is only starting to feel the effects of that mystery. Again, it's a connection through time. People can't be bothered with the trivial demands of life. They have to face this threat head on. The narrative simply isn't in a hurry to produce that climatic moment.

It's not good for an episode to structure itself so the big moments only happen during the last few minutes. Every episode has to justify its purpose. It's necessary for some to slowly tease the main plot. It can do so while revealing new facets of the main characters. This episode meanders too much for the audience to feel a stronger connection with anyone. It's strange. Enough certainly happens in the final minutes to explain why someone would want to come back for more. It was inevitable that Trevor's body wouldn't stay buried forever. Royal came back from his excursion in the void. It was presented as a choice on his part. He could simply jump back in from the other side of the timeline. Trevor couldn't do that because he no longer has the physical capacity. And yet, his body is in the woods ready for Amy to find. Royal calls it in to Sheriff Joy. He does so seemingly because he can't force his grandchild to live with keeping this secret. It's already been too much for the rest of the family. Of course, Perry was already in this depressive headspace before he killed Trevor. It's not unusual to see him in a bar in the middle of the day. Similarly, it's not odd to see Rhett picking fights at the same bar after a competition. Those have become patterns. The audience has no understanding of them beyond that behavior. The same applies to Luke and Billy. They are mysteries meant solely to have reactions to their brother's disappearance. Meanwhile, their father is simply greedy to buy Royal's land. The western section is important for some reason. Wayne may have some greater insight. It's not necessary though. It would place the priority on a character who hasn't exactly earned it. And yet, these characters are built on how they respond to the mysterious. Royal is protective. He can't keep this secret forever. His family was led to believe he got rid of Trevor's body. It would never be found. They now have a reason to distrust his word. That comes from Royal not knowing how the void works. He doesn't want to share it with anyone. However, an entire mountain goes missing for a few seconds. That can't be ignored. No one can really do anything about it. Even when Royal takes action, it's in such a blatantly obvious and corrupt way. Joy notices that Trevor's buckle has disappeared. That's Royal once again trying to protect his son. It's spiraling for the sake of creating drama. It's not exactly well-informed which creates a dissidence for the viewer that may be grower wider when it pertains to understanding and connecting with these characters.