EPISODE REVIEW: Outcasts: “Episode 7” (Episode 7)

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I know, I know: with my wildly non-sequential reviews of this show, you were assuming I wouldn’t get to this one until September, and I’d do the series finale before I got to it, and maybe a retrospective, too. Well - tah-dah - wrong. I’m all about surprises. And Fried Foods. And Sarcasm. Really, though, if I’m honest, I’m more about Fried Foods than the other two things. Ok, so, fine, I’m not all about surprises. That’s kinda’ surprising in and of itself, isn’t it? Probably not. You don’t actually know me all that well. Ah well. Screw it, on to the review portion of this review:

PLAY BY PLAY

Cass finally gets up the nerve to ask Fleur out. She seems interested, but then he gets an anonymous letter referring to his mysterious past, and freaks out. He leaves work, hits the bar (Evidently the only bar in town) and picks up some chick calling herself “Faith.” They make out, and head back to his place, where they make a practice run* at the whole “This is how you make babies” thing. The next morning Cass wakes up to find her stealing his gun (a-hem). He tries to get his gun out of her hand (A-hem) and she ends up cutting herself with some scissors, then bolting from his primitive Unabomber-styled shack while he chases after her in his underwear. It’s pretty much a normal Saturday morning for us here in Nebraska, but these people are all English, so perhaps they’re not as urbane as us.

Cass is pretty freaked out by all this, but goes to work and tries to play it normally. Fleur is pissed at him for blowing her off the night before, and then they’re assigned a missing person case: the chick he slept with the night before is gone. As completely unlikely as that is, they get on the case. Her husband thinks she was having an affair, and may be trying to kill herself. They find part of a love note. Cass feels he’s being set up, and compares it to the note threatening to expose him, but they don’t match. There follows an increasingly tense and well-done series of pokes and ripostes where Fleur is attempting to track down Cass without realizing he’s the suspect, and Cass is running around trying to prevent her from doing so, without letting on. They get about half an episode out of this - which is really just about the right amount of time, any more would be too much, any less would be unsatisfying - and finally the jig’s up.

Cass is arrested, and things look bad for him. The missing woman’s blood is all over the place. Cass is looking even guiltier because he was clearly lying during the investigation. Her husband maintains that she’s been having an affair for more than a year, but Cass denies that. Eventually looking at her diary, he realizes the handwriting doesn’t match the love letter, and therefore that her husband must have written the letter. No one will believe him, of course, so he breaks out of the cell and goes to rescue her, resulting in a fight, a dramatic collapse of a grain storage device, and Fleur showing up just in time to save ‘em all.

MEANWHILE, Tate wakes up to find an exact duplicate of himself and has a conversation: The aliens have been observing the colonists for 10 or 11 years. They don’t want ‘em here. They’re going to die. Tate sets the Boss Cop Lady on sorting out the information and trying to find a way to contact or track the aliens. Meanwhile, Tate goes out to talk to The Rude Boys. They beat him up pretty badly, then Rudy says he doesn’t much care about the alien threat because the Aliens are only interested in killing the colonists, not the clones.

MEANWHILE, Julius tells Jack to kill the clone they’ve got left from last week’s episode. They do. Julius then goes on TV to decry the killing, but to say he understands why it happened, and blames the whole thing on Tate. He contacts his mysterious ship, and thanks them for giving him the information on Cass.

The End.

OBSERVATIONS

There are 70,000 humans on Carpathia. With two exceptions, all would appear to be English: Julius and the French school teacher in the first ep. They talk about the evacuation of earth, but it really appears to only be the UK. What’s the deal with that? I mean, the UK hasn’t even *had* a space program in 35 years… If it’s an international effort, then why are the survivors only Brits? And if it *wasn’t* an international effort, then shouldn’t there also be some American and Russian and Chinese and probably French outposts on this crappy little planet as well?

The bad guy in this ep sends Fleur on a wild goose chase to the lake, claiming his wife might have gone there. This is the same place Jamie Bamber and kid went in episode 1. Probably just a coincidence.

I admit I’m a little fuzzy on some particulars of the case: Evil Husband is domineering towards his Wife. Wife nails cop to take gun and kill husband. Wife loses nerve. Husband stashes her away somewhere. All this I get, but what’s with the diary? The Husband wrote the fake love letter they found, and stashed it where he knew the cops would find it. Again, I get all that. When Cass is reading her diary, though, the implication is that it supports the idea that she’d been sleeping around. However, she tells Cass that apart from her husband, he’s the only person she’s been with in seven years. Likewise, she tells her husband that she actually slept with another guy in a manner that implies she hadn’t before now. So my question is: if she *wasn’t* sleeping around, why would the diary say she was? Clearly the diary wasn’t fake, since Cass used it to realize the difference in handwriting. Plot hole, I think.

Incidentally, the entries in the diary were dated “Day 200” and “Day 256” and so on. Evidently they don’t use the normal calendar on Carpathea, but then how could you be expected to? Different planets have different orbits, and hence different-length years and months and seasons and whatnot.

Cass’s real name is “Tom,” and Tate “Gave him a fresh start” on Carpathia. For some reason, however, Tom was stupid enough to bring his police file along with him. We don’t find out what he did, but it seems pretty clear he killed someone. This show has been pretty clear on there having been an intense screening process back on earth. If you’re not a valuable person, you just didn’t go. So how did Cass get there? Tate, obviously. Why would Tate care, though? They’ve repeatedly said that he’s fanatically loyal to Tate, now we know why. But we don’t know what Cass/Tom did. Nor are we likely to know, since the show’s been cancelled.

Julius: “Don’t worry about Tate. I have friends in high places who will protect us. Tate will be powerless.”
Jack: “What friends?”
Julius: “Angels from the heavens.” Clearly he’s referring to the incoming ship.

Jack killed the clone, but I like that he felt somewhat bad about it afterwards, and asked that he be given a good burial.

How much do the clones know about the aliens? It’s been implied all along that they know more than they’re telling, but do they actually have any contact with the aliens, or are they just trying to spook Tate?

Stoner Guy: “Didn’t I have to ride to the rescue and save the damsel in distress?”
Boss Cop Lady: “Never needed rescuing, never been a damsel. You coming or what?”

Best acting in the episode was the confrontation scenes between Fleur and Cass in the holding cell. Look at her body language: she stands back from him, doesn’t quite look at his face, and her body is curved slightly, her back bent like her stomach hurts. Her arms are down and very slightly out, with her hands very tense, and her voice is very measured, but carries a world of hurt in it. The way she stands and moves and reacts in these scenes are really good, much better than the hackneyed dialog.

Cass is really good in these scenes too. He looks like the little kid in the principals office, knowing he’s lost, knowing he’s going to get it, but terrified none the less. His eyes are wide, he’s in flight or fight, he’s disgusted with himself for betraying Fleur, but he’s panicked on top of that. When she finds his police file and confronts it with him, his freakout was really pretty well played. She asks him who he really is and what he did, and he jumps up, presses himself against the wall furthest from her, won’t look at her, and slightly past the edge of tears he says “I can’t tell you that,” in a way that clearly means he’s ashamed, but that he could tell someone else, just not her because he couldn’t bear her to know what he really is. It’s a short, but very neat scene trapped in a dying show.

Who are the aliens? Did they kill the Neanderthals we saw last week?

I gotta’ say this crappy little show has really gotten a lot better in the last two weeks. If they had another five episodes, they could have probably become good enough to be cancelled by the FOX network.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

To be honest, the episode would probably leave most of us indifferent. If you’re *really* concerned about it, though, I’ll say guardedly that a conservative might not. There’s a mildly sacrilegious bit where Cass and the married woman flirt by making fun of Christian virtue and discussing their fondness for the Seven Deadly Sins. Also, the bad guy in this series is continually using religion for his own ends, the implication being ‘Religion is bad,‘ which probably will offend many of us. So for extreme cases, no, they wont’ like it, but for most of us, sure, why not?

*- I originally wrote “Dry run” which means the same thing as practice, but given we’re talking about sex, the ‘dry’ part seemed confusingly inapt.

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