Television these days does certainly feel stuffed to the brim with morally conflicted men of faith. “Preacher” has some of these issues with its own broken-and-disillusioned Jesse Custer, and on Cinemax’s “Outcast,” we have the Reverend Anderson who, to quote Walter White, he “did it for him” and “because he liked it.”
Specifically, we learned through the Reverend’s video history here that he really performs these exorcisms, complete with recordings, mostly for the sake of his own self-satisfaction. They make him feel closer to God and as though he’s doing something worthwhile, and as a result of that, it does seem like his actions are as much ego as they are a desire to help others.
Could that change? Scripture teachers that such an act is possible, so for in the demented world of this show, maybe being branded by Sidney is ultimately the same thing. It gives the Reverend something to rally against, and a method to further prove himself. Beforehand, he did not have this mark weighing him down, representing him as the opposite of what he wants to be. While most of these stories are by our estimation fairly straightforward with “Outcast,” the writers do a wonderful job of carrying through on emotional weight and making you feel like these are people who legitimately feel pain and difficult mixtures of emotions.
What is also interesting about where the show is going at present is that they are slowly questioning Kyle’s abilities; to make another “Preacher” comparison, it is similar to when Jesse thought his powers were handed down from God. Maybe they’re something else entirely? It could in some part explain Kyle’s fears that not everyone is truly getting better, and based on the behavior of Mildred (who is now gone, and this saddens us greatly), we do question what else is going on here with the character.
If there’s one thing we do know about characters, and of stories with religious tinges these days, it is this: They are complicated. If something more is happening with Kyle, we sign off so long as it is both powerful and earned. This show has done a tremendous job crafting the narrative so far, so it’s instilled this confidence in us to play along with the doubt and wonder the why’s and how’s of it all. Until next week, when maybe we’ll be lucky enough to be blessed with an answer or two. Grade: B+.
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