Oftentimes when a show is cancelled, it’s hard to accept. Not always because the show deserves saving, but because you love it. You love the universe and the characters and you care about what happens, even if you can admit the story is no longer what it once was, or that the actors have clearly grown bored or unhappy.
Outsiders is not one of those shows. It’s the kind that gets cancelled and leaves you raging, because it is just such good television that you can’t imagine how anyone, anyone, could have let it go.
The season, and hopefully not series, finale proves just that.
From start to finish the tension grew and spread and never let up. We were left with … four? Five? Separate, astonishing cliffhangers, and the idea we may never get resolution for them is too much to bear.
Save Outsiders. Save Shay Mountain.
We open during a storm and little spirit of the mountain, Phoelia runs through wind blown woods and lightning. In a flash she sees Elon and the Wolves. She stares knowingly.
Hasil walks through the same storm to head home, spooked by the unusually bad weather.
In her cabin, Gwen sees Lady Ray, sitting and watching silently.
At a campfire somewhere on the Farrell camp, Big, Lil and the boys sit around talking about their plan to Blow Up Everything. A cousin asks if Gwen knows, and Big politely but completely puts her down, saying she’s a good, strong woman, but not who they need at this time. He stops their drinking and demands their clarity and attention because from now on, he’s The One.
He asks if they’re with him, as the lightning dramatically brightens the sky around him.
For possibly the last time (sob), the credits roll.
Wade has gone to see the lawyer dude/DA he asked to help out Lil. He explains his concerns about Haylie –- curiously he’s even thinking Haylie’s death was accidental, while someone tried to steal the water jars, and the staging of her suicide was responsive. I firmly believe Matt planned to kill, though Wade could be right.
The lawyer doesn’t even shoot down the theory, he actually thinks Wade is on to something, rather, explains the evidence right now is at best, circumstantial. Wade needs proof One Planet, or that Matt ordered the modified Agent Orange, or was in Haylie’s room (doesn’t the hotel have CCTV in the corridors?). He also needs to watch out for his family.
Wade follows Matt and sees him with Gordon. Later he visits with Ledda to get more information on Gordon, who lists some of the protests Gordon claimed he was present for. Wade heads off to the Google machine, and looks up Gordon’s real name, Timothy, and runs that through his cop databases and learns ‘Gordon’ is indeed wanted for aaaall the terrorism.
Up the hill, Lil visits with Gwen and tells her what Big is going to do. She won’t give her blessing and be a Bren’in for war time. Lil admits how he had hated her for a while, but he was wrong. He loves her fiercely, and begs her to come away. They’ll find a new mountain, and raise their little boy or girl. She confirms it’s a girl, and Lil weeps and weeps, and Ryan Hurst is breaking my heart into twenty million pieces. They both, clearly, think of the little girl they lost once before, and excuse me while I just lay on the floor for several hours and rage about (possibly) losing these two.
He begs her to give up the Oak, as it causes hurt for anyone who holds it. She strokes his face and says she can’t.
Wade goes to see Matt for one of his prodding sessions. He asks how Matt knows Gordon, catches Matt in the lie that he doesn’t, so Matt admits about the stolen dynamite. Wade flips out, pointing out how he’s the SHERIFF, and wasn’t informed about POSSIBLE TERRORISM IN HIS TOWN, FOR FUCK’S SAKE MATT.
Matt says ATF are involved and, oh, well if this wasn’t Ruby Ridge enough, that’s … I mean that’s it, right there, so …
Just as a side note, now we’ve mentioned other law enforcement agencies; shouldn’t there be US Marshals all over the place, looking for Lil?
Is Deputy US Marshal Tim Gutterson busy? Just asking the questions!.
Morning has come to the mountain, and Hasil goes to see Gwen. He confirms he won’t be staying, though he knew he needed to come back and help. She asks him to try to stop Big and Lil, so Hasil goes to meet his cousins. They’re a little frosty, until he points out the significant saving of their asses he did down during the raid, and they warmly welcome him back.
Big spots him and actually seems concerned Hasil’s bruised up from his fights, but at once recruits him to their job. Later, Hasil is in his Lostie clothes (no explanation for how he got the clothes he claimed he didn’t bring back with him) on a Lostie bike, a little off-roader you wouldn’t immediately assume was a Farrell vehicle.
He recons the mine they plan to hit, and sees two guys and a glimpse of a militarized vehicle, plus some mine equipment. To the audience, it might be more obvious what that militarized tank/Humvee looking thing is and means, but does Hasil know?
He heads back to the boys, and says there is indeed some shit happening at the mine. He mentions ‘military’ vehicles but I still don’t think he realises what the vehicle he saw could mean . So, he’s pretty on board with the plan.
Wade is spying on Gordon again, but Gordon has the drop and sneaks up on the car. Wade tells Gordon he’s being looked at over Haylie, as he’s the last person seen with her. Gordon doesn’t even hesitate to tell Wade nearly everything, and it becomes clear that for all his posturing last week, Gordon, in his own way, is trying to help the Farrell. He admits to the blackmailing; not that he helped steal the dynamite, and also that his malware in the One Planet networks is still active, and proves One Planet arranged the Agent Orange. His message is basically, ‘Let me do my thing and this will work out’ and … suddenly, I’m inclined to believe him. He leaves his RV, claiming it’s not his, but Gordon’s.
I keep wondering how much of these narratives were written for Asa, then spread out across different characters.
Hasil comes to Gwen and sheepishly admits Big and Lil might be on to something, and their plan should go ahead. She’s furious and disappointed, but there’s nothing she can do.
Wade is meeting with Matt and an ATF guy who apologises for keeping Wade out of the loop, and admits, yes, they have valuable intel that some domestic terrorism might be in the cards for Blackburg, and calls the Farrell ‘radicalised’.
Wade is like ‘………………………….’
GREAT cross-department work, dudes. Stellar. Wade has to shut down Matt’s narrative that the Farrell shot the guard in the store, pointing out the ballistics aren’t back yet. Matt is the fucking Donald Trump of middle-management, you guys.
At home, Wade sees Ledda’s phone, and sneakily gets Gordon’s number. He heads over to his techie guy, who is so gleefully willing to break every law, especially when the Sheriff is asking him to. He hacks Gordon’s number, and finds his GPS data (in today’s lesson, we learn how terrifyingly easy it is to be monitored, all the time). They find out where Gordon has been going.
Up the hill, Gwen overseas a Circle. She reminds them of Lady Ray’s legacy of peace and not becoming what they hate. She calls out Big’s plan and reminds them of the many, many dead Big has left in his wake, and how every one of his plans has cost them so dearly. She calls for his banishment, and there’s a general murmur of agreement from a good chunk of the crowd.
Big raises and takes the talking stick, and fires back that all that death happened under Gwen’s leadership … damn. I mean, he’s not wrong. It’s not her fault what he did, but it was her decision to let him stay. It was her decision, alone to let the Kinnah stay, and that went horribly; Big was against it from day one. He’s got her dead to rights, in some ways.
He explains the coal folks’ plan to blow up the South Ridge and come up after them, so instead, he’ll blow up the mine equipment and keep them safe. He makes a pretty inspiring point about how victors’ tell the stories, not those who sit and wait for their doom.
Krake stands and sides with Gwen. Another cousin sides with Big.
The mother of Tyse Farrell stands — the cousin that Wade ran over with his car when Tyse was out on a misguided mission with Big to steal guns. She says that when Gwen let Big stay, it was a mistake and made her angry. He’s a devil. But, now they need a devil. He deserves a chance.
Gwen asks the Elders to decide. Emily consults with the others and stands to say … they want to give Big a chance. If he fails, or more Farrell die, he is banished, forever. He can’t even return for his things.
Big promises he’ll do his best to bring everyone home, and accepts the decree. But, he warns, if he comes back … things will change. It appears to be only Gwen who sees this open, hostile threat for what is is.
Later they build their bombs and then, with the clan providing an honour guard of flaming torches, they roll out. It’s cool as hell; sorry, not sorry.
Wade is at home on his computer, and has figured out Gordon was visiting the old mine site that has become One Planet’s storage site for equipment. The siblings’ dad used to work there. Ledda foreshadows about the huge slurry pond near the mine site that never got cleaned up. Oooooh, guys.
Wade balks and runs for the door, telling her to stay here and keep the kids safe. She calls to him, and they share a long look and the unspoken ‘I love you brother, please come home’ resonates between them.
Show, I know you might be cancelled, but if you take these two from each other, I will burn everything to the ground. Every last thing.
In his car, Wade is tearing up the road to the mountain, just as the Farrell are arriving at the mine site. They split up to start planting their bombs. At the One Planet base, the ATF are alerted to strange activity inside the offices. They rush in to see Gordon’s malware savaging the computers, flashing insane images and cartoons on the screens, while his virus wreaks merry havoc on the network.
I can’t decide how to feel about Gordon. I hope he didn’t actually murder anyone because I’m coming around to the guy.
The Farrell spread out across the mine, caught by CCTV which alerts a small army of armed guards to tool up and race out to intercept.
Wade arrives on a ridge above the mine just in time to see the Farrell, out in the open as they cross the yard, caught in high intensity searchlights. Gunfire explodes the air as metal starts to fly, and Wade futilely shrieks at the Farrells to get out of there. A cousin is shot; another is blown up when his dynamite bag is shot.
One cousin runs into the light and tosses down his guns, throwing up his hands in total surrender and screaming he gives up, ‘Don’t shoot’. He’s shot in the face, with his empty hands in the air.
Big calls for a cowering Hasil to run to him so they can leave, but Hasil is shot. Big snatches up the smaller man, and with Phil’up shooting out the search lights, the remnants of the raid race back to where Lil is holding their hole in the fence open.
They gather around the mortally wounded Hasil as Wade arrives in the car. Big, in a panic, is ready to kill him, but Lil aggressively gets between them and drags Wade over to the bleeding Farrell. Wade doesn’t hesitate to pile Hasil into his car, promising he’ll fix Hasil without taking him to hospital, and warning the remaining Farrell to dump their bikes and take the route that runs by the slurry pond to escape. That moment, his five second suggestion, turns out to be what everything has been building towards. It is cosmically deigned.
Lil thanks him and they rush off. Wade stamps on the gas, and calls Ledda to get her nurse friend over to her house now; he’s got a dying kid in his car.
The. Fucking. Tension.
Big, Lil and Phil’up arrive at the pond, and Lil sways on his feet when he realises this is what he dreamt of. He knows it’s poisoned water, and he dreamt of it flooding out and drowning everyone.
They realise they’re meant to blow the dam and breech the slurry pond, and they quickly rig their explosives. Phil’up, the youngest and fastest, offers to stay behind to light the fuses, as they don’t know how much time they’ll have to escape. Big won’t let him. He’s ready to die for this. He sends them ahead and lights the fuses, then scrambles off as fast as his old legs can carry him.
The younger Farrell turn back to see him thrown to the ground by the explosion but as they race back to save him, the pond … is fine. The dam is fine. It’s failed. It’s all failed. Big sits stunned and tells the boys to go home, which he can no longer do … but then Phil’up sees something.
High above them on the main wall of the dam, stands Elon. They all see him. Big calls to him and tries to run to him, but Lil holds him back and says Elon was there in his dream, he’s meant to be here.
Elon walks out of sight behind the dam, and an ominous rumbling shakes the ground. The dam begins to breach, and as the Farrell rush to safety, it breaks and floods the valley, gallons and gallons, a roaring torrent of absolute destruction. Big breathes a thank you to his dead son. The water rushes towards the old mine site, and we see the armed guards clear out just in time for it all to be washed away. The mine, the equipment … the Farrell bodies, any trace of the explosives …
Oh my god. They’ve done it.
The next morning, Wade arrives to furious crowds of locals and press outside the station. Inside the news reports on the disaster, the worst of its kind in three decades. It’s leaked into the local river, poisoning the drinking water. There’s no evidence how it happened and despite reports of gunfire, the damage is so severe, nothing will ever be proven.
One body was found, one confirmed death. A child. A little boy. The news camera settles on the face of the damp, drowned, bedraggled little corpse. Somehow, some way … it’s Elon. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?
Matt calls Wade to his office. Matt must have been sitting on this for weeks, waiting to use it. He has that fucking map; the one Wade left his fingerprints all over before he gave it to Big, who dropped it at the prison break. Wade is suspended, and should think about getting a lawyer.
In a bar somewhere, Gordon drops a USB memory stick into an envelope addressed to Wade, and drops that in a mailbox, then disappears on a motorcycle.
At Ledda’s house they watch the news on the disaster, and while they accept it’s tragic, both are seeing the silver lining that the mine may likely never be built. It goes unspoken but I’m pretty sure the town will get an influx of cash, right? They get FEMA money. The mine is surely dead, but the town might be saved, anyway.
The nurse tends to Hasil, and reports he needs to go to the hospital. She organises it while Ledda holds Hasil’s hand and prays.
Gwen has called a second Circle, and furiously addresses the clan about the havoc Big has wrought, and the three more dead Farrell whose blood is on his hands. She calls for total banishment, but there’s a lot of pushback, more than she or I expected. Big admits he failed, that he got boys killed despite his promises. He says he thought he’d never see this mountain again, until he saw Elon on the dam. The clan rustles, and Big remarks how the old prophecy turned out right. One who would return would save them. And, it was never Asa, or Lil, or anyone else. It was Elon.
Clever, clever, clever show.
Phil’up backs him, and says he and Lil saw Elon, too. Big says Gwen only got the Oak because of his presumed death, and it’s time that was corrected. Again, the crowd is pretty much evenly split in their feelings about this. Gwen refuses, and Big advances, demanding the Oak. Gwen points out that only she can decide who to give the Oak to, but Big won’t back down. The crowd grows rowdy, and they start to push and shove each other, as Big forces through them towards Gwen. Cornered, she turns and decrees is giving up the Oak and passing it to the only one fit to lead them. FUCKING. FINALLY. She declares Lil Foster Farrell as the Bren’in. Big shrieks, the crowd explodes, and a brawl breaks out in the time it takes her to drop the Oak to the floor, as Lil just stares, aghast. The Elders drag Gwen back to shield her from harm.
Gwen screams for peace, and then screams in what looks like labour pain, clutching her belly. The brawl is growing out of control as Lil scoops up the Oak and declares it their ruin, and snaps it over his leg. Big howls, the Farrell tear at each other and outside, alone in the peace and quiet little Phoelia watches and cries as her family tears itself to pieces.
And on that, on THAT … we’re done.
https://www.change.org/p/paula-askanas-outsiders-shay-must-stay If you want to save Outsiders, sign this petition, and use your social media to talk about it constantly. The show has had solid ratings for its first two seasons and has an army of dedicated fans.
As the petition states, this show is socially relevant today, in a way no other show is trying to be. It deserves more time.
Coming soon, Oohlo will be recapping season 1, while we wait for the news that Shay Mountain has, at last, been saved.