Outsiders Season 1 Retrospective: ‘Rubberneck’

Last week! Gwen and Asa probably did do it after all, Big is evil and … you get it.

We’re a drone flying over the Farrell camp, spying like the shady bastards we are, before some half feral badass little Farrell kid knocks us of the sky with a slingshot. Hell yeah!

The boy’s father rushes to see Gwen, who tends to Lady Ray. Gwen is worried her final treatment for the Bren’in won’t work, and promises to make the old woman comfortable if that’s all she can do.

She and the cousin take the shot-down drone to resident Lostie expert, Asa, who identifies it as One Planet property. He figures it’s for recon, then the angry cousin suggests it’s Big’s theft of the backhoe that has brought the trouble.

Speaking of the big, dumb idiot, Big is reclining in his stolen backhoe, observing his treasure haul of machine parts and pieces like it’s a trove of hoarded gold. This ass. Asa blithely points out that some damaged machines won’t stop the coal folks. At least not these machines, as obviously in season 2, their entire last stand plan revolves around destroying millions of dollars in large earth moving equipment. See how much better it would have been if Asa had stuck around and that had been his plan for he, Big and Lil? How nice and full circle that would have been? Damn it all to hell!

Big preens and swears to keep stealing stuff, so Asa shows the drone. Asa explains that proof the Farrell stole shit will give cops the rights to come up and start dragging people down. Gwen suggests not poking the bear, and Big alludes to knowing she and Asa got intimate.

Asa is told he can’t have any ‘pickings’ of the … largely useless scraps. Um, okay? Big asks how Asa is intending to stop the coal folks, and Asa throws a nice jab at Big’s lack of intellect in demurring to explain.

Down the hill, Haylie and Wade are having their first proper meeting, as she shows him photos on her phone of what was left of the logging equipment. Wade asks if she’s sure it was Farrell, and she says the film doesn’t lie. See! See how full circle stuff like this came in season 2! Why’d you do it Joe?? Why did you leave us?

Wade asks for the right forms to file a report from a secretary who either can’t or won’t hear him. You can sort of see her posture saying, ‘Are your legs broken?’ I love her.

Haylie is digging to learn how far the investigation will go and they have a nice little verbal spar, as she figures out the answer is ‘As far as Wade’s filing cabinet’. Then she notices his junky sweats and asks if he’s ‘unwell’, but … you know, she knows, obviously.

Not pictured ‘shit being kept together’

She Southern Charms all over him as we watch the calculation behind her eyes now she knows she has his kryptonite, and she leaves without even filling in a report. Wade … yeah, he’s obviously tense. He’s always tense.

Breece’s truck is dead, so Ledda drops him outside the One Planet offices where all the ex coal miners wait to see if there will be any work for the day. The boss comes out to send them home, and Breece learns about the Farrell interference. See, Big? You dumb shit. This is the start of the sad, sad story of Breece.

Breece is basically begging the manager for work, offering to wash cars if he has to. This really does suck. These towns, and they are very real places, the whole town was based around, and industry that doesn’t exist any more … it’s heartbreaking. These people need, deserve work and security. But, One Planet is not going to give them any of that. Not honestly and not what they deserve. Poor Breece. The manager stirs up Breece’s generally anti-Wade vibe, and sends him off to stew and simmer.

Up the hill, Big comes to see Lil about Lil’s … tributes, gifts, whatever you call them. Big is pleased with the gun, even when he learns it’s the one that killed Elon. Big asks if Lil did this for him, and Lil says ‘On behalf of my brother’. Now, to me, he means, I did it for Elon and only Elon. But, I think Big takes it as ‘I did it for you on his behalf’. Either way, he forgives and hugs his son, then digs the knife right back in by planting the seed of doubt about Asa and Gwen and leaning on Lil’s grief over his and Gwen’s dead child. Ass. Hole.He leaves smiling and smug while Lil tries not to just sink into the earth and be done with life because fucking Big.

Asa is down in town, and heads to see Donnie, the IT guy that Wade visits in season 2. Donnie asks who Asa’s daddy is, and for some reason Joe’s reading on ‘… why?!’ cracks me up. He claims he’s not a local, and asks for Donnie’s help with the drone, lying badly that it crashed. Donnie chews him out about the lie, so Asa just drops his surname into the conversation and explains they’re being spied on. Donnie agrees to their right to privacy and offers to help, but wants paying. He can fix the drone, extract the video, and supply a new controller. He wants Farrell Wine in return. Asa’s grits, but he agrees and like that, a new friend for the Farrell is made.

Credits! That was 13 minutes long. Dang.

Breece angrily plays video games when Ledda brings the kids home. He rants about Wade, at first oblivious Caleb is there. Caleb seems likewise unaware what he said, though. Caleb remains blissfully oblivious to everything. Ledda has to head back to the church for work. She finds Asa there, and is suitably spooked/attracted because … he’s crazy but he’s fine as hell.

He’s as non-threatening as he can be considering he is Asa Farrell and she makes them coffee and Asa is just making friends all over the place today.

She talks about her love for the mountain and how beautiful it is, and then asks if Asa knows what a website is. He does, and he’s cute about how he tells her, and he was DEFINTELY going to be her hook up in season 2. She has an entire website set up to save the mountain because Ledda is wonderful. They talk about how little the Farrell trust townspeople, but he won’t say if he does or not. Asa fishes for information on the coal people and gets a few names, including a local man who is in with the coal folk, Ned Osbourne. Asa asks for more coffee so he can borrow Ledda’s laptop, because Asa is about to fuck some shit right up.

Haylie has slithered her scary way over to see the Sheriff, and talks up starting up an outreach organisation. Sheriff Hands-Off throws Wade at her, and Haylie delivers her venomous bite, alluding to Wade’s ‘stress’ and asking if he has back problems.

Then because Haylie remains the Queen of Not A Single Given Damn, she just outright says Wade has an oxy problem right there in the corridor with people passing by. For the only time in his otherwise useless existence on the show,  the Sheriff grows a spine and in so many words, tells Haylie where to go. She never drops her smile as she Southern Charms her way out of the door.

Oooooooh she’s so ruthless.

Up the mountain, Lady Ray has woken from her coma, as Gwen’s last treatment has worked. We learn 13 days have passed that she’s been comatose which … realllllly? Mkay.

She asks for Big, and Gwen rushes off to find him, and Big just about manages to act pleased about it. He bides for time to send Gwen away and as soon she’s gone, he rushes into the woods to panic. HAAAA!

After having so well defended Wade earlier, Sheriff On-A-Roll finds Wade at the local bar, and actually throws him into a wall before dressing him all the way down. Wade is barely conscious and Sheriff lays it on the line, delivering a few kicks to the leg to punctuate his order that Wade get his goddamn shit together, and join the Sheriff in investigating the backhoe theft. After that, he’s probably fired.Wade is too half cut to even respond, and is left laying on the floor of a dirty old bar.

Daaaaaaaamn.

Up the hill, the clan celebrate Lady Ray’s recovery. Everyone except Big, who is playing PR games already, and laying the ground for her ‘spouting nonsense’. He’s afraid she’ll out him and is ready to go to war. Lady Ray finally sees Big, and calls for silence so she can address them.

To the surprise of absolutely fucking everyone, Lady Ray warmly calls ‘My boy! My son!’. Big approaches for a hug, and it’s like watching lions try to get the measure of each other. They act loving and family-like. She asks what she said before she passed out, and he lies she was talking smack about Asa, ‘That demon boy’. Big, you don’t know the half of it. They bare their teeth at each other in what other people might think of as smiles, if those other people have never seen what a shark looks like before it bites a baby seal in half.

If you see this, you are in trouble.

Lady Ray blesses family and the party continues. Lil is glowering at Gwen and storms off, Lady Ray asks Gwen after ‘Her’ Asa. Gwen is hilariously like, ‘Who? Asa? What? I don’t even … who?’, and Lady Ray is like ‘Yeah bring your new lovah to me when he’s around’.

At dawn, Big is passed out after his drunk, and Asa is back from town. Lil sasses him some, and cousin Deborah pines after him, but Asa has to gently claim he’s tired. Lil watches Gwen watch Asa, trying to pretend like she doesn’t care.

Asa finds Hasil inside the Barn Bar, and wants to know about the wine stealing and selling. Hasil’s only regret is stealing two bottles at a time, when one wouldn’t have been missed as quickly. Heeee. Asa is just as canny as Haylie at sniffing out people’s kryptonite, and zeroes in on how badly Hasil wants to learn to read Sally-Anne’s name. Asa tips out sugar and writes out Sally-Anne for Hasil in the grains. Now they’re good friends, Asa pointedly asks about the second jug of Farrell wine, and Hasil grins a devilish grin.

Down in town, Asa returns Ledda’s laptop and drops off Donnie’s jug of wine, because Asa is crazy but he’s not a bad guy. Over at One Planet, Haylie predators over to Breece and sinks her fangs in, in the best worst way; giving him a well paying job. God, she’s good.

The Sheriff, Deputy Nice But Dim, and Wade are making their slow-ass way up the hill. Wade is jonesing, and just wildly out of shape and looks like he’s dying. The Sheriff is uncharacteristically animated, ranting about blowjobs and asking where to find someone to give him one. Um … okay.

Nearby, Phoelia, Spirit of the Mountain, watches their pathetic ascent.

Breece goes home in a new beautiful truck, and is glowing with happiness and promising he stops being a miserable dick right now. Ledda is smiling but it’s clear she’s a little suspicious. He’s been made a community liaison manager and he’s SO pleased. Haylie, you are … so evil. But also, not because you gave him a job. You know what I mean.

Ledda’s suspicion lingers long enough to burst his bubble a bit; they quickly reconcile, even though it’s clear she’s still concerned.

Up the hill, Lil follows Gwen, but she’s onto him and surprises him. He asks her to get married and off her defensive ‘Why?’ he asks if she slept with Asa. Gwen says that if anyone is getting anything here it’s Lil, whose head is being filled with poison by Big. She’s not wrong. Lil says they’ll prove Big wrong if they get married. Great reasons!

Gwen reacts about as well to that as you’d expect, and storms off, as well she should. Lil was such a young man, a boy, in season 1.

Big sees an energetic Lady Ray, out of her wheelchair, and working outside her house. He goes over to visit her, and she raves about how much stronger she feels than ever before, newly energised and definitely, absolutely never ever going to slow down or die. She’s grinning again, even while she stabs and twists at his very being and it seems like Big does think the change in her is real, as he smiles and tries not to cry out of pure frustration.

It’s so, so satisfying to watch.

She shows him his vegetable garden, so that when they’re hunched down and can’t be overheard she can drop the Smiling Grandma act, and calmly tells him she knows what he did, and she’d have killed him if he wasn’t her boy. He stutters, and she shuts him down and says she’ll call a Circle in a heartbeat if she wants.

He stutters some more and blames Elon’s death (because he’s a terrible garbage person), and Lady Ray is having none of that at all.

She reminds him that it’s only tradition that says he’s next Bren’in, but the Oak can be given to anyone. She has him by the balls, and makes sure he knows. One more fuck-up and he’s out. She heavily reminds him the eyes of the Clan are on him, so he’d best be fit. And, she does love him.

He walks off, the weight of the universe crushing him down and to her ever-present, silent lady-in-waiting, Lady Ray orders she never be left alone with him again.

Just … such a great scene.

On their sad, tragic hike up the hill, the Sheriff wants to fire his gun because he never actually has before. Wade still looks like he’s dying, but now he also looks like he just wants to die, because the Sheriff is such a goober.

Deputy Nice and Maybe Not So Dim points out they’ve been through this part of the woods already, and Wade wants to turn back and try again the next day. This is a valid suggestion, but the Sheriff  rants at him again, some more and then he walks foot-first and his entire damned head second into a couple of bear traps.

The Sheriff is dead. Long live The Sheriff.

Later on, the Deputy asks Wade wait while the Sheriff’s remains are loaded up into a van and the need to call the family. Wade looks like hell, and it’s safe to say it’s not just because of what happened. Deputy Smarter-Than-He-Looks tells Wade to take the Sheriff’s SUV back. After all, it’s his now. Barely waiting for the other cars to leave, Wade tries to shake out what must be his last pill but he drops it to the ground. He winds up on his hands and knees digging under the SUV, trying to find his pill. Oh, Wade.

Big goes to find Lil, and calls him over. He admits his faults as a man, and that he’s been cruel to Lil. He calls Lil his best son and says he always was. Which is a dickish thing to do and say for so many reasons. Lil beams for half a second regardless, because is a damaged, broken child, and I hate Big Foster so much. Big ‘apologises’ for the next part, handing Lil the rabbit foot necklace Asa’s mother wears, claiming he found it in her greenhouse. I’m nearly certain Asa’s been wearing that thing this whole episode but okay.

Lil heads off to rampage all over Asa’s face and does exactly that ,while Big looks on and grins.

‘Please stop hitting me’

Asa does what he can to defend himself but Lil is approximately 12 feet tall. He beats Asa to the ground, then drags him back up to see how genuinely … not just afraid, but arguably sorry Asa looks. Under all the blood, of course. He lets Asa fall back to the ground.

Later, the clan punching bag cleans himself up, and Gwen comes to call him to Lady Ray. Asa literally just says ‘All right’ but Gwen has other stuff to say, including that they can’t be together again and also, Lil is better than Asa in every way.

Asa asks if she loves Lil, and Gwen says yes. Then they end up making out again.

These two, I swear.

Ned Osbourne, the sellout local guy, goes home to find Asa’s drone on his doorstep with a note saying ‘Watch me’. Oooh Asa!

Gwen goes to see Lil and accepts his proposal. The light behind his eyes breaks my heart, even though he doesn’t let his face react.

Asa goes to see Lady Ray, and she’s concerned Big is the one who bruised up his face. Interesting. As is the bunny she pets in this scene, because there is some olde magic afoot.

He sits and she talks about how different human beings can be from each other, as different as a bird to a deer. She says ‘We all grow old and maybe wise, but our being stays the same’, and talks about how the first time Big went hunting with his father, he cried. He didn’t want to hurt the buck. Now, all Big sees is the kill and nothing more. She doesn’t know what’s wrong with Big, and worries he’ll have nowhere to go if she banishes him. He’s her son, and her will to reckon.

As she speaks, We cut to Ned Osbourne playing Asa’s drone video. He has Ned’s son smoking pot; Ned watching what might be gay porn while his wife goes to bed alone.

Lady Ray tells us the prophecy says one will save, and one will destroy. One good and one evil. And she believes in those words, that Asa has gone away and come back for a reason. He is the only one who can save them, and she is very old. She asks if she’s wrong … or does she see a future before her?

And with that outstanding scene, we end for the week. I loved Joe and Phyllis Somerville together. I always felt like Asa and Lady Ray had an understanding of each other that no one else could really touch, beyond her strong faith, he could help them. I think she understood why he left and what that means for his coming back. Not the specific events that triggered his decisions, but the need in him.

And frankly, next to perhaps, Lil, Asa was the best choice for Bren’in. He’s a little crazy but he’s the kind that would have been tempered by responsibility.

This week we also saw Wade finally gain the Sheriffhood he’s damned near made a career of trying to avoid. This is when his real downward spiral finally begins, and it’s a rocky road ahead before there’s even a glimmer of hope to be seen. Brace yourselves. This gets grim.

And finally, Big. It’s fun to look back on what a scheming, Iago-esque little stirrer he was, but more interesting that he never actually tried it with Gwen. She just saw it all the time, but the impact was so lasting that it blinded her to his very valid concerns about the Kinnah in season 2. It just emphasises how toxic he was. Everything was contaminated, even if he didn’t touch it himself.

Ged Ged Yah!

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan is really terrible at the ‘About You’ part of life.
Nadine developed her reviewer skills writing epic facebook rants about the details script supervisors forget and trying to explain why Carol on The Walking Dead broke Lizzie by accident.

Nadine loves TV, film and books but she wishes someone would pay her to be the continuity editor.

She can be found on Facebook and in her forest garden and if she’s not yelling at her TV she’s trying to convince a cat to be an Instagram model and refusing to let 90’s fashion die.

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