NOTE: This review contain mild spoilers
‘A Darkness Surrounds Him’ works as an introduction to the series through the case of young Joshua (Gabriel Bateman), who has been possessed by a demon. From this early stage in the season, it’s a very good sign that the person who being possessed manages to be the main focus of our attention. The reason why is because Outcast does what it’s expected from a horror show and doesn’t shy away from showing disturbing images. As a matter of fact, Joshua’s uncontrollable rage and freaky behavior contrast perfectly with the overall quiet and insipid state of the city. This anhedonia is reinforced by our main character, Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), an asocial, schizoid man who craves isolation. Lucky (or not) for Kyle, his adoptive sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) is always by his side to take care of him and make sure he eats well, even if her husband doesn’t quite approve of him. As it should be, we are still in the dark when it comes to the full details of Kyle’s backstory, but we are already given some information through disturbing flashbacks and enigmatic conversations.
This information helps us realize that Kyle’s past is why he takes an interest in Joshua’s situation. As it turns out, Outcast‘s underlying themes are also quite dark: child abuse, PTSD or self-blaming are things that define Kyle’s attitude, as well as the reasons why he blames himself for the events in his childhood. They’re also the reason why he makes the decision to fight the demons possessing people in this town. And, if the last minutes of the episodes are anything to go by, it seems like Outcast is going to be an episodic type of series.
All in all, ‘A Darkness Surrounds Him’ manages to grasp our attention from the very first minutes and, while the rest of the episode was a bit slow, it did a great job at setting the uneasy, off-putting atmosphere that is expected from an drama-horror story.