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Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: The Bad-Ass-Women of Outcast, 109, “Close to Home,” Recap & Review

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We’ve known from the start of the season that the women in Cinemax’s horror show Outcast, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta, were some pretty fierce, bad-ass women. Not just when they’re possessed by demons, either. Sure, some of the girls get a little more feisty when they’re taken over by demons. Kyle’s mother and Mildred come to mind. Given how strong and tough all the women are, even when they are not controlled by demons, I’m guessing Kyle’s mother and Mildred were already strong: the demons just made them tougher, and, okay, a bit more violent. This week’s episode, “Close to Home,” showed protagonist Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit, below) and the viewers just how close to him the demons are.

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Last week, episode 108, “What Lurks Within,” revealed that when the human host fights the demon, the demon has a more difficult time staying in control. Witness the camper in the woods: Chief Giles (Reg E Cathey, below R) has been investigating the site all season as a murder scene, only to have his friend Ogden reveal that he and his wife Kat have been helping demons get control of their often-violent hosts. Hence, all the blood and guts and eviscerated animals mounted to trees.

imagesWe haven’t witnessed Kat being violent, but she’s obviously tough: how else would she convince her husband to help her — when she’s already demon-controlled — give aid and sustenance to other demons trying to conquer their human hosts? Ogden’s wife Kat (Debra Christofferson, below) has seemed just fine to everyone else in Rome, while, in fact, she’s been facilitating the possession of fellow citizens.

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In another surprise Reveal last week, Ogden (Pete Burris, below) told that he actually prefers Demon-Kat to his own wife. He prefers Demon-Kat so much that after Sidney gave her a “job” in episode 9 — a job which will prevent her from leaving Rome, as husband Ogden wished — she persuaded Ogden to stay with her in Rome, telling him there’s no “us” if she doesn’t do what Sidney’s instructed her to do. In a warehouse basement full of creepity-creepy mannequins, as Ogden expressed reluctance to stay in Rome, Kat took the matter into her own hands, literally and figuratively, by getting down-and-dirty with hubby. The woman knows what she wants, and she knows how to get it. At least from hubby Ogden. Yes, Kat’s bad. She’s so bad that, contrary to most folks’ expectations, Ogden thinks she’s very, very fine.

There are plenty of other bad-ass women in Rome, though some of them get badder after demon possession. In previous episodes, while Mildred’s daughter Sophie complained that Mildred (Grace Zabriskie, below) had changed over the last several months, and that Sophie no longer liked the woman her mother had become, Reverend Anderson thought Mildred was just the same as she’d always been. After the exorcism, of course. As he pointed out to Kyle, Mildred has been in church at his service every week for the past two years and The Rev is pretty dang sure he would have known if Mildred were still possessed.

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Demon-Mildred is such a bad-ass, that she caught Kyle completely off-guard when she came to his home, cold-cocked him with her walking cane, straddled him on the floor, and tried to “steal” his energy or life-force or whatever it was she was trying to steal by doing some weird air-kiss. She was only prevented from finishing Kyle off by Sidney’s arrival. Sidney yanked Mildred away from Kyle. It was apparent afterward, from the way she kept trying to convince Sidney that Kyle was fine, that Sidney is a superior demon of some sort — if not the Devil himself, as The Rev suspects — and that Demon-Mildred had stepped out of line. She paid for her disobedience with her life: Kyle later found her dead in her home. The women of Rome may be tough, they may be demon-possessed, but they still have rules and orders to follow. Bad-asses can only be so bad, apparently, and then they have to pay for their mischief.

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The Rev (Philip Glenister, above L) discovered, in episode 9, that Patricia (Melinda McGraw, above R) is much tougher and more bad-ass than she seems. Because she has been chasing after him, basically, and because she wasn’t up to helping him exorcise Caleb, The Rev may have gotten the idea that Patricia was a pushover. Despite the obvious conflict and discord between her and her son Aaron (CJ Hoff, below), Patricia chose Aaron over The Rev, whom she’d asked to move in with her after he lost his job and his home.

The Rev got upset with Aaron because he’s been hanging with Sidney (Brent Spiner, below).

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The Rev foolishly thought that Aaron didn’t realize that Sidney is the Devil. Aaron knows. In fact, he’s been doing things to help Sidney, albeit without Sidney’s foreknowledge or approval. After Aaron saw Sidney carve the pentagram into The Rev’s chest, Aaron told Chief Giles that The Rev did it to himself.

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When The Rev went after Aaron in Patricia’s home, which is also, technically, still Aaron’s home for about 6 more months (he’s counting down to his 18th birthday, when he can leave and be legally on his own), Patricia got her bad-ass on and ordered The Rev to leave. Permanently. The Rev was kind of surprised. Apparently, he thought that Patricia would choose him over her delinquent son. Given a choice between a relationship with The Rev and one with the wayward Aaron, Patricia showed herself to have a spine of steel and a mother’s love to die for: she chose her son, even though he doesn’t like her very much. Patricia may have seemed whiny and clingy and weak, but when forced to choose between the new love in her life and her own son, she proved herself the bad-ass that most of the women in Rome have shown themselves to be, with or without demons.

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Kyle’s wife Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil), though she’s been a minor character all season, is another one of the tough, bad-ass women of Outcast. After she recovered her memory of the night Kyle “attacked her,” she remembered that she had been choking their daughter Amber. That means that, instead of being an abusive husband who assaulted Allison for some unknown reason, Kyle had been protecting Amber by fighting off Allison. Kyle  thinks Allison was demon-possessed. Amber agrees, insisting that someting was in Mommy. Allison thinks she’s just losing her mind. After making love with Kyle in an earlier episode, Allison left Amber with Kyle and disappeared.

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Kyle found Allison last night. In a mental hospital. He tried to persuade her to come home, but she wouldn’t listen. She’s convinced that she’s a danger to Amber — and she obviously is — but whether she’s a danger because she’s losing her mind or because she’s demon-possessed is not clear. Kyle thought he’d exorcised the demon during their battle on Assualt-Night. Allison has still not been acting like herself, however, though Kyle may not know this (it’s only been shown to viewers and to Amber). Is the demon still in Allison? We don’t know. We do know that Allison is one tough lady, and when it comes to protecting her daughter, and her ex-husband Kyle, she’ll even lock herself up in an asylum to do it.

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Without a doubt, the most bad-ass woman in Outcast is Kyle’s sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt), who, despite a few “cracks” in her tough-woman armor, is the baddest of them all. She’s been violated by childhood rapist Donnie, who returned and tormented her, then blackmailed her after Megan’s husband Mark (David Denman, below L) assaulted Donnie. Megan’s been depressed since Donnie came back to town and taunted her, since she pawned her ring and robbed the savings account to pay off blackmailer-rapist Donnie, since Donnie filed assault charges despite receiving money, since Mark lost his job for assaulting Donnie, and, as viewers learned in episode 9, since she learned that she is pregnant.

Mark, good-guy that he is, was much more delighted and optimistic than Megan at the news of her pregnancy. She was talking about the expenses — clothes, food, diapers, doctor visits, etc — which seemed insurmountable now that Mark has lost his job, and Mark was just being the Happy-and-Totally-Supportive-Hubby.

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Mark managed to convince Megan that her being pregnant again, after all these years, was a good thing, though completely unplanned. Megan seemed fine with that. After all, she is Woman, hear her roar. This is the woman who takes care not only of their daughter Holly, but of Kyle’s daughter Amber whenever Kyle needs Megan to sit for him. This is the woman who watches out for Kyle, going to his home and forcing him to come to the grocery with her, or taking lunch to his worksite just because she loves Kyle. This is the woman who is protective toward Kyle’s ex-wife Allison, going to see how she is when Kyle is concerned about Allison’s mental health,  trying to intervene for Kyle with Allison, then telling Kyle that Allison is fragile and that he needs to leave her alone. And she does all of these nurturing, caring things on top of being a full-time teacher. Megan is a tough, strong survivor. She’s one bad-ass woman who fights for herself and for the people around her. She’s the baddest of the bad-ass women in Outcast. 

And she got even more bad-ass in “Close to Home.”

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Megan was taking a shower and suddenly started convulsing as if someone had flushed a toilet somewhere in the house, causing all the water to turn fiery hot. She jumped out of the tub, and seemed to have a difficult time walking. It was like the room was moving under her feet. As she stared at herself in the mirror, she seemed not to recognize her reflection. When Mark rushed into the bathroom, concerned for her, she grabbed him and slammed his head into the mirror.

Viewers, no doubt, collectively gasped at one of the most graphically violent scenes of the season.

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Then, as Mark lay bleeding out on the bathroom floor, Megan pulled a wicked shard of broken mirror out of his neck. Was she confused about what she’d just done? Was the demon just interested in looking at himself in the piece of mirror? Or was the demon chanting, Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who’s the baddest of them all?

It’s not clear yet why Demon-Megan was so fascinated with the mirror-shard.

It’s clear, though, that the most bad-ass woman on Outcast just got scary-bad-ass.

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