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The Outsider Episode 4 Recap

BY Shannon Entin

Published 2 years ago

The Outsider episode 4 starts to paint the picture of a “murder virus.” As the investigation continues, Ralph and Holly each explore one end of the virus’s transmission.

The actors continue to knock it out of the park. This episode focused mostly on three characters: Holly, Ralph, and Jack. Let’s break it down.

Holly Has a Bathtub Revelation

Holly is hot on the tail of Angela, the nurse who worked at the Senior Center but foiled Holly’s attempts to access Terry Maitland’s father, Peter. Holly follows her from work, which results in Angela pepper spraying her. Ultimately, Angela agrees to talk with Holly and we learn more about Heath.

Heath, you will recall, is the nurse from the Senior Center who slit his throat in jail in episode 3. He was in jail for murdering two young girls, and we find out that the circumstances around that murder were just like the ones surrounding Terry.

Heath was on vacation for a week, visiting his mother. But he shows up for work one day in the middle of his week off, and Angela admits he was acting oddly. A janitor remembers seeing Heath bump into Terry… and this is where Terry got the “cut” on his wrist.

Holly meets with the mall security guy, Andy. She asks him to help her get some info from the police department on Heath’s case. He asks her to have dinner with him.

Andy reveals that Heath allegedly killed the two girls the same week he was visiting his mother. Heath’s mother insists he never left her side. And we find out that Heath’s mom and brother subsequently commit suicide. In addition, the mom and grandfather of the two girls also died. Andy makes the statement that “it was like the plague.” Indeed.

And let’s not forget how Holly kisses Andy abruptly after their “date.” I absolutely love when an extremely heavy show like this can effectively inject moments of subtle humor.

Next Holly goes to see Terry’s dad Peter. He rambles on nonsensically when Holly asks him questions about Heath, but then says, “It wasn’t him, you know… He really did fool all of you, didn’t he?” Does Peter know the monster/virus spreader?

Holly digs in deeper to Heath’s case. She finds out he was in New York City back in February (a month or so before his alleged killings) and crossed paths with a woman who was charged in another child-killer case.

Cynthia Erivo as Holly in The Outsider on HBO.

Holly goes to see Maria Canales at Rikers where she’s awaiting trial. Maria’s story is familiar – damning evidence that she killed a boy, yet video evidence that she was elsewhere at the time of the murder.

Holly asks Maria if she knows Heath. Maria says Heath kept asking her for a date at the bar, but she blew him off. We see Heath’s memory of them having sex and she scratches/cuts his back. So we know that it was Maria’s “doppleganger” who had sex with Heath and passed on the “murder virus.”

While Holly is talking to Maria in prison, a woman overhears them and passes Holly a note. Holly goes to her apartment and they have a discussion about El Coco – the boogeyman who shows up in nearly every culture in some form to scare children into behaving properly. The title of The Outsider episode 4 is “Que Viene El Coco” – the name of a painting of a hooded figure who is a child-eater.

Finally, we see Holly doing internet research on El Coco. This is a common scene we see all the time in investigative shows, but the way they filmed it was especially tense. Holly’s taking a bath, chair pulled up next to the tub with her laptop on it. The feeling is cold, empty, dark, and creepy. I was shivering for her and half expected that El Coco to pop up out of her bathwater! Combined with the excellent music, this scene was a fantastic end. I had to go watch something a little “happier” to get rid of that feeling of impending doom.

Ralph Gets the Picture

Meanwhile, the townsfolk of Cherokee are not treating Glory & the Maitland girls very kindly. Even though Terry was never convicted, the town has condemned him. Glory has to pull the kids out of school and she is harassed by reporters posing as homeschool tutors. While trying to enjoy dinner at a restaurant, she’s threatened by a local man.

Ralph feels guilty for all of this and is desperately trying to find an explanation that will exonerate Terry. After getting an update from Holly, he goes back to the security footage of Terry in the hours after the murder. He watches again and again and finally catches a glimpse of what seems to be Terry scratching the strip club owner on the wrist.

Clearly, Mr. Strip Club Owner is one to watch next.

The young boy who had stolen the white van in Ohio also comes to visit Ralph and tells him he DID see who took the van, but he was too afraid to tell anyone. He drew a picture of the man… or is it really a man?

Ralph holding up monster drawing in The Outsider TV show.

Jack of All Trades

And then we have Jack. WTH is up with Jack??

Jack shoots a deer and drags it to a spot in the woods. Then he goes to a Walmart-type store, buys tons of random stuff, and dumps it all in the woods with the deer, which is now all bloody and ripped up.

Jack’s neck is still all red and swollen and blistery and he’s acting distant and unfocused at work. His actions don’t seem to fit at all with the emerging pattern of a creature or virus that transforms into a doppelganger and commits murder. So I’m still stuck on: WTH is up with Jack?

Marc Menchaca as Jack in The Outsider.

What We Learned in The Outsider Episode 4

We learned that there are now at least three cases of doppelganger murder, and that the virus/creature seems to be spreading/transmitting via blood/cuts.

But more and more we are seeing that The Outsider is really about the far-reaching consequences of grief. It has me thinking… What would the world be like if every crime had irrefutable evidence of guilt?

As the woman talks to Holly about “El Coco,” she describes the creature as a “Grief Eater.” It craves the pain and the suffering left behind. She says that if the children are its meal, the grief is its dessert.

So what is the Grief Eater? A monster? A devil? What are your thoughts?

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