HBO must’ve got spooked by Superbowl Sunday so they’ve dropped the fifth episode early and throughout this, we’re gonna be going through the new entry and what happens in it.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you don’t want anything potentially ruined then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
Now let’s get into our breakdown of The Outsider.
The Outsider Episode 5 Recap
Episode 5 opens in the midst of a shootout between a lone gunman and the police. Similar to Jack, we can see on the back of his neck that he has a huge rash.
We cut to the character three days prior and see him holed up in a home that has child killer written in graffiti on the outside. It turns out that this is Heath Hofsteader’s household, the apparently child killer who we saw die in prison in Episode 3. We see him making Heath’s bed as an apology to the character. It’s an act of remorse to cover up what he did.
It’s revealed that he was working with The Outsider, was complicit in killing the children and helped to frame Heath for the crimes after his airtight alibi. The Outsider needs an accomplice in order to operate and this was his at the previous town.
As we know the Outsider is manipulating Jack currently and completely warping his mind by tormenting him. This has sent him off the deep end and he’s started slowly descending into madness.
If you’ve been keeping up to date with the recaps so far then you’ll know that we’ve discussed how The Outsider is similar to a vampire and in Jack he has found his Jonathan Harker.
In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Harker ended up falling under a sort of spell from the titular character and this servitude that he fell into saw him eating bugs and almost worshipping Dracula as a diety.
Here we see Jack following a similar sort of routine and building a home for the character in the woods. Like Harker, he sort of turns against his master but the way he operates gives us a good idea of how The Outsider does too.
Because of this we now have a pattern of behavior for the antagonist of the show and from the way that the outsider operates we can tell it tends to show up to a town, take blood from a local, through this blood change it’s DNA to match their appearance, feed upon a child, frame the person that they’re with and then lie low in the area feeding upon the grief of the families that are caught up in the tragedy.
Clearly the creature needs someone in order to help it gain supplies, build a nest and operate at it’s current location and Jack has very much taken on this position in Flint City.
The Outsider Is Jack
However, we do also get one theory confirmed in this episode that The Outsider is transforming into Jack. After Jessa’s dreams, we did guess that when she was describing how the second time that The Outsider showed up that he was transforming into the cop due to his apparent better physique.
Though we did bounce back and forth on this in the last video as it was revealed that Maitland cut the bouncer at the strip club as well, here we do know that there are two different versions of Jack due to the length of his sideburns throughout the episode.
At one point they are long and then when we see him later they are short and it’s a very nice minute detail to show us the difference between the two.
That doesn’t mean that El Cuco isn’t The Bouncer or manager and clearly something is going on with him, we are yet to see how this plays out. Perhaps if Jack bolts he will become the next one that the titular character uses.
We also learn that not only can the Outsider manifest physically but it can also take on an ethereal form and attack people spiritually. The real Jack is becoming sick of The Outsider’s demands and similar to the man we see in the intro, he has decided to fight back much like the man from the introduction of the episode.
Aware that Anderson is hot on the trail, it did pass on a message through Jessa to back off the case but this has fallen on deaf ears and we do see The Outsider stalking Mrs. Anderson.
Dreams And Nightmares
Anderson clearly hasn’t backed off and through Holly, he’s built up a pattern of how the character travels from town to town operating. After 5 weeks of waiting and theorizing, this episode really starts to pull everything together and I finally feel like I can talk openly about what the plot is and how things may happen going forward.
The Outsider visits Jeannie and as in the case with Jessa, it appears at night and passes on a message about how Ralph will die if he doesn’t drop the investigation. He threatens to kill her too and we get way more into the side of The Outsider here that he’s a shadow that stalks his victims. This dreamlike trance that Jeannie was in makes her initially question whether it was real or not but due to the cuts in her feet from standing on broken glass, we know that it was.
She later tries to convince Ralph to drop it but he refuses to. As we know he only believes in things with rational explanations and this is sort of a gift and a curse for the character as the investigation goes on.
Jeannie draws a picture of The Outsider after seeing his face and this lines up with the boy from last episode who also had a police sketch made.
In Holly’s world, she is at a bar who questioning the bartender about who the Boogeyman was for them as a child. Like the ending of last week’s episode, we learn that The Outsider has existed for centuries and our modern myths and legends have evolved from tales of it. The now aptly named Tear Drinker is theorized at hanging around at cemeteries due to the fact that families will often visit there and grieve.
As we know, similar to Pennywise, The Outsider feeds off a certain emotion but where Pennywise feeds on fear, the Outsider feeds on grief. They also operate both psychically in ways that align with one another.
Similarities To Pennywise
In the Stephen King book IT, Pennywise was able to carry out so many child murders undetected because it used to almost hypnotically convince the adults in the town of Derry to be nonchalant towards the missing children.
There’s a phenomenal chapter in the work that centers around the investigation of Adrian Mellon’s death and how though witnesses saw the clown at the scene, they know this won’t be believed in court and thus it is dropped from all proceedings.
The Outsider clearly works like this too, trying to intimidate those who are close to finding out what’s going on into leaving the cases well alone. For me, it works as a metaphor for how society and the police work in general. In recent years we have heard several cases of child abuse carried out by celebrities and people in positions of power that were never really investigated properly by the police because they were either corrupt or fearful for their lives and careers.
The Outsider’s Hiding Place
Holly visits the cemetery in which the Williams were buried and we see what could have been its hideout during its time in the area. Holly comes across the man from the introduction that made Heath’s bed and also wound up dead. He tells Holly about how The Outsider screwed Heath and himself over.
She also instructs Anderson to go to the cemetery where Terry is buried, they realise that the Barn is within walking distance and we now know this is where it resided.
At Collin’s baby shower Anderson sees Jack and he goes off on one. This is actually The Outsider and as I mentioned earlier we can tell that it is due to the length of his sideburns. He refuses to hold the baby because it probably looks tasty and he storms out the party. That night Collins has a dream that someone has come in and taken her baby and it is possible that The Outsider also didn’t want to hold the child because he wants to frame Jack for it’s death should that happen.
Dreams have haunted several characters throughout the season however that doesn’t mean that they’re all bad. Anderson too has his own dream which offers a message of hope. If evil forces exist in the world then good must too and Anderson’s visitor comes in the form of his son. He tells his father that he needs to let him go so that he can move on. As we know El Cuco feeds on grief and robbing the character of the Anderson’s grief of their son will starve it in some ways.
In the book, the child was alive and was only away at camp so I’m really glad they changed it up for the show as it makes a lot more sense here and ties in with the overall themes.
It’s one of the most touching moments of the season so far and it reminds us that if there is evil there is also good.
El Cuco visits Anderson as Jack and apologises about the party and ask to granted access to the inside of the investigation. So yeah, this isn’t Jack being a nice guy, he’s probably still in the woods screaming at trees.
We then cut to the other Outsiders accomplice and see how he ended up dead at the beginning of the episode. It turns out that he had a man held at gunpoint with an unloaded weapon and he just wanted to be murdered.
We don’t know all the ins and outs of his psychology but due to the bed making and his comments at the graveyard he was clearly filled with regret over the entire incident and just didn’t want to live anymore.
Episode 5 closes with Anderson’s vision of his son and we cut to credits.
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on Episode 5 and what you’ve thought of the season so far. Comment below and let me know!