Review of 'Outer Range' 1.7-8
Shuffle Off to Buffalo
Well, Outer Range certainly saved the best for last -- the last two episodes (of what I hope will be the first of at least a few seasons) -- waking us up like after a fever has broken and everything is clear, or at least, a little clearer.
Here were my three favorite, clarifying parts:
[Spoilers of course ahead ... ]
- Royal went into the time-portal hole as a boy in 1886, after accidentally shooting his father in a hunting accident, and emerged in 1968. That's a nice piece of time travel that explains and makes somewhat more clear everything we've seen about Royal before.
- Autumn is Amy! Wow! That's a powerful reveal, and explains why Autumn has such a convincing sense of she belongs here -- why she seemed to expect that Royal would know her. It doesn't quite explain -- or maybe I missed it -- why Autumn didn't tell her grandfather her true identity when they were on good terms, or for that matter, on very bad terms. (Perhaps the time travel or something that came after disrupted part or all of Amy's prior memory.) But Amy being Autumn is another fine example of what you can do with family narrative when a time portal is available.
- And that herd of buffalo as one of the most destructive weapons or catastrophes to come down the pike or the plains of a time-travel story, or any story, in a while -- well, that was just brilliant, too.
So let's see where we stand now. Royal hearing those approaching hooves, with the kettle shaking, just as he finished finally telling Cecilia what was going on, was a great way to end the season. How many people did those bison from the past actually kill in their stampede in our time? Or, more germaine to the series, how many characters that we've come to know? It seems that Autumn survived the trampling -- she was moaning when Royal approached her on on the ground -- and he carried her home. I suppose he could have just been carrying home her body -- but I don't think so, and I certainly hope I'm right and she's alive.
Yoo know, the series cries out for a second season. We've certainly learned a few pretty important things, and they all come with further questions, as stories in the middle should. The hole in time doesn't bring people back to life -- it shunts them into another time. Into the future, as well as the past, right? There's a timeline or more of story to be told here. Where was Rebecca (what time was she in) before she came back to get Amy? The future -- which would explain why nobody in the present had any idea where/when she was -- or the past? And about that past, are all moments in the past ports of call in that time portal? And there's at least a season or more of story of Amy becoming Autumn to tell. Where/when did Rebecca take her, and what then happened to them?
Those rampaging bison also have more to tell us. Cecilia killed that bear -- is that why the bison were coming for her home, an expression of animal unity? But Royal took the arrow out of the bison we've been seeing most of the season. Will that result in the herd swerving away from Royal and Cecilia at the last minute, expressing their gratitude?
Put me on the list admiring fans, eager to see much more of this time travel Western, now that we've learned at least a little about what's really going on.
About the author
Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code & The Plot To Save Socrates; his LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context, The Soft Edge, & Digital McLuhan have been translated into 15 languages.