Since its first episode, Amazon’s Outer Range has been steering in that direction. While peeling back the onion of its central mystery – namely, just what is that fateful hole-in-the-ground – the writers have been cautiously placing roadblocks between its central players, the Abbotts. (Yes, of course, the Tillersons haven’t exactly been good neighbors, but let me wax on philosophically with the proper thematic emphasis at this point.) The husband has failed the wife and vice versa. The sons have failed the father and vice versa. The nuclear unit has begun to crumble, but never have the tensions been so high that they’ve come to blows … until the last few moments of “The Family,” episode six in the first season.
Perry Abbott has confessed to the accidental death of Trevor Tillerson: he told us so much when he said he left a letter for Sheriff Joy Hawk.
As this is (mostly) the seminal event that put all of these characters on this shared trajectory, then it’s only natural that a confession would rear its ugly head in those closing moments. Just as it put down roots in drawing the fractured unit together (in their acts to conceal it), it’s only fitting that it would equally serve their undoing. It looks to – furthermore – have physically harmed the youngest among them – Amy – as she had her forehead cut by some flying glass and runs out of the house into the yard. The closing scenes show her, distraught, starring up at the night sky as a police car arrives on the horizon. (FYI: we don’t know, yet, that they’re coming for Perry. It’s always good to keep misdirection in mind when evaluating a mystery.)
And speaking of that other family?
The Tillersons were not without a bit of exploration in this forty-five minute installment. It’s been revealed that the curiously loopy Billy would actually inherit control of the ranch and its associated fortune, a development that put the estranged Patricia Tillerson into high gear. It isn’t as if the young man is incapable of running a business, at least not so much that audiences have been shown. What we’ve experienced thus far is a karaoke-fueled performance of a young man who hasn’t quite found himself, choosing instead to flit and float from moment-to-moment. I’m reserving judgment on his mental capabilities until we’re provided something specific: in the meantime, I just think of him as a bit goofy.
However, this might be my first major complaint regarding just how the show has weaved its various yarns: take this for what it’s worth, but Autumn is covering far too much territory on foot – under injury – than would seem possible at this point. She goes from being tossed aside in the wilderness by Royal, back to camp, into town (which is seemingly not just around the corner), checking into a hotel, eating at a diner, hiking with Billy, and so on and so forth. I don’t know if those writers have ever walked around all that much, but this would take an awful lot of time to accomplish on foot. Adding insult to injury is the fact that her leg’s been injured, so you folks might want to actually dial it back … unless, again, we’re dealing with misdirection.
Perhaps that’s the thing: maybe we’re about to find out some massive.
Eventually, audiences need to know why Royal is so terrified about his family finding out about the west pasture. I've suggested that just who he is must tie somehow into the show's primary secrets, and I suspect his true identity will be a shocker (in no small fashion). Eventually, Autumn's past must come clean. Eventually, Wayne Tillerson's obsession with the Abbott land must have a foundation; they've been hinting at it long enough that I think we've owed a disclosure. And -- eventually -- we're going to need to know what happened to Rebecca. She's been mentioned enough already, folks; let's start with the reveals. I think we've earned it.
So far as I’ve been able to ascertain, the season is a slim eight episodes long; and Amazon is currently operating under a format of releasing two-at-a-time on Fridays. These last two episodes may be all that we’re given in this supernatural tale involving the Abbotts and the Tillersons; there’s been no word on renewal as of yet, and one can only hope all that has come down thus far has been effectively building toward some climax with or without the possible cliffhanger. These days, shows have been leaning reasonably heavily toward tying up one season-long storyline before dripping clues for what might be coming next; I, for one, hope “The Family” is only a tease for what’s going to be tied up in the remaining hours.
At this point, only time will tell … and time – as we’ve learned – might just be some big hole in the ground.