'The Outsider' Season 1 Finale: El Cuco pulls a fast one, asks 'will the real Claude Bolton please stand up?'
Spoiler alert for 'The Outsider’ Season 1
The Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) / Frankie Peterson (Duncan E Clark) case had set investigators on a wild goose chase with a daunting supernatural entity. In the season finale, we see El Cuco finally face the people who believe that he exists. After multiple tests of goodwill and troughs of questioning sanity, the late Maitland was exonerated for a crime that an insatiable creature was responsible for - by the very man who arrested him for the crime, to begin with.
In last week's episode titled, 'Tigers and Bears' we saw bullets rain over the investigators as OfficerJack Hoskins (Marc Menchaca) shot with rageful determination. Alec Pelley (Jeremy Bobb) seems to not have been the only casualty of that gripping episode ending.
The episode, titled, 'Must/Can't' picks up with Hoskins, who after days of blistering torture has given in completely to the commands of his master, El Cuco. In this unfortunate misfire, Seale Bolton (Max Beesley) is shot dead while Andy Katcavage (Derek Cecil) was set on fire when he tried to find cell reception, leaving PI Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo) devastated.
After shooting up enough flesh and gas tanks, Hoskins wanders into the clearing, riddled with rattlesnake bites telling Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn): “It’s in there… kill it." He then pulled the trigger with the gun aimed at his mouth.
Gibney and Anderson meanwhile make their way into the cave and find the remains of different animals. A voice, El Cuco, no doubt warns them of slippery rocks, telling them to hold onto the walls. Now, the face-off. El Cuco has now completely shape-shifted into Claude Bolton and the people that are out to end his insatiable appetite.
As Gibney tries to ask it its name and its origin or if there are others, El Cuco pays a quick tribute to rap god Eminem yelling, “Will the real Claude Bolton please stand up?" His yelling caused enough of the cave to shake, so no quick moves were encouraged. Gibney continues to pester the 'tear-drinker' asking him the question everyone's been wondering, “Why children?” Holly asks. “They taste the sweetest,” El Cuco says. In the midst of this already eerie encounter, the real Claude Bolton walks into the cave facing his evil out-worldly alternate. With a shotgun aiming at the creature, he avenges the death of his brother by shooting it in the chest and soon enough, the cave starts to collapse.
Gibney and Anderson find the creature's body pierced with a rock and before Gibney could investigate further with a knife, Anderson stops her telling her that the body, as is, could help clear Maitland's name in the Peterson case. As Gibney helps Claude out of the cave, Anderson, the one man who wanted so badly to believe in a deceived reality sees ghosts and realizes that El Cuco is playing dead. After pinning the body to the ground, Anderson witnesses the creature's face shapeshift as he smashes its skull with a rock. The monologue that Anderson delivers in this scene cemented the genius behind his character.
Gibney who's still grieving over Andy's death is brought back to reality when Anderson reminds her that they should make sure they have their stories straight. They had to make a supernatural entity seem like an easily humanly possible circumstance to their bosses. The stories were twisted just far enough to clear Maitland's name while the reality of the creature stayed hidden. Jeannie Anderson (Mare Winningham), Ralph's wife, asks Glory Maitland (Julianne Nicholson) to not bring up shapeshifters, El Cuco or any other supernatural activity to any authorities that might cross her path. All traces of El Cuco are then set ablaze.
The DA informs Glory that her late husband's case is being re-opened and that he is officially dropping the charges on Terry publicly at a press conference. The closure that has been due for 10 episodes now finally comes but then the question arises - were there more El Cuco's? He never answered Gibney's question.
P.S. Did you catch the mid-credit scene? All we can say is that we're waiting for Season 2, is Baba Yaga, the Russian boogeyman, the next case?