The premiere of The Outsider on HBO offers way more questions than answers, introducing one mystery (the death of a young boy in a small town) and then adding several more without solving for the first. But by the end of The Outsider’s two-episode debut, there’s likely one question nagging you more than anything else: Who is that hooded guy with the creepy face?
Having only watched the first two episodes (and not read the Stephen King book that HBO’s The Outsider is based on) I don’t have the answer — but I do have some theories. So let’s dive in.
Spoilers for the first two episodes of The Outsider below.
The Outsider begins with a montage of sorts, showing how Detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) builds a case that local teacher and peewee baseball coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) is guilty of the gruesome murder of a young boy. Anderson has multiple witnesses, including one who saw Maitland pick up the kid in a creepy white van, but as soon as the (very public) arrest is made, things quickly go wrong.
Video evidence proves that Maitland was out of town at a teacher’s conference on the day of the murder, even while other CCTV footage shows him at a local train station that same night. Then, while Maitland is being marched into court to stand trial, an angry young man runs up to him with a gun, killing several police officers and Maitland in a shocking bloodbath.
In the immediate aftermath of that attack, chaos ensues, but the camera zooms in on one man who seems unnaturally calm. Or at least, we think it’s a man. Dressed in a green hoodie with what appear to be bandages covering his face, this hooded man stares straight into the camera.
We’ve seen him before too. In the first episode of The Outsider he was standing outside Maitland’s house as an angry mob protested. And in Episode 2, he’s seen lingering outside the home of the father of the dead boy, who’s so stricken with grief he attempts to commit suicide.
But who is the hooded and masked man? Is he the real killer? Something supernatural? Or just some other character in disguise? Here are three theories to tide you over until The Outsider Episode 3.
3. It’s the mean cop, aka Detective Jack Hoskins
The first two episodes of The Outsider don’t offer many human suspects who could fill the role of the hooded man. That’s mostly because pretty much every main character was there when Maitland got shot, with one major exception…
Jack Hoskins shows up in Episode 2 when he’s called in from a hunting trip to help out in the aftermath of Terry Maitland’s death. Because he was on vacation during the shooting, he’s one of the only people who wasn’t there — or was he?
Is it possible Hoskins is actually responsible for everything that’s happened so far? And was he actually at the shooting in disguise with a green hoodie and a mask?
He comes across as a real jerk, which might be a hint that he’s up to no good, but that feels like a misdirection. Plus, this is a Stephen King story, so chances are the villain isn’t just some disgruntled cop.
2. It’s a supernatural monster
Look, this is a Stephen King story, so there’s a pretty good chance that even though it begins as a hard-boiled crime thriller, it’s about to get way spookier. The hooded man’s creepy face certainly looks supernatural, so we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some sort of monster underneath.
And if that monster is also a shapeshifter, that could explain how Maitland was spotted at the scene of the crime in the first place. Maybe “the outsider” can disguise itself as a human and it had some sort of vendetta against him.
1. It’s actually Jason Bateman and he is/was the supernatural monster
Similar to the last theory, this one also leans heavily on the supernatural (because, Stephen King), but what if the hooded man actually is Maitland? Does that make any sense? Not really, since it would mean the character somehow witnessed his own death.
Then again, once we veer into supernatural territory, anything is possible. Maybe Maitland is a monster that can be in two places at once. Or maybe there’s two of them. Right now, anything seems possible.
The Outsider airs Sundays nights on HBO.