We're halfway through HBO's The Outsider, and the show's supernatural mystery is coming into focus. Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo) continues to unearth new evidence around the case of Terry Maitland and a string of seemingly unconnected child murders that could all be linked by an ancient monster called "the grief eater." Or, as a friendly bartender names it in Outsider Episode 5, the "tear drinker."
As a mountain of evidence begins to build, The Outsider may have already revealed the monster's next victim (and no, we're not talking about Detective Jack Hoskins). The only question is: Can Holly Gibney solve the case and stop the monster before it strikes again?
Warning! Spoilers below for Episode 5 of HBO's The Outsider.
The episode begins with the death of another man. We don't recognize him, but one we later learn was friends with Heath Hofstadter (the nurse at the old folks home who was infected by the Grief Eater after he was scratched by a woman in New York, only to pass it on to Terry/Jason Batman at the retirement community where Terry's father lives).
This new character also has the same gross rash on the back of his neck — the one Jack Hoskins has — that represents the Grief Eater. However, it seems this guy decided to fight back, using an unloaded gun to goad the police into killing him. That's a grim ending, but it's better than what happened to Heath or Terry.
Meanwhile, the Grief Eater is up to no good, terrorizing everyone in town in an effort to scare Detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) off the case. That includes Ralph's wife, who sees the Grief Eater during a dream where it tells her bad things will happen if Ralph doesn't stop. Ralph argues that she's just repeating what Terry's daughter said, but she draws a picture of the monster that looks just like the one drawn by another witness back in Episode 4.
The Grief Eater also terrorizes Tamika Collins, appearing in a dream where it looms over her baby's crib. However, the monster saves its worst for last, appearing to Ralph directly not as the Hooded Man but in the form of his own dead son. Of course, it's possible this is an unrelated dream, but considering that all these other visions are clearly connected, I have a feeling this one is too.
So what is the Grief Eater planning? A closer look at Jack Hoskins' behavior should reveal the answer. After all, Hoskins is under the monster's direct influence now, doing its bidding and even bringing it a lamp for some reason. Earlier in the episode, he declines to hold Tamika's baby, seemingly to avoid infecting it. Later, he approaches Ralph, apologizes, and asks to help with the investigation.
Is Hoskins actually trying to help, or does he have an ulterior motive? If the Grief Eater is worried that Ralph might be closing in on an answer, it makes sense that the monster would use everything at its disposal to stop him... including the police officer under its control.
Maybe I'm wrong and Hoskins is about to turn on the monster instead, but until that happens, Ralph should probably sleep with one eye open. Or avoid sleeping at all.
The Outsider airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.