The last scene between Ralph and Holly was a great example of what makes this show special and worth sticking with through a few ponderous episodes in the middle. Erivo and Mendelsohn, two performers with different skill sets and temperaments as actors, discovered such a casual, unforced Mulder-and-Scully-like chemistry over the course of the show. "You know I wouldn't mind teaming up again, the opportunity ever arose," mumbled Ralph in Mendelsohn's signature croak in the finale. "I mean, preferably on something simple, like a gangland triple homicide." A lovely, gentle moment in an often brooding series.
Similarly, the final exchange between Ralph and his wife Jeannie, played with soft-spoken restraint by Mare Winningham, was the perfect alchemy of King's spiritually minded sentimental side and Price's carefully attuned, much-celebrated ear for dialogue. As the two looked at the grave of their son, Ralph talks about how a visit from his dead child's ghost had "cracked the world open" for him. Moved by Ralph's vulnerability, Jeannie observes that maybe, years from now, they'll both die and be reunited with their boy in the afterlife. "We'll just go visit him," she says. It was an incredibly moving scene, performed with real subtlety and tender humor.
I was less sold on the mid-credits stinger that was slipped in at the end, where Holly was visited by the ghost of Jack and checked her neck for signs of a mark from El Cuco. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed a scratch on Holly's arm in the final scene, suggesting she's already under the demon's sway, and her "Who's Terry?" question to Ralph towards the end of the episode will likely inspire a thousand theories. Is she losing chunks of her memory? Was it an awkward attempt at humor? Perhaps the melee in the cave caused some sinister split in reality?
King has already indicated that he'd like to write more novels with Holly Gibney at the center, and the ending of The Outsider's first season suggested we'll likely see these characters again. (Before the publication of The Outsider in 2018, the character was first introduced in 2014's Mr. Mercedes, the first book in King's Bill Hodges trilogy of hard-boiled mystery novels.) There are multiple threads left to untangle; new mysteries to solve. As the season ended and "Washington Square" by the Village Stompers played on Holly's radio, echoing a story Ralph told about the death of his mother and the birth of his son, the show opened up even more potential pathways to follow. You get the feeling we're only beginning to know these outsiders.