CS Scene of the Week: Holly & Ralph meet in The Outsider
Welcome to ComingSoon.net’s CS Scene of the Week column where we dive into the best scenes and performances television has to offer. For our latest installment, HBO’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Outsider is in full swing, unspooling a frightening and intriguing mystery that only gets more interesting with each episode. Episode three finally introduced private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo) who met our favorite detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) and brought the characters, as well as the audience, even deeper into the strange supernatural events circling this story.
Tolerance for the Unexplainable
There has been no shortage of jaw-dropping moments in The Outsider. The unexpected shooting carried out by Ollie Peterson, shot down by Ralph, and subsequent death of Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) outside of the courthouse in episode two followed by the complete destruction of an entire family (the Petersons) thanks to the malevolence stemming from the mysterious being in the town causing this toxic domino effect to take place ever since the brutal murder of young Frankie Peterson is just one example of how quickly the narrative in this series can escalate in massive ways.
For this week’s Scene of the Week, the third episode of The Outsider furthered the mystery of Holly Gibney’s possible Terry doppelganger and submerged the story even more into the supernatural, much to Ralph’s vague discomfort. While there are many important moments in the episode, the one that particularly stands out is more subtle, but arguably the most significant scene of the hour for the show’s central characters.
When our main investigators of the story meet for the first time, the worlds of the natural and not so natural connect as Holly drops the possibility of doppelgangers maybe not being a myth. Ralph claims he doesn’t have “tolerance for the unexplainable,” to which Holly responds that he won’t have much tolerance for her then, before explaining her history and how after being studied for years as a child by multiple doctors they could only come up with zero answers behind her unique encyclopedic knowledge and opposing personality traits that make someone like her, in her own words, unexplainable.
Ralph may struggle with the idea of the supernatural, of something more existing outside of the boundaries of reality he has grown accustomed to his whole life. But even then, Ralph is not cruel, nor is he entirely close-minded. As Holly reveals her upbringing along with a few examples of what makes her special and how she carries those unanswered questions about herself, he never once questions her or verbally points out anything he finds odd about her; he questions how her parents could allow her to be subjected to those experiments and studies as a child.
The statement seems to throw Holly a bit. She’s stuck in the familiar paradox of wanting to defend her parents (or understand them) while perhaps not wanting to admit that they could have done better by her or wondering if they had done the right thing when she was a kid. She might also be taken aback by Ralph’s lack of judgment of herself as a person as she has surely faced plenty of mockery and lack of understanding from people her whole life. She tells Ralph that her parents were scared, that they thought the “white coats” could cure her. Holly seems blindsided once more when Ralph replies quietly, “Cure you of being yourself?”
Whatever was specifically going through Holly’s mind at that moment, it’s clear a connection laid its foundation between the two characters during that conversation, largely thanks to Ralph expressing a sense of care and understanding, in his very subdued way, that Holly is likely unused to. Instead of questioning or judging why she is the way she is, he shows a refreshing acceptance that Holly is simply who she is and that’s good enough. That apparent connection is evidenced by her thanking him for drinking (even though he doesn’t like to drink much) to make her feel comfortable, and towards the end of the episode.
After some investigating, Holly gives Ralph a call to offer him updates on what she has learned so far in the case before telling him, “Every once in a while I like to hear the voice of someone who’s on my side.” Meaning, in that short meeting between the two of them, Holly was able to comfortably establish that even if Ralph struggles to see the world from her perspective, he is ultimately on her side. This relationship between Ralph and Holly as agents of light against impending darkness could play out in exciting ways in the episodes to come and is likely key in facing whatever terrible things await all of our characters.
What do you think of Holly Gibney’s character and her potential bond with Ralph as an ally? What other scenes from the series so far have been your favorite? Sound off in the comments below!