Outer Range (Season 1) Episodes 7, 8: Recap and Ending Explained
Outer Range (Season 1) Episodes 7, 8 Recap And Ending Explained: On paper, Outer Range (2022-ongoing) seemed like a sure-fire hit. A cast as stacked as this (there’s Josh Brolin, Imogen Poots, Lili Taylor, Tom Pelphrey, Lewis Pullman, Noah Reid, and Will Patton, for crying out loud) gave some assurance that they saw something solid in the script by Brian Watkins, Zev Borow, Dominic Orlando, Lucy Thurber, and Naledi Jackson. Yet, as someone who is aware of the existence of Westworld (2016-ongoing), Cowboys & Aliens (2011), and Wild Wild West (1999), there were some trepidations about the mixture of the Sci-fi and the Western genre. So, as Season 1 of Outer Range draws to a close, it’s safe to say that Watkins and the rest of his team haven’t only met the expectations of Sci-fi and Western fans and exceeded them. Episode 6 ended with the Abbott family reputation at stake and no spoilers; episodes 7 and 8 truly go ham with it.
Before we deep dive into Episodes 7 and 8, do give a read to earlier episodes.
Outer Range Episodes 7, 8 Review (Spoiler-Free):
The best and spoiler-free way to describe episodes 7 and 8 of Outer Range is by saying that it’s about the unraveling of the Abbotts and the Tillersons. There’s a very literal shot of a pot boiling, which pretty much encapsulates the theme of these two episodes, directed to perfection by Lawrence Trilling. Every single plot and subplot have driven these families to the edge of their sanity and cohesion. And with one last push (there’s a very literal shot of that, too), they go over the edge. Anger, guilt, rage, the inability to communicate, and a desperate urge to disassociate from the truth of the reality they’re in drive the characters forward (and maybe backward) in time. The finale does ask for a little more suspension of disbelief than you’ve already exercised. But if you’ve made it this far by accepting a hole through time/reality in the ground, then you can push yourself a little further.
From a technical point of view, the show has been impeccable. Outer Range Episodes 7 and 8 are no different. Drew Daniels’s electric cinematography, Connor Davis and Jon Otazua’s crisp editing, and Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans’s pulsating score really get to shine in two specific moments. Again, please keep in mind that it’s fantastic throughout. But in those two moments, you will go, “wow.” The first one is a kiss between two characters (who shall remain unnamed at this point) where the camera tilts down, dollies in, pans right and left, and it’s all cut together in a way to get your heartbeat pumping. And the final focus on the thread of saliva is both gross and impressive, to be honest. The other moment is a proper, Western standoff, complete with whistling sounds, close-ups of the characters’ eyes, rack-focusing, exciting gunplay, and car chasing. At that moment, Outer Range shifts gears between Neo-Western and classic Western.
Brolin, Poots, Taylor, Pullman, and Patton had their moments to shine all the way leading up to episodes 7 and 8. And they had delivered then, and they do so again in the final two episodes of Outer Range, Season 1. Especially Brolin. The way this man uses his physicality and his inability to communicate is a masterclass. All that said, episodes 7 and 8 spotlight Pelphrey, Noah Reid, Shaun Sipos, and Olive Abercrombie; four actors who have done excellently on the sidelines but never got the center stage. Can you understand how risky this move is? These are the last two episodes, and anyone who wants to play safe would let their best players bat it out and build the hype for the next season. They don’t do that here (for story-related reasons, of course), and the gamble really pays off. All four of them hit it out of the park in their own ways, thereby making this one of the most talented ensemble casts of 2022.
Spoiler warning: From this point onward, this article contains significant spoilers for Outer Range episodes 7 and 8.
Outer Range Episode 7 & 8 Recap:
Episode 7 opens with a flashback in a skating rink of a young Perry (Jackson Dean Vincent) beating the hell out of a young Trevor to establish that something inherently violent among the Abbotts is getting passed down from one generation to another. In the present day, we see Perry (Tom Pelphrey) being taken to the lockup by Sheriff Joy (Tamara Podemski) while a sign on the road says: “America tells you that the things worth knowing are those which can be known. America is wrong.” At the lock-up, Perry admits to killing Trevor (Matt Lauria) and carrying his body to the cliff, where the body was found without anybody’s help. For some reason, Joy asks Perry if he knows where Rebecca is. Perry assures her that he doesn’t.
The omnipresent shows up in front of the Abbott household, where Royal (Josh Brolin), Cecilia (Lili Taylor), Rhett (Lewis Pullman), and Amy (Olive Abercrombie) are going about their day, not talking to each other to avoid bringing up the conversation of the fight and Perry’s arrest. While Autumn (Imogen Poots) smokes a joint, Royal and Cecilia learn that the amount they need to pay to bail out Perry is $500,000. Cecilia promptly mortgages the entire ranch to get Perry out, which will be seized by the county if Perry doesn’t show up the following day, thereby sealing the ranch’s fate. Perry apologizes to Amy for not acting impulsively. Amy then asks Perry about Rebecca’s whereabouts, making her the second person to ask that question to Perry. Perry gives the same answer that he gave Joy, i.e., he doesn’t know. Perry then asks Royal if he knows anything about Rebecca. And although Royal says that he doesn’t, Perry says he doesn’t believe him.
Joy fills in Luke (Shaun Sipos) and Billy (Noah Reid) about the revelation in the investigation into Trevor’s death and how Perry is responsible for it. Luke thinks the whole Abbott family is involved in Trevor’s killing. Billy interrupts this conversation so that he can take Luke to see the hole in the ground. Autumn has an aggravating conversation with her mother, after which she bursts into the bar the Abbotts are usually in. She finds Rhett and asks him about Perry and Royal, and she weirdly concludes that Perry is going to be okay. Elsewhere, Joy’s family brunch is interrupted by Frank (Barry Del Sherman), the member of commerce who is supposed to help Joy with the Sheriff’s election. He congratulates her on catching Perry but also reminds her about the mastodons. Joy doesn’t look too keen on indulging his request. However, once Martha (Morningstar Angeline) persuades Joy, she says she’ll look into the mastodons.
Cecilia checks on the dead baby bear and comes face to face with the mother bear (probably the same one that “talked” to Autumn). Yes, Cecilia kills the bear. The death of an innocent animal usually signifies the final stage of a person’s decline. This is definitely a similar sign. Billy pays Autumn a visit to talk about how he ingested the black goo in his father’s orb and saw a vision of a future where Autumn is ruling over everyone else. They share one of the grossest kisses of all time, and Autumn brands Billy with the Abbott ranch symbol. Right after that, Billy comes across Royal, whose car has broken down, and he offers Royal a ride. Billy starts talking about God, the hole in the ground, and, at gunpoint, takes Royal to the skating rink we saw earlier to make him apologize for his actions and stop him from hunting down Autumn. Royal succumbs.
Perry and Amy share a tender moment as Perry talks about the notion of Amy being with Royal and Cecilia to look after them. Amy says that Rebecca didn’t want to stay on the ranch, though, and asks if Rebecca comes back, can she leave with her? Perry gives her his blessing to do so. As Amy leaves the scene, a delirious and charged-up Autumn confronts Perry to talk about Royal. While attending an Indigenous celebration, Joy shares an intense stare with one of the elders dancing in the crowd. Luke tries to kill Wayne (Will Patton) but is stopped at the last moment by Billy, probably because he’s angry about Wayne giving away the land to Billy instead of him. Joy pays Frank a visit, only to find that Frank isn’t in. She does find a black line leading into the forest, which she starts to track.
Perry and Royal have a chat about the nature of the hole in the ground. Royal starts explaining to him why he ran away as a kid. The narrative shifts to Royal as a kid going hunting with his father. Their attire already gives away the (actual) twist, but before you can really think about that, Royal reveals that he accidentally killed his own father while trying to shoot a deer. Since he didn’t have the courage to face his family, he ran away. That’s when the hole appeared in the ground, and he jumped into it. Perry asks him the year that happened. Royal says that when he went into the hole, it was 1886, and when he came out, it was 1968, which practically confirms it does help the jumper travel through time. But not always a time or place they want to be in. Probably one where they’re supposed to be. Perry sees that as a sign to fix his life and jumps into the hole. The hole inexplicably closes. Royal falls to his knees as Autumn watches from afar, shocked out of his mind.
Outer Range Episode 8 Recap:
Episode 8 opens with Joy still following the black trail, leading her to an open field. She doesn’t see any mastodons, but she does see a giant horde of bison running through the field. Then we get a montage of Perry falling through the hole, Amy sleeping in her bedroom, Cecilia burying the bears, and Royal still sitting on the spot the hole closed up. Royal returns convinced that Autumn convinced Perry to jump into the hole, arms up to go after her. Autumn preemptively buys guns to defend herself from Royal.
While tending to his wounds, Rhett has a brief yet refreshing conversation with Amy about winning the bull-riding championship and life on the ranch. Billy serenades Wayne while feeding him the crushed black goo, and although we don’t have visual confirmation, it seems like Wayne also experiences the visions he’s supposed to see. Luke talks to Billy about using whatever is in the hole to earn money. Billy tells him that the hole is gone and that Luke should stop trying to kill Wayne because once both Wayne and Billy are dead, the ranch will be Luke’s.
A panicked Autumn is seen talking to someone on the phone again about drawing money from the trust. But that call is interrupted by a gun-toting Royal. Autumn manages to escape from Royal’s clutches. Cecilia has a minor meltdown as Perry is nowhere to be found. And if Perry doesn’t show up at the designated time, his bail will be rejected, and the deed that has been submitted will be forfeited. Autumn has a verbally violent altercation with Maria (Isabel Arraiza) for bringing a gun to the bank. When Billy urges in to tell Autumn that Royal is after her, they share another weirdly passionate moment that goes on long enough to creep out Maria.
Luke is seen digging into the ground while informing his mother about what he’s doing and how he tried to kill Wayne. Cecilia arranges dinner as a last-ditch attempt to make the family whole again. Royal drives around the town, probably looking for Autumn. But he decides to pay Rhett a visit before he goes out to ride. Royal tries to explain that he’s probably not going to come back from his latest mission to hunt down Autumn. So, he wants Rhett to take care of everything. Rhett shocks Royal by telling him that he is leaving the ranch and going away for good once the competition is over. Later on, Royal gets a call from Autumn, who says that she knows Royal wants to kill her. Hence, she is waiting in the town where he can come and take a shot at her.
Rhett’s second ride goes disastrously wrong as he is distracted by Royal’s absence in the stands. For some reason, Amy walks away from Cecilia and underneath the sitting area. That’s where she finds Rebecca (placeholder)! Amy asks Rebecca where she has been all this time. Rebecca tells Amy that she had to hide. When Amy asks from whom Rebecca was hiding, Rebecca says that she’ll explain everything to her, but first, Amy has to come away with her. Amy agrees to do so. Cecilia has a meltdown as she feels that Amy is gone for good. Amidst all this, Rhett manages to outdo everyone in his last ride with a dislocated shoulder and a broken spirit. Rhett sees that Maria is there for him, which motivates him to come to the decision to leave the ranch with her.
Joy’s quest brings her to another piece of open land where many bison run around. But upon closer inspection, Joy sees an entire village of Indigenous people hunting down a bison, a sight that understandably shocks her. Luke’s digging unearths the black goo, now in liquid form. When he touches it, the goo starts dissipating into his skin. As he celebrates this discovery, the ground underneath him starts to rumble, and a horde of bison comes out. It seemed like the hole had a life of its own until this point, and it opens and closes at random points. However, this phenomenon shows that there’s a material in the land that has the capability to alter time and space, which can be found by digging into the land. The results may favor diggers or absolutely ruin them.
Outer Range Season 1 Ending Explained:
Royal has a proper Western standoff with Autumn. Autumn even says “yee-haw,” which signals Billy to start shooting at Royal. Billy misses, and he escapes the scene with Autumn. Royal chase them down, and they exchange shots via pistols and shotguns. But Royal turns the tables by taking out his sniper rifle, shooting Billy in the neck, and causing the car (carrying Billy and Autumn) to go off-road and tumble into the ditch. Royal stops to check them out and finds out that Billy is dead. Autumn, though, is still alive. And as he prepares to kill her, the horde unleashed by Luke charges at them, forcing Royal to take cover underneath one of the cars. Autumn is left unprotected and at the mercy of the bison. The same horde causes Rhett and Maria’s truck to crash, but not enough to mortally wound them.
Remember what I was telling you about pushing your suspension of disbelief a little further than you have so far? So, after meeting the omnipresent bison and pulling the last arrow lodged in its side, Royal finds out that Autumn hasn’t been trampled to death. Somehow the horde of bison altogether avoided her like two similar poles of a magnet. Something prompts Royal to look at Autumn a little more closely, and that’s when he notices a scar on her forehead. Yes, the same scar that he inflicted on Amy while pushing Perry into the wall. A stunningly cut montage proves that Autumn is actually a grown-up Amy who has probably traveled through time and is burdened with the knowledge Rebecca has given her. Royal takes her home. He tells Cecilia’s story of his origins and tells her that all he wants is his family back. After crashing the dinner table, Cecilia says that their family is no more, now that both Perry and Amy are gone. Royal says that Amy isn’t gone (because she has come back as Autumn).