The following story contains spoilers for the first season of The Outsider. If you haven’t seen the whole season, or if you care about being spoiled, you need to stop reading now.
When Stephen King’s The Outsider was released in 2018, it was heralded as one of the legendary Horror writer’s best novels in years. Two years later, and that same book has been adapted into a 10-part HBO series that fans and critics alike have flocked to. While the story of King’s book has been mostly told and wrapped up in the season’s ending, there seem to be a number of hints that the show could return for a second season.
This would, in effect, take the series to uncharted ground. This is a trick that HBO has pulled before—The Leftovers covered the plot of Tom Perrotta’s book in the first season before continuing for two more from Damon Lindelof; Big Little Lies had a second season last summer that was wholly independent of the plot of Lianne Moriarty’s book of the same name.
What happened at the end of The Outsider Season 1?
While the end of The Outsider seemed to put a wrap on the story of El Cuco, there were a few moments that certainly did a lot to hint at and set up the potential of a second Outsider season. The first, fairly obviously, was in one of the closing scenes of the episode. When Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) is saying goodbye to Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), he suggests that the two could team up again in the future (though he hopes for something a bit more normal, “like a gangland triple homicide, or something like that”). Obviously, this sets the pair up for some future True Detective-esque adventures.
But what about that credits scene?
The Outsider finale’s mid-credits scene is where things really start to go wild and invite speculation for a second season. Assumed to be a few months later, Holly is washing her hands in her home when she gets a frightening glimpse of Jack Hoskins in her mirror. She checks her neck for the burn that controlled his mind, but is relieved to find nothing.
Within a few moments, though, a frightening final shot makes something very clear to the viewers: Holly has a scratch on her arm. Either El Cuco, Jack, or something else altogether has got her, and is probably coming for her incredible cognitive gifts. That’s a cliffhanger if we’ve ever seen one.
Granted that the book ends without any of this happening, it’s entering totally uncharted territory for showrunner Richard Price (who previously helmed HBO’s one-season The Night Of). We’re eager to see where a second season—without any source material to follow—would go.
Will the cast return?
If the show does, indeed return for a second season—and HBO’s calling Sunday’s episode a ‘Season Finale’ rather than a ‘Series Finale’ certainly seems to be angling that way—than we have to expect that at the very least, Mendelsohn and Erivo will return. Those are the heroes of the story, and the two of them do much of the heavy lifting. Ralph’s wife, Jeannie (Mare Winningham) left the finale unscathed, so it would be reasonable to expect her to be back as well. Trusted State Police ally Yune Sablo (Yul Vazquez) should also probably be expected to return.
Claude Bolton (Paddy Considine) didn’t die in the finale, but his character is so specifically important to this story (and not personally connected to Holly or Ralph) that he would likely not return outside of maybe a cameo.
Given the events of the finale, though, you cannot expect the deceased characters to return. This is Stephen King, but the story of The Outsider doesn’t have anything to do with anyone coming back from the dead. That means you shouldn’t expect to see Jason Bateman (Terry Maitland), Bill Camp (Howie Saloman), Marc Menchaca (Jack Hoskins), Andy Katcavage (Derek Cecil), Seale Bolton (Max Beesley) or Alec Pelley (Jeremy Bobb) for season two.
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