Outer Range is a 2022 Amazon series.
10/10 stars for episode 1 which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a great setup.
0/10 stars for episode 2 which tanked the series. Clearly not written by an actual science fiction nerd.
It all begins in Wyoming on the Abbott ranch when Royal Abbott (played by Josh Brolin) hears a low humming sound coming from the west end of his ranch. He rides out but doesn’t see anything. When he comes back, he’s somehow lost two hours of time.
Cecelia (played by Lili Taylor) is Royal’s wife. She explains to their granddaughter Amy that one day Royal showed up on her family’s ranch from nowhere. He couldn’t remember his mom, his dad, or how he got there, just that something horrible had happened. They took him in and raised him and he eventually married Cecelia. Also part of their family are their two sons, Perry and Rhett. Perry’s wife Rebecca has been missing for 9 months. Amy is their daughter. Rhett is a middle-aged bull rider, still not quite grown up.
The next day they corral the cattle and count only 279. They’re missing two. They check the fences. They’re fine. So where did the cattle go?
A young girl named Autumn shows up begging to camp on their west end in her tent. They usually don’t allow it, but she offers them money and has tons of it. So they figure she’s probably not a troublemaker and let her camp there. But Autumn is really creepy. She claims she’s a poet but draws circles with a line through them in her journal.
That same day they find out that their crooked neighbor Wayne Tillerson (played by Will Patton) is suing them for 600 acres of their west land.
The next day, with so much interest in the west side of their property which skirts the mountains, and upon hearing the low rumbling noise again, Royal rides out there and finds a big hole in the ground about fifty feet in diameter. On the surface of this hole is a gas. When he puts his hand in it, he sees the future, events that will happen later that morning.
When Royal returns to the ranch, Sheriff Joy Hawk is there to notify them that the FBI has officially called off the search for Rebecca.
Royal tries throwing rocks and dirt into the hole to fill it. They disappear. He covers it with a tarp and it also disappears into the hole. It swallows up everything. When he turns, there is suddenly a buffalo beside him standing there with several arrows in its side. As in 19th century arrows.
Royal rides to Autumn’s campsite to check on her. She starts rambling on about him selling the ranch and she’s somewhat predatory.
That night Perry and Rhett go to town drinking and get into a fist fight with Wayne’s son Trevor. The girl Trevor is with has always been in love with Rhett. When Perry goes inside to pay their tab, Trevor says some insulting things about Rebecca and Perry beats him to death. They throw him in the pickup and take him home, leaving Trevor’s bloody rodeo buckle on the ground.
Royal takes care of Trevor’s body, rolling it in a tarp and putting it on the horse. He tells Rhett to wash down the pickup and burn his and Perry’s bloody shirts. Then he tells Perry to go inside and not talk to anyone.
Wayne’s other sons, Luke and Billy, find the bloody buckle and ride out to the Abbott Ranch. They pound on the door until Perry answers. Then they demand he open the barn for them. He goes back to the house, stalling for time and presumably to get the key, and the two Tillerson brothers break down the door. Inside is the pickup with hay in the back. Nothing amiss.
Luke and Billy see a pickup trail going through the pasture so they break through the fence with Luke’s pickup and Billy’s ATV and chase Royal. They don’t see him and turn toward the house.
Royal continues toward the hole, but Trevor’s body falls off his horse. He dismounts to retrieve it and his horse takes off. So he is left dragging a body toward the hole. He loses his shirt in a barbed wire fence, but makes it to the hole and throws Trevor’s body in. Autumn appears and tells him she won’t tell anyone then pushes him in the hole.
10/10 stars. Loved the first episode.
Luke and Billy Tillerson arm themselves and break through the gate riding toward the Abbott house. Cecelia answers the door and sends them packing.
Royal wakes up in the pasture with a bullet in his leg. He rides home and Cecelia removes the bullet.
Luke Tillerson calls Sheriff Joy Hawk and reports Trevor missing. He gives her Trevor’s bloody buckle and threatens to have her removed as sheriff if she doesn’t look for him. (An election is coming up in 28 days.)
Cecelia finds out that Wayne Tillerson is suing them for 600 acres. So Royal goes to town to discuss it with their lawyer, who tells them that decades ago, when the county mapped it for mining, they left a section open and unmarked so it’s unclear who owned it. It doesn’t matter that maps before and after that map declared it Abbott land. Besides, the Tillersons bought the County Assessor. He’ll do whatever the Tillersons want.
Royal tells Perry about an incident that occurred when Wayne Tillerson was young. One of his ranch hands was gored by a bull and none of the ranch hands could get him free. The ambulance was an hour away from being there. Wayne had a choice–kill the bull and save the man or leave him. He left him to be dragged around the pen by the bull until he died. Wayne only cares about money. He has no respect for human life.
Royal goes to visit Wayne. Wayne rambles on about the perfect painting.
Amy sees Autumn close to the house and talks to her. When she mentions Royal acting weird that morning, Autumn is shocked to find him alive. And she is obsessed with a rocky bluff that has the same symbol on it that she’s been recording in her journal, a circle with a line through it. (Like the Greek letter theta.)
Royal searches Autumn’s tent but doesn’t find anything helpful.
That evening at dinner Royal says a very odd prayer to God, making his family wonder if he’s going nuts.
Royal has the entire family move the cattle to the east pasture even though they’ve only grazed in the west pasture for a few days. When a young bull runs toward the hole, he ropes him and leads him away.
That evening Autumn confronts Royal in his barn. They ask each other a series of questions. Royal asks her if she’s been in a cult, what the color yellow means to her, if she’s killed someone, and if she was trying to kill him when she threw him in the hole. She asks him what he remembers before the age of nine. She says she didn’t until she got there.
As he’s standing there Royal remembers what happened to him when he went through the hole. He woke up in a future where his land was covered with lights and oil drilling rigs. There was a crowd of people hovering there along with some guys in space suits. Autumn was there watching with the rest of the people. Cecelia comes toward him and tells him he died two years ago. Then she tells him to run. He runs and Luke appears and shoots him, but Royal makes it to the hole.
0/10 stars. It’s a shame they tanked this series with episode 2. One of the biggest ways to flop a science fiction series is to not go far enough into the future for it to be realistic. This was just dumb. To assume that somehow a wormhole would appear and allow a person to go three years into the future is lame. We’re not even close to that technology.