Prime Video’s Outer Range is a mystery thriller set in Wyoming, USA, where a rancher and his family face supernatural occurrences after they discover a mysterious void on their land.
Episode 1 recap: “The Void”
Outer Range kicks off with rancher Royal Abbott (Josh Brolin) narrating a tidbit about the Greek God Chronos, who carried a sickle that he used to cut a hole in the cosmos. He mentions that modern world has been waiting for something like this.
While this monologue is played, we see Royal carrying a body into the dark of night under the thunderclouds. He disposes of it as the scene shifts to dawn. Royal wakes up and heads out to the pastures on his horse. It is then that he starts hearing peculiar noises that cause his to lose sense of time.
The show then depicts the daily excursions of the local folk as they attend church and then a bull-riding rodeo where Royal’s younger son Rhett (Lewis Pullman) doesn’t do too well. We soon learn that Royal isn’t too keen on God because of his daughter-in-law, Rebecca, having gone missing.
The Abbott’s neighbour, Wayne Tillerson, feels something sinister is coming and calls them to warn them. Royal’s wife Celia (Lili Taylor) picks up the phone but thinks nothing of it, exclaiming that Wayne is just mumbling. The strange noise is heard again at night.
Next morning, Royal’s elder son Perry (Tom Pelphrey) counts the cattle and tells his dad that they’re missing two. He also informs him that the fences are intact but Royal suggests they take a second look, he wakes up a hungover Rhett to join them.
However, before they can leave, a drifter named Autumn (Imogen Boots) shows up to the ranch and requests Royal to let her camp on the property for a few days. She offers him money and he agrees.
She camps near the fences on the west pasture, while Royal, Perry and Rhett do the rounds. During their inspection, Wayne’s sons Billy (Noah Reid), Luke (Shaun Sipos), and Trevor (Matt Laurie) show up and hand in a legal notice to the Abbott family which says that they’re a mile into the Tillerson land and need to move their fences back lest they be fined $80,000.
Royal says he’ll handle the situation and urge the boys to continue inspection. The men split up to cover more land and Royal uncovers a bizarre hole in the ground on the west pasture, with strange energy oozing from it. When he puts his hand in it, he gets flashes to the future which petrify him and he rushes back.
Back home, the family is visited by Deputy Sherriff Joy (Tamara Podemski) who informs them that the FBI is halting their search for Rebecca. This fuels Royal’s concerns about the strange void and after unsuccessfully trying to cover it up, he rides to warn Autumn to stay off the west side.
She heeds his words but then talks about Royal’s intentions of selling the ranch and asks what it would cost. She lightly suggests a price of 6 million dollars and Royal inquires if she has the money on her. Autumn says that’s a secret but is willing to share if Royal trades a secret of his with her.
Elsewhere, Rhett believes that his family has been stuck in limbo due to Rebecca’s situation and should have sold the land about 10 years ago. He also worries about Royal’s ancient methods of ranching and believes that the commercialisation of the industry will do them bad.
Things get worse for the family that night when one of the Tillerson brothers, Trevor, gets into a fight with Perry after a drunk night at the local pub. What begins as a simple altercation soon turns sour when Trevor taunts Perry about his missing wife.
The fight turns ugly and Perry ends up murdering Trevor. As he tries to hide the body he accidentally drops the belt buckle. They get into the truck and Rhett drives with Perry and Trevor’s body as they head back to the farm.
Royal is livid at the situation but gets to covering up the murder. They burn the bloody clothes while Perry meets with the Tillerson brothers, Billy and Luke, who come looking for Trevor.
With no immediate solution coming to mind, Royal ends up riding with the body towards the mysterious void. Meanwhile, the Tillerson realise what has happened and they set out to find Royal. This is the opening scene of the series that shows Royal dispose of the body into the hole.
A light from behind startles Royal and he sees Autumn walking towards him. She confronts him about the body and talks about Chronos — same as Royal’s monologue from the beginning.
She asks Royal if anyone else knows about this to which he refuses. Autumn promises to keep this their little secret and pushes him into the void.
Episode 2 recap: “The Land”
The next episode kicks off right where the previous one left off with Autumn standing over the void. After shoving Royal in, she takes his severed shirt from the fence and runs off. Meanwhile, the Tillerson brothers reach the Abbott’s house but are told to leave by Celia.
Elsewhere, we see Royal wake up in the middle of a field the next morning amid pouring rain. He eventually gets back home on his horse and sees the boys and Cecilia waiting for him. Royal confirms that Trevor’s body is gone but everyone is concerned about Autumn knowing the truth.
Celia sits down to stitch a deep wound on Royal’s leg — the result of an anonymous gunshot in the dark. Meanwhile, the news of Trevor’s disappearance spreads across town and Deputy Sheriff Joy gets on the case.
She makes her way to the Tillerson’s ranch where Luke urges the police to find their brother. The topic of the voting for the new sheriff comes up and Joy knows she’ll need the Tillersons on her side to win because she’s gay. She then takes a look at the abandoned belt buckle and promises to do her best.
The land issue is still prevalent and the Abbott family lawyer swings by to give his two cents on the situation. He reveals that the ranch has been there for three generations therefore the maps were drawn a long time ago. The Tillerson family is just exploiting these old messed up maps to gain more land.
Royal decides to visit Wayne who is in bed and hooked up to monitors post a surgery. He does his best to negotiate the land situation but Wayne casually mentions that he’s hunting for more. He wants Royal’s grazing pastures just for the sake of it.
Elsewhere, Autumn runs into Perry’s little daughter Amy. The two talk about a strange brand carved into the side of a rock cropping. Autumn mentions that she’s been drawing it since she was a kid and Amy mentions that it looks like the Abbott family brand. This development confuses Autumn but she’s more shocked to realise that Royal is alive and well.
While she’s out conversing with Amy, Royal rides to Autumn’s tent, retrieves his bloody shirt and throws it into the hole. When he gets back home, Royal is visibly shook. He is extremely vocal about moving the cattle away from the west pasture and tells everyone to stay away from Autumn.
Ironically, that night Autumn shows up at the barn and confronts Royal. He asks her a lot of questions about her past which she answers probably truthfully. She reveals to him that she was a part of a cult and did not remember her life before the age of nine until she arrived at the ranch.
She touches on the fact that like her, Royal also doesn’t have his memories before the age of nine (mentioned subtly in the first episode) and fate brought her here. After a little bit of silence she asks Royal about what he saw in the void and he tells her.
The narrative switches to a flashback and we see Royal come out of the hole in the same area but in a different time. His land is now under military surveillance and the sky is purple.
The locals are all surrounding the void along with the military as they carefully study Royal. Suddenly Celia walks up to him and tells him that this isn’t their land anymore and Royal has been dead for two years.
Before he can process what has happened, Billy Tillerson comes out the crowd and shoots Royal in the leg. Celia tells Royal to run and before anyone can apprehend him, he jumps back into the void, returning to his own time.
- Outer Range boasts of a brilliant concept that it has executed well so far.
- The cast, led by Josh Brolin, is spectacular. Every character adds enough mettle to the plot to keep it intriguing.
- The narrative is fresh, gripping, and leaves you with enough unanswered questions to keep the suspense going into the next two episodes which will drop next week.
- Alonso Ruizpalacios’ direction is stellar and sets the perfect mood for a thriller focusing on different dimensions and timelines. If executed well, this has the potential to be America’s Dark.