The second season of WGN America’s “Outsiders” has been a wild ride thus far, with the Farrell Clan’s battle against the city that wants to oust them from their mountain seemingly taking a backseat. Instead, much of the season has focused on the politics within the mountain family and what each of them means to their overall survival.
However, the true nature of the show has come back into sharp focus with the revelation that the coal company poisoned the Farrell’s crops and source of drinking water, leading to a truly heartbreaking episode in March 28’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.”
After being taken captive by the Farrells, coal company employee Haylie (Francie Swift) has realized just how dire the circumstances the family is facing are. When she was down in Blacksburg making decisions about those who lived on the mountain, it was all easy for her — there was a disconnect. Realizing that her company’s choices have not only endangered the Farrells’ way of life but directly led to the death of a child was a shocking moment for Haylie.
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This is a character who has always looked, first and foremost, at the bottom line. It was always about the financial gain of her company. Being confronted with the reality of what she’s doing — and the toll is takes on her fellow humans — is no easy pill to swallow… But swallow it she does.
That’s why, even though many of the Farrells want her dead, she ends up escaping the mountain and seems resolved to change things. Armed with bottles of the now-poisoned water, Haylie can start demanding some answers from her employers, who carried out the odious task of dropping chemicals onto the mountain without her.
Given the ongoing battle between the clan and the mountain, there’s no better ally the Farrells can ask for than the very person bent on relocating them, to mine all they can from the land. Perhaps this is just the change of heart the town needs, to realize their neighbors up the hill matter more than they have believed in the past.
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In a world where the government is making big decisions about how to treat the environment and how it will impact those who live on this earth in the coming decades, for “Outsiders” to take this route with their story makes for an interesting analogy. It’s easy enough to make sweeping changes when you aren’t confronted with those directly impacted by them. When you come face-to-face with the damage you cause though, that’s when making those changes gets difficult.
“Outsiders” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WGN America.
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