So I missed last week’s episode of the enjoyable, macabre murder comedy The Out-Laws, but it’s decent so I wanted to make sure I caught up with it properly. I said the last time I reviewed the show that it had not only reached its half-way stage but also found itself on a bit of a hamster-wheel rut: it was repeating a structure that was beginning to wear a bit thin. I hoped that as we got over the hump of the middle part of the series, it would re-up and provide something different as it edged towards its finale.
Episode four followed pretty much the same pattern: family meal, The Prick’s great practical joke and blaming someone else for an act of his own violence (sorry folks, the cat got it), plans of murder hatched and a botched attempt on The Prick’s life. There was, at least, some interesting moral ambiguities in this episode that were cleverly woven into the fabric of its well-followed structure. We concentrated on Bibi in episode four, and her relationship with her son, who was getting himself into trouble at school after he had punched another pupil. She tried to remonstrate with him, telling him that violence was wrong, even though she herself was planning an act of ultimate violence.
In the episode’s failed attempt at The Prick’s life – on a paintball range – she took out another man by mistake, shooting a pellet into his eye and quite probably blinding him for life. This brought back painful memories for her (in every way) and we got to see how she lost her own eye: in a traffic accident, with The Prick driving, a figurine of the Holy Mary exploding from the dashboard on impact with the other car and impaling itself in her eye.
You can’t say The Out-Laws isn’t original.
Elsewhere, we saw Eva succumb to her co-worker’s charms, but at the crucial moment he revealed that he was gay. Just when Eva thought she might be able to let her hair down and have some fun for a change, fate dealt her another blow. What this means in the grand scheme of things I’m not sure, but it did at least provide some sort of character development.
The end of episode four did offer some sort of tipping point: the Dewitt brothers were finally given permission to perform an autopsy on The Prick. We were left to wonder what this might reveal and whether this new information – as it so often does in crime dramas – set the investigators off on a new more focused path.
If the results of the autopsy weren’t forthcoming in episode five (realistically, the Dewitts were told they would have to wait for two weeks for the results), it did precipitate a shift and a change.
The change that I was looking and waiting for was happening, and this was mainly due to a few structural things. First, the sisters had a falling out, deciding that their attempts to off The Prick were getting too dangerous and, well, too rubbish. So they all took a step back into their own lives: Bekka rekindled her romance with Mathias Dewitt; Veerle continued her affair; and Birgit was enjoying domestic bliss.
But it was The Prick that reeled them back in. Thanks to his blackmail and shit stirring, they soon returned to the fray more determined to carry out their task, and in doing so began to take more risks.
Thanks to his blackmailing and shit stirring, they soon returned to the fray more determined to carry out their task, and in doing so began to take more risks. This time they tried to stage a suicide – Veerle stole some Rohypnol from the hospital (almost being caught by Wouter while she was doing so), and they drugged their prey and hung him from the garage rafters. Unfortunately for them, the neighbours managed to rescue him. There was a key difference in this attempt though – their other plans ended in failure but, more importantly, they ended without him knowing an attempt on his life had just taken place. No doubt that episode six will show the fallout of The Prick waking up from his ordeal and wonder what on earth what had just happened. You get a feeling the instalment might just escalate even more.
The Dewitts also unravelled slightly in episode five, when they found out that their father had hung himself (symmetry there between the latest attempt on The Prick’s life) because he was swindling his customers.
But the nicest thing about episode five was Goedele and the way her character developed, albeit in flashback form. We saw her growing frustrated at her husband’s constant blocking when it came to sex, so, after confiding in her sisters, she took home an enormous vibrator. There was a very funny scene where she was beginning to explore it and what it could do for her when The Prick got home early – it was pure farce. But these scenes provided Goedele with an opportunity to start taking back control of her own life, and as she went shopping with her daughter and began to look at the ostentatious underwear in a new light, a quiet smile suggested new-found confidence after years of being manipulated by her awful husband.
For our episode one review, go here
For our episode two review, go here
For our episode three review, go here