This article contains spoilers for Outer Range season 1.
Even showrunner Brian Watkins and his writing team couldn’t answer all the mysteries or twists and turns that they spawned in season 1 of Prime Video’s Outer Range. The premiere season spoonfed audiences a steady pace of the bizarre that built up more and more throughout the season, with the show’s final week arguably giving us the strangest two episodes. Yet while the series keeps piling on the questions, there were finally a few much needed answers as well. Questions like…
What is Royal’s connection with the Void?
The mysterious massive hole in the Abbott land is the epicenter of the Western weirdness that permeates the show, and whether purposeful or accidental, the void and Royal Abbott (Josh Brolin) have a bond. Royal throughout the first season seemed to have an inherent knowledge of the void’s importance, but that wasn’t even the largest mystery when it came to the Abbott family patriarch. It was established that Royal did not remember much of his childhood, that he apparently one day simply appeared on the Abbott Ranch, where he was taken in by his eventual in-laws as a surrogate son. There, he fell in love with Cecilia (Lily Taylor), perpetuated the bloodline and eventually took over the ranch.
At the end of episode 7, Royal reveals to his son Perry (Tom Pelphrey) that he emerged from the void in the 1960s, akin to what audiences witnessed in the form of a recurring nightmare from rival rancher Wayne Tillerson (Will Patton). Tillerson dreamt of his youth when a boy, the same age as him emerged from the darkness of the void and clawed at his leg attempting to escape. Turns out, that boy, covered in the blackness of time travel, was Royal coming through the portal. Royal regails his son with the tale of accidentally shooting his father in a hunting accident in the late 1800’s, and as he ran, he found the void, leapt into the chasm to escape the guilt, and emerged on the other side almost 80 years later.
What will become of Perry?
The Abbottss elder son has had a tough go of things. His wife, Rebecca, has been missing for quite some time. He is trying to be the best dad he can to his daughter, Amy (Olive Ambercrombie) but Perry seems to have lost all hope, often sinking further and further into a bottle and his own depression.Things got even more complicated when one of the Tillerson boys, Trevor (Matt Lauria) mouths off about Rebecca, and a drunken Perry beats him to death. For the remainder of the season, the Abbott family has been trying to hide his crime, until Perry takes it upon himself to confess. Before the final episodes were released, all we knew is the police were on their way to Abbott ranch to pick up Perry. After a chat with Deputy Sheriff Joy (Tamara Podemski), Perry absolves the rest of the Abbott family in his confession, posts bail, and rejoins his family.
Yet even if you’ve never seen the show, you knew that wasn’t the end, right? Perry conveniently has another little chat with Autumn (Imogen Poots), who in her typical way, convinces Perry that there is a grand plan. While audiences don’t see the specifics of the conversation, we do know that she reveals something to Perry about Royal, which is enough for Perry to confront his father about Rebecca’s disappearance. It’s not explicitly said if Royal was directly responsible for Rebecca going missing, but the implication is certainly that Royal suspects the void is likely the cause.
With Royal being the expert in such manners, Perry can sense his father is hiding something. This leads to the aforementioned confession from Royal in regards to his origins, and while Perry seems aghast, he’s not entirely surprised by his father having traveled through time, especially considering Royal has just shown Perry the massive void only moments prior. Perry seems to accept the cosmic event that is happening only inches away from his very feet with some expectancy.
After the reveal, Perry seems to have a moment of clarity, and appears to know what the void wants. He knows that when his father jumped in in the 1880’s, it brought Royal to a better place and time. Without a moment of hesitation, Perry leaps into void. Knowing that leaping into the void is not a death sentence, most audience members were likely just waiting to see where or when Perry ends up. Even stranger though, Perry’s entrance into the void causes the massive hole to seal up, leaving a screaming Royal with no way to go after his son.
Who is Autumn?
This was definitely the twist of the season. Some audience members might say it came out of nowhere, but how is that different than a massive hole that is a portal through time itself appearing in the middle of a Wyoming ranch? The question since episode one is, who is this mysterious stranger? How did she come to find the ranch, how does she have this connection to the land and the mysteries it holds, and how is she so able to so easily manipulate so many people who surround said mystery? The answer is simple: Autumn is the Abbotts’ granddaughter, Amy, evidently from the future.
The heated, violent rivalry between Royal and Autumn has been building throughout the entire season, and has been justifiable considering how manipulative Autumn can be at times. Autumn’s strange ability to get inside the head of Abbott and Tillerson alike, following this reveal though, perhaps makes a little more sense. She was able to convince Perry (her own father) that Royal is dangerous, or that there is something mysterious going on. She was able to seduce the melodic Billy (Noah Reid) and make him a part of her cult and her heart, as the two share some of the most awkward make-out sessions to ever grace a television screen, and this is all because of her knowledge of the future.
As a result, the intensifying confrontation between Grandfather and Granddaughter ultimately becomes deadly. A gun battle in the finale leads to Royal chasing Autumn and Billy down a quiet country road, filling the silence with screeching tires and gunshots, and eventually leading to Billy’s death which also causes the truck carrying Billy and Autumn to flip off the road. When the dust clears, Royal goes to finish the job and kill Autumn, but instead stays his hand, noticing that she has a scar on her forehead. The same scar Amy received just last episode. Royal, once again sensing the connection to the mysterious ‘stranger’ somehow knew immediately that this was Amy.
Yet all of Autumn’s story now makes much more sense knowing that she has all this preexisting knowledge of her family and the land. Outer Range since the very first episode told the tale of the Greek myth of Chronos (read Den of Geek’s explanation of the mythology here), but Autumn begins to reflect another important part of the mythology as soon as she visited the ranch and started talking to her younger self. Amy and Autumn’s story suddenly becomes a never ending loop much like the Ouroboros; the proverbial snake eating its own tail.
Where is the Abbotts’ daughter-in-law, Rebecca?
The interesting thing is we’ve heard Autumn talk to her mom over the phone, perhaps simply a MacGuffin trying to mislead us from thinking she was Amy, or perhaps foreshadowing another massive reveal. As the Abbott family unravels further and further; with Perry missing in time, Royal hunting his own granddaughter, Rhett Abbott (Lewis Pullman) on top of the world after being crowned bull riding champion and wanting to run away with Maria (Isabel Arraiza) and Cecilia knowing the ranch is lost if Perry cannot make his court date, young Amy once again walks away from all the chaos of her family.
As if drawn by an unseen force, Amy wanders away from Cecilia during Rhett’s championship ride. She strolls through the massive crowd, seemingly knowing exactly where she’s going until she hears a woman calling her name. As the backlit figure comes towards her, Amy’s eyes grow larger, and she embraces her mother, Rebecca (Kristen Connelly) who immediately tells her that Amy has to go with her.
One mystery is solved, but several others arise because of this reveal. What was Rebecca doing this entire time? Was she stuck in time? Was she only released because Perry offered himself to the void? Is this actually Rebecca? Is she the one responsible for shaping Amy into the antagonistic cult leader Autumn?
Is the future Royal visited a certainty?
There are many hints that the shocking vision Royal visited early in the season will still come to be. Luke Tillerson is not only there, but has seemingly ravaged the land the way he said he would. Billy is missing. Perry is there, but Amy (the young Amy) is not, meaning the time frame would match up to that being Autumn/Amy’s natural timeline. It also makes sense that the Abbott’s have lost the ranch, and that the Tillerson’s ended up purchasing it, putting the antagonists in control of the land, the resources, and the time traveling mystery buried in it.
Most importantly, Luke takes a shot at Royal, which makes more sense considering he would still harbor anger towards Royal for killing his baby brother.
While nothing is an absolute certainty in this show, and the story has addressed threads of ‘fate vs free will’ several times, it does seem that Royal not killing Autumn has doomed the rancher to his inevitable fate. A future mystery to be solved in a future season, perhaps.