Outer Range Season 2 Review: Josh Brolin’s Second Plunge Into Chronological Confusion

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If you only know Outer Range from the title and the image of Josh Brolin wearing a cowboy hat, you would probably be forgiven for assuming that the show was simply Prime Video’s answer to the extremely popular Yellowstone franchise and nothing more. But for good or ill, it is far more than just that.

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The show’s first season, with its ongoing murder mystery and eventual shift into full-on time travel, was more than a little confusing at points; but its strong cast and mostly focused story helped keep things anchored and consistently compelling. Season 2 meanwhile leans hard into the time travel angle and while its ambition is admirable, it becomes abundantly clear that someone lost the plot along the way.

Outer Range Season 2 Plot

A still from Outer Range Season 2
A still from Outer Range Season 2

Our story begins right where the first season left off, with the Abbott family reeling from the sudden disappearance of the youngest member Amy and the ongoing fight to keep their ranch amidst financial struggles and property disputes. In particular, Royal Abbott, played by Josh Brolin, is weighed down by keeping the void of time on their property and his theory that the mysterious Autumn is actually Amy from the future a secret from the rest of the family.

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As sinister forces both familiar and unknown close in on the family, Royal will discover the truth about the void, where he came from, Autumn’s true intentions, and so much more. Whether he likes it or not.

Also Read: Dune: Part Two Review – This Generation’s The Empire Strikes Back

Outer Range Season 2 Critique

Imogen Poots as Autumn in Outer Range Season 2
Imogen Poots as Autumn in Outer Range Season 2

The prevailing thought that ran through my head while watching Outer Range Season 2 was “Did I miss something?” While Season 1 did play around with nonlinear time and strange happenings, it only really did so towards the back half and kept things grounded by having the characters question the bizarre nature of events in the same way the audience would.

By comparison, Season 2 is constantly throwing new and weird elements at the audience. Multiple timelines, characters jumping from one timeline to another, multiple versions of the same character. It’s a lot to take in and the show doesn’t offer a lot of explanation or time to process. On the one hand, it’s hard not to appreciate the effort, but it does end up making the whole thing slightly disorienting.

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Season 2’s story is clearly aiming high and I really wanted to be more invested, but it feels like they needed to take more time and flesh out individual subplots and timelines before doing something like this. Instead, the finished product feels hard to follow and ultimately ends up ringing hollow to be honest since, while the show is clearly attempting to say something, it never becomes clear what that something actually is.

That’s not to say there isn’t anything of value here, far from it. The entire cast gives some very strong performances, the production and set design do a great job of capturing that rural small town feel, and the score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurrians balances an epic scope, classic Western atmosphere, and sci-fi mysteriousness with remarkable gusto.

It’s incredibly difficult to call Outer Range Season 2 bad because….. it isn’t. It’s undeniably well-made by people who care about what they’re making. But with how the difficult the show is to follow and the overly fast-paced nature of the timeline jumps combined with the overly slow-paced nature of the individual episodes and while it may not be bad, it isn’t exactly all that engaging either.

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In Conclusion

Imogen Poots and Josh Brolin as Autumn and Royal in Outer Range Season 2
Imogen Poots and Josh Brolin as Autumn and Royal in Outer Range Season 2

Outer Range Season 1 was far from perfect, but it largely worked for what it was and I hoped Season 2 would be able to iron out the issues and create something that could live up to the show’s potential. Instead, the series’ sophomore outing feels it gives into its worst impulses, focusing on just how many timelines they can juggle instead of telling a focused and emotionally meaningful story within those timelines.

There are plenty of individual production elements and character moments that definitely work, but the plot is overall far too convoluted for its own good. I wish this show was better and maybe it’ll get there in a potential third season, but for now, the most I can muster is a resounding “meh.”

6/10

6 out of 10

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Written by Callie Hanna

Articles Published: 66

Callie Hanna is an up-and-coming writer, aspiring actor, and full-time nerd. She grew up in a small town in Delaware and was instilled with a love for superheroes, science fiction, and all things geeky from an early age. When she's not catching up with her comically large backlog of movies, games, shows, and comics, Callie can be found working, writing, chatting with friends, or browsing the dying husk of Twitter.