Outer Range season 1 – what is the purpose of the mysterious hole?

By Adam Lock
Published: May 6, 2022 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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Outer Range season 1 – what is the purpose of the mysterious hole?

This article, “what is the purpose of the mysterious hole?” contains spoilers regarding Amazon Prime Video’s Outer Range season 1.

When a mysterious hole appears on Royal Abbott’s land, many strange occurrences take place. This alien portal becomes a catalyst within the series prompting sinful activity and supernatural events. Is the hole a prophecy of doom, the mark of a curse, or just a magical, time-traveling wormhole? Outer Range provides snippets of information throughout its eight-episode run, yet leaves the viewer with more questions than it answers.

Outer Range season 1 – what is the purpose of the mysterious hole?

Royal is the first person to discover the hole, in two separate timelines no less, and seems intrinsically linked with this alien entity. A young Royal happened across the mystical vortex in a tragic flashback, whilst adult Royal finds the hole in the show’s present, in the premiere. He appears to have the strongest connection with the hole out of all the ensemble cast and unearths most of the many secrets buried deep within this black abyss.

The first interaction happened centuries ago in 1886. Royal, no older than a child, went hunting with his father out in the wilderness and accidentally shot him dead. Too ashamed to return home, young Royal ran away, never to see his family ever again. Desperate to disappear, he came across the hallowed hole and stepped into the unknown. This hole seems to magically form whenever misfortune takes place. Royal is teleported from the nineteenth century to 1968. The hole hurls him forwards nearly a hundred years into the swinging sixties. He exits covered in a black substance and startles a young boy at the edge of the pit. This boy happens to be no other than Wayne Tillerson, who scared half to death, flees. The Abbott family takes Royal in and the rest is history.

Royal’s second encounter is in the present after two of his cattle go missing. Presumably, these cows have fallen prey to the hole, but that is never confirmed. Riding around his ranch, Royal comes across this mythical well and inspects it at closer range. He throws a rock in and then dips his hand into the darkness. The hole provides him with a vision of the near future. When he returns home this vision takes place exactly as predicted.

Later in the series, Royal has further visions and is shockingly pushed into the hole by Autumn Rivers. His (second) journey through the portal takes him to a near future, just a few years later, where he happens to be dead and all sorts of unusual activities are taking shape. Cecilia warns him of the coming threat and Royal dives back in, conveniently returning to his present. This all seems pretty random, with the hole not especially playing by any rules. The time-traveling effect has no rhyme or reason, no discernible patterns. Equally frustrating, the black substance, which characters crush or snort, picks and chooses what it reveals. The first time, Royal only sees moments ahead, the next he witnesses his own death. Some visions are evidently more important than others.

This black substance that the hole seems to secrete can be collected and stored in different ways. Autumn carries hers in an amber rock, which she sports around her neck. The Tillerson family are also involved with this delicacy, Wayne has a rock with fragments of the black stained into the material and in the finale Luke discovers a pool of the goo whilst digging numerous holes on his father’s land. Each character has similarly strange and abstract visions, yet we only really see Royal’s versions of events. Even the Deputy Sheriff comes across a black trail which shows her the herd of bison that go stampeding through Luke’s fresh portal.

All in all the solid facts about the hole are kept to a minimum and the many questions surrounding this mysterious vortex remain. We know that going into the hole involves time travel and that the black substance, which is found within the hole, shows visions of the near future. The hole can open and close whenever it likes, although it does tend to appear at critical moments in the character’s lives. The genesis and purpose of the hole is still a mystery. I am sure a second season would answer many questions, yet it would more than likely pose a hell of a lot more.

You can stream Outer Range Season 1 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.

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