'The Outsider' Mid-Credits Scene Explained and How it Could Set Up Season 2

Just as viewers of The Outsider on HBO thought that El Cuco had been well and truly battered to death with a rock, the series hints that he (or another of his kind) could return for another series of episodes. Throughout The Outsider Episode 10, we get a number of hints that we will see El Cuco again, but perhaps the biggest one is in the mid-credits scene, where we see Holly Gibney (played by Cynthia Erivo) with a scratch on her arm.

In this scene, we first see Holly looking in the mirror, when she has a flash of a vision. Worried by this, she checks the back of her neck to see if she has any of the characteristic boils that people possessed by this supernatural being get. However, there is nothing there.

Following this, Holly is sitting on her bed looking at some articles about the Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) case, including one about him being exonerated. As she does this, the camera reveals a scratch on her right arm.

Of course, with the amount of physical exertion that Holly and Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) go through in The Outsider finale, from being shot at to taking on El Cuco in a cave, there are plenty of opportunities for Holly to have been scratched by something not supernatural. Ralph, for example, has a scratch on his face after the events in the cave, so Holly too could have found herself cut in the cave-in.

However, when this scratch has previously been revealed as one of the signs that El Cuco can take someone's form, this may be no coincidence.

the outside holly scratch
'The Outsider' mid-credits scene sees Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo) with a scratch on her arm HBO

How Holly got scratched, however, is not revealed. Fans on the series' Reddit, however, have some theories. One, for example, wrote, "I took it that that wasn't the holly we knew. Holly we knew was another el cuco. That holly with the scratch is the original."

One reading of that mid-credits scene does corroborate this theory. Why would Holly be searching for basic details about the Terry Maitland case, some viewers may wonder, when she was such an integral part of it? This might suggest the Holly we see at the end is a different one from the one we have been following for most of Season 1.

Another user theorised: "My theory is when Holly left Ralph she says she needs to make a few stops before going home. We don't know what she did in that time. I think she gets scratched some time before she gets home and hopefully we get to see it on Season 2 if there is going to be one."

Whether or not viewers believe that this is a sign the HBO show is setting up an evil Holly for Season 2 will depend on whether they believe that El Cuco is dead. The show did make a pretty convincing case that the creature did die, after he was shot and had his head smashed in with a rock.

However, there are also some signs that he did not die. After all, Ralph himself is not sure whether the creature can be killed, as we find out when he says to El Cuco: "I didn't know whether or not you could be killed. I thought you could be like anyone else. Looks like I was wrong."

Even if this El Cuco is dead, the show contains hints that there may be many more creatures like him in the world. One of the questions Holly asks the creature that he is unable to answer is whether there are more of him, which leaves the question open-ended for Season 2.

As towards the end of The Outsider Episode 10 Ralph and Holly say they would like to work together again, this could set up a Season 2 in which the pair end up trying to solve crimes while a creature that look exactly like Holly starts committing these crimes.

So far, HBO has not revealed whether there will be an Outsider Season 2, so we are likely to know more if and when the broadcaster makes an announcement about the future of the Stephen King series.

The Outsider is streaming now on HBO Go and HBO Now