My initial problem with Outcasts is I felt as if I was dropped into the middle of the story. BSG benefited from a four hour mini series. The characters - and their relationships - were introduced gradually as we were shown how and why humanity was in a fight for it's survival. Even the cause of it all was revealed. Outcasts chooses to give us a hell of a lot of exposition to bring us up to speed. Not only that, every single character apparently has some deep dark secret they are fearful of getting out. Somehow Mitchell Hoban is the ONE PERSON who knows all. So, of course, he dies.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me talk a bit about Mitchell. I know I am completely biased, but he was the most interesting character in the first episode. I don't think it's simply the writing. Jamie was clearly one of the better actors in the production and his performance, and that of Hermione's, were the only two that resonated with me. It's part natural talent and part experience. They're both series TV vets. And I actually felt this was one of Jamie's stronger performances. He's usually relegated to playing the good guy or, if the bad guy (see: Dollhouse), it's a character who keeps his emotions very much in check. To play someone unhinged - Lee Adama if he had had a psychotic break and became ruled by paranoia, disillusionment and anger - must have been a welcome challenge. Speaking of Lee, I had to laugh when it was revealed Mitchell was the first to go into the mountains and brought stuff back when no one knew what was out there. Someone on the writing staff was a BSG fan. ;p
While I have no deep desire to see Jamie return to Outcasts, from a story standpoint I am perplexed by killing his character off so soon. Up until the burial, I had my suspicions Mitchell could still be alive and rescued by those living outside the gates of the settlement. It would be a neat reveal to have him return in the closing moments of the first series, re-establishing Mitchell as an antagonist to the president and his plans for the future. And s lot of time was spent setting Mitchell up as the one character who seemed to know something about everyone. So was he just a tool used to lay the groundwork for later revelations?
Apparently, who or what is outside the gates is supposed to be a big mystery, yet I'm 99% sure I have it figured out. The virus, C23, infected the children on the planet. How could they tell they were infected? A halo appeared around their heads. A detail which left me going, "Seriously?" President Tate states the children were quarantined, which is another way of saying they were herded up and left outside the gates of the settlement to die. Mitchell reveals "they" are still out there and willing to take orders from him. Presumably, the "aliens", or two people who dragged Fleur and Cass from their tent, are, in fact, C23 survivors. Because as with any virus that infects people, there are always those who manage to survive. Duh!
There was other stuff we had vague references to that was meant to leave us wanting more, but only reflected shoddy story telling. If others brought their families with them, why not Stella? Did her husband not want to follow her? There doesn't appear to be a reason to not tell us already. Why are guns suddenly being banished? Especially when the settlement has clearly not turned into a utopia where everyone gets along and crime is a thing of the past. President Tate is no Laura Roslin. Or even Bill Adama. The speech that boosted the spirits of those on the transport ship and earned him applause nearly put me to sleep.
Besides Jamie's Mitchell, the only other aspect of the first episode which peaked my interest was Stella hooking up with Tipper. I wouldn't mind seeing that story pursued, but it's likely she's going to be wrapped up in finding her daughter. I don't know any spoilers for future episodes, but I think it's safe to guess Lily made it off the ship and is lost in the wilderness right now.