This Outer Range article contains spoilers for episodes 1 and 2.
Amazon Prime Video’s Outer Range was created by Brian Watkins and stars Josh Brolin as family patriarch Royal Abbott, a Wyoming Rancher who discovers a mysterious and massive hole in the outreaches of his land that seems to defy the laws of physics.
The premiere features a narration in the booming voice of Brolin, describing the ancient Greek myth of Kronos (or sometimes ‘Cronos’), the youngest and leader of the mighty Titans, and eventual father of the pantheon of Gods including Zeus himself. It should be addressed that over the millenia, the mythos of Kronos has been confounded with another Greek deity, Chronos, who is the embodiment of time itself. Chronos has become synonymous with time in many different stories and legends, and eventually evolved into who many modern audiences know as ‘Father Time’. The showrunners of Outer Range seem to be using an amalgamated version of the Kronos/Chronos supreme being, borrowing from several derivations of the characters. This article will attempt to keep up, and explain several different mythological threads.
Kronos was the youngest born descendent of the primordial parents, Gaia (the mother representing Earth) and Uranus (the father, representing Heaven and the Sky and ruler of the Universe). Until the birth of their youngest, the two creators were united, but soon Kronos began to grow jealous of his father’s power. Taking to heart the suggestion of Gaia, Kronos, who often wields a scythe or sickle, castrated his father thus separating the heavens and the earth.
One of the more surface level connections we see between Kronos and the story of Outer Range is the simple fact that Kronos was the god of the Harvest, and one of the many symbols that represent him in Greek mythology is that of ‘Grain’. He would be the deity that most farmers, or in the case of Outer Range, ranchers would pray to. As foreboding as the show may seem early on in the first season, it is also interesting to note that the myth reports that under the rule of Kronos, the society of man thrived. Crops flourished, the Greek thrived, and it was highly considered to be a ‘Golden Age’ before Zeus took control of the heavens. It may be that paying tribute to Kronos is how the Abbott ranch has survived for so long, or the deity may hold the key to the future (of which we caught a brief glimpse after Royal emerged from the Void).
The painful and personal injury Kronos committed against his father caused a cosmic separation, which is by no means meant to be a pun. Outer Range describes it as The Void; the space between earth and heaven, or the known and the unknown, and by no coincidence, the title of the pilot episode is ‘The Void’. The Outer Range ‘void’ is a literal abyss found on the Abbott ranch; a massive circular chasm of never ending depth and darkness that seems to also be a gateway that opens time.
This addendum of time travel is the first deviation from the original Titan. As mentioned, Kronos was not at all connected to the passage of time, but Chronos was, hence the term ‘Chronology’. Much like Kronos, some of the myths surrounding Chronos tell that he is responsible for a similar massive cosmic split, as he and Ananke revolved around the primordial egg until they cracked it, forming the separation of earth, sea and sky.
Chronos was often shown to be in the form of a three-headed serpent. The heads of this serpent were those of a man, a bull and a lion, which is interesting to note because of the connection to the show. Outer Range, in its first two episodes have shown a mysterious bison appear for Royal as some sort of dark omen. It is notably, a male bison, or as nomenclature would dictate… a bull. We may have already seen two heads of Chronos in this mysterious version of Wyoming, if Royal and this bull each represent a third of the serpent’s heads.
This ‘Chronos’ also had some fascinating connection to inevitability and chaos, both major thematic devices used within the show. Chronos’s daughter, Ananke, who also often took the form of a serpent, was the goddess of inevitably. Could this be a connection to Royal’s visit to the future when he was shoved into the Void? His wife, Cecilia (Lili Taylor) was the only one to talk to Royal when he visited the ‘other side’ of the void and mentioned that he had died in her arms two years ago. It brings up the question: Is this vision only a possible future, or is it inevitable?
Another side to Chronos, represented by yet another one of his offsprings, is literally, Chaos. The Orphic cult, a fringe religion formed in Ancient Greece believed that Chronos (or time) was the father of both Inevitability and chaos, aspects audiences have certainly been introduced to in the first two episodes of Outer Range. As the mythology evolved through many different cultures, eventually the Roman mythology saw Chronos as a purely malevolent being, bringing nothing but chaos into the world.
What is interesting about the connection between the show and the mythology is the fact that Brian Watkins and his writing team seem to be borrowing the most intriguing and provocative characteristics of Kronos, Chronos or Cronos. How large a part this god or the derivations of the deity may play still remains to be seen, but it seems like a forgone conclusion that audiences can expect more glimpses through time and certainly more chaos. Almost as if… it’s inevitable.
Two new episodes of Outer Range premiere every Friday through May 6 on Prime Video.