Writer Adam Targum and director Howie Deutch break down “Close to Home”—and what the brewing conflict between Anderson and Kyle means.

Not your average episode.

One of the most powerful and intense episodes in the season, “Close to Home” takes the mystery escalating over the last eight episodes and forces Kyle and Rev. Anderson to take action. Episode writer Adam Targum explains what sets this episode apart. “Because we ended the previous episode on such a different tone,” he says, “it was nice to ease the viewers into this sense of calm and then shock them, reminding them what universe we’re living in and that in this episode there’s going to be some shit going down—setting the tone for what’s to come.”

Kyle steps up to the plate.

Circumstance forces Kyle to step up his game, and for the first time, he rises to the challenge. All of the doubt and uncertainty emanating from Kyle grinds to a halt as he gives us a glimpse into the man he was before his life was upheaved by Allison’s possession. Targum notes: “Kyle has decided that he’s done wallowing in his own uncertainty and decides that the only way that things are going to improve is if he actually goes out and brings Allison home.

Kyle and Rev. Anderson—better together.

But as Kyle picks up the pieces, Anderson falls apart—a deliciously tense contradiction that reverses the roles of the warring duo, throwing them together instead of tearing them apart. Kyle and Rev. Anderson’s relationship is a pivotal element of the series, one that “Close to Home” director Howie Deutch emphasized when he chatted with Cinemax.“The relationship between Anderson and Kyle is an interesting dynamic because Kyle doesn’t necessarily feel like he’s got a whole lot of worth in this world,” Deutch explains. “[Kyle] has very little trust for anyone until he meets the one guy in the world who does seem to value him, but for an agenda, and that’s the Reverend. And Anderson, interestingly enough, needs Kyle, because Kyle has the touch. As Anderson is starting to lose his sense of belief and faith, he’s starting to become more dependent on Kyle; he resents him and is jealous.”

Relationships transcend genre.

“So what you have is the nitroglycerin of a good, conflicted relationship, one in which they both need each other. They couldn’t like each other less and couldn’t need each other more,” Deutch points out. “But they grow to love one another. It’s kind of like a marriage. And that’s a great thing for a story because it transcends genre, it transcends horror, and has to do with something that people in an audience can get invested in because this is what they live everyday in their life, too.”