If episode 307 of The Outpost showed us anything, it demonstrated just how quickly things can change in The Realm. Yavalla makes her big play, a trio of our heroes seek to end the Kinj infection, and a new face infiltrates the Outpost with malice in his heart and enjoyment of deviltry on his mind. But I liked this episode a lot. It’s fun when our heroes get put back on their heels with no easy answer to solve the puzzle confronting them. It’s a time for bravery, smarts and the ability hold on. To me, this is a fascinating episode that sets up what’s to come over the next few weeks.
This was an episode of dashed hopes. Let’s face it, as episode 307, “Go Ahead And Run,” progressed, the best-laid plans of all our heroes seemed to be tinged with failure and struggle. But optimism runs rampant within The Outpost fandom, me included, so while it seems there is no path to freedom from Yavalla and a new threat at the Outpost, I look forward to the plot twists that I know are coming our way soon. Until then, however, there’s only a bleak outlook on the immediate horizon.
However, this episode did answer one of the questions that I, and a good score folks from social media have been batting around for a while – Sana’s Kinj. We were partly right in deducing that the Kinj never made it back to The Three. Turns out that Sana’s acolyte would not make it back to the capital. Instead, Jaaris Kromm, a Prime Order captain, relieved him of this Kinj and we get a very painful demonstration of its power to inflict mental pain – even pain that debilitates the Lu-Qiri.
Talon, Zed and Garret meet Kromm and his 8 men on the road, stumbling upon them as the former Prime Order soldiers slaughter some of the infected. Kromm has a very simplistic, sadistic, yet effective method of dealing with the infection – kill them all, let the Gods sort them out. He indicates that the Prime Order is no more, the realm is in chaos and that he and his remnant are on their way to Gallwood Outpost to seek sanctuary. I think we all know where this is headed and, sure enough, that’s what happens.
They part and the soldiers soon stand before the Outpost gates. Janzo, who has been left in charge (“and don’t worry. When you fail, I’ll be right here to take over.” Savage take from Wren), makes a fateful decision – he’ll let them in. Here’s the deal though – as much as we know this was the wrong decision overall, it’s very much a Janzo decision. He is, at his core, a good and compassionate fellow, who tends to err on the side of finding people’s better angels. I adore how Anand Desai-Barochia has played this character and developed him while keeping his basic goodness intact. Yes, he should have sent them packing, but he doesn’t. And from Janzo, we could and should have expected nothing less. Janzo has to be true to himself and he was – and it backfired.
It only took a short time before Jaaris decides to take over the Outpost and bring everyone to heel. He uses his Kinj to let everyone know just how the wind has changed, rendering the Lu-Qiri ineffective, and then decides that finishing the Prime Order’s goal of eliminating Blackbloods is a worthy task. His takeover is quick, it’s lethal and done with the aplomb and ruthlessness of a man that’s confident in his own ability to control any situation he finds himself in. This guy is tough and gritty as shoe leather left in the sun for 2 years. You know what? I like him.
That’s right, I like Jaaris Kromm and see a lot of Everit Dred (another character I loved) in his make-up. I like his confidence, I like his commanding presence, I like his laser-like focus on being brutal and ruthless. Yes, I see a lot of Dred in our new antagonist and within that, I look forward to the day he is gutted like a pig. It’s interesting that The Outpost keeps dialing up characters I take special glee in getting a brutal end. Dred, Yobhan, and now (hopefully) Jaaris.
The man is reprehensible and is clearly not a “big picture” kind of guy. He sees what he wants now and takes it, not looking at the big picture that these people would be better allies than enemies. But, like Janzo, he is who he is. Personally, I hope it’s Zed that runs him through at some point soon. Zed, my money’s on you, bud. Let’s get it done.
Fortunately, Janzo being Janzo also has a benefit. With Kromm telling everyone straight out that the weak, old and young will be sacrificed to ensure food enough for everyone (starve to death and be quick about it). Janzo leaps into action. While the Lu-Qiri can’t stand up to Kromm’s Kinj, they are still useful. Janzo (now with Wren’s rings) goes through the old Blackblood parchment that he’s liberated and is able to communicate with them to have them hunt. He and Munt are able to provide meat to the starving masses. Again, Janzo demonstrates a steely determination. He couldn’t stop Kromm from taking over the Outpost, but he could help those Kromm intends to starve to death. It’s a great Janzo “making lemonade out of lemons” moment. Now, what part will he play in laying Kromm low?
It must be a terrible thing to be trying to fight an opponent like Yavalla, who has eyes everywhere through those infected. She knows Talon, Zed and Garret are on their way to the capital early on thanks to her little spy in the forest. She also has a spy in the Outpost, thanks to some nice little trickeration with the rat and one of her infected. The best-laid plans for keeping Yavalla at bay simply aren’t enough to keep her tentacles out of everyone’s business. That gives her a huge advantage, to be sure.
And it leads our trio into a trap. As you’d expect, they manage to extricate themselves, but the search for Tobin and Gwynn leads them to a sad discovery – Gwynn is starting to waste away. I’m very curious to see how this is resolved and whether we lose someone in the next couple of episode? But Gwynn is gaunt and grey an seemingly nearing the end of the road. And let’s face it, Yavalla isn’t particularly empathetic, telling our trio (through her ruse0 that when one dies, another simply takes their place. That does not bode well for Gwynn, does it? Although I’d think she’d want to keep Gwynn alive as a proxy queen to lead the people. Or, perhaps once the degeneration begins, there is no reversing it other than destroying the kinj? I suspect we are going to see how it’s all done – or if it can be done – next week.
While on the subject of the Capital, Kinj and The Three – there was an interesting moment when Yavalla’s army first arrives at the gates. There were only The Two at that point and they were set to have their army fall on Yavalla’s horde only to find out that the infection was already in the capital and they were powerless to stop Yavalla. Interestingly, one of the 2 seemed to be able to transport himself out of harm’s way. I mean, that’s the only thing I can think of. I don’t think he burned up or was destroyed, i think he somehow was able, with the help of his Kinj, transverse time and place to safety. At least that’s what it looked like to me. The third of The Three was taken into custody and tossed into the dungeons.
And yet, it’s another interesting moment with the Kinj. We still know where six of them are, and perhaps got a clue as to what the power of another one of them was. It was unexpected and certainly gives one plenty to contemplate. These Kinj are a real interesting addition to the story. Just when you suspect they can or can’t do something, they go ahead and show you they can do something unexpected. Anyway, that was my moment of “What was that?” Let’s see if the last of The Three pops up again down the road – perhaps to aid our heroes in the capital?
There was some levity, however, as Garret and Zed got down to cases, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Garret wondered why Zed hated him so much, offering his reasons for hating Zed. Turns out that Zed DOES still have feelings for Talon and that leads our brooding Blackblood to wonder what she could see in Garret. And this becomes a bit of running conversation throughout the episode, with Zed even dragging Talon into the mix at one point.
A great moment in the Night Shade when Garret and Zed are done talking and Zed uses his Kinj to make Garret punch himself in the face. It’s a riot and I can only assume that Reece Ritchie asked to reshoot that scene a couple times to milk maximum satisfaction from it. It was wonderfully childish on some level, but kind of a “last word” moment for the second place finisher in the Talon sweepstakes.
I love the Zed character and the way Reece Ritchie brings him to life. What I think I may love more is this budding bromance between Zed and Garret. I’ve extoled the virtues of Jake Stormoen many times and found the tension between the two to be good fun. There’s an element of youthful school-yard jealousy between the two and an unspoken truth that they may never really understand the other totally. But, in the midst of their little disagreement in Talon’s choice of males, the bonds of the warrior do bring them together on some level. This is another pairing I’d like to see really play out over the last half of this season.
But now it’s out in the open. Zed still has a flame burning for Talon and struggles to see the virtues that Talon sees in Garret. At least Zed was kind enough to admit that “Yes, he is very handsome,” but you can tell he isn’t on-board with this romance. Still, when the bro lays down the “handsome” tag for another bro, that’s a good sign. And they certainly didn’t seem to have any problems fighting together. There was another interesting moment that was kind of funny to me.
As they fought Prime Order guards to get into the building that housed Gwynn and Tobin, there’s a moment where Talon and Zed are fighting away and we see Garret in the lower corner of the screen bent over and breathing heavily. I don’t know why, but I found that to be kind of funny. Someone’s out of fighting shape. Talon’s comment to the captain of the guards was also a good one. “I’ve never been in the military before,” she tells Zed who is a tad incredulous about her innocent and confusing comment to the captain. A good moment.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I found this episode to be a juicy one, like it’s the first taste of a big meal I’m going to simply love. I think Kromm is a wonderfully odious antagonist, while Yavalla seems pretty unbeatable right now. So, on two fronts, our heroes seem to be waging a war it doesn’t look as though they can win. I love it, but also have the strangest feeling we are going to lose someone a bit shocking very soon. Perhaps I’m wrong and we’ll simply have 6 more episodes of fantasy-adventure delight with not losses. But it feels like we’re building up to something big and success will depend on sacrifice. We shall see.
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