I must admit I didn’t think it was going to play out like this. If nothing else, episode 305 of The Outpost left me a little unsettled as I thought the Yavalla-Kinj issue was going to be settled by Janzo and Wren’s considerable mental capabilities. But that was not what transpired, was it? No, the cool-as-a-cucumber Yavalla and her parasitic Kinj lost a small skirmish in the throne room, but the long game was certainly still very much on their collective, hive-mind….minds.
The episode’s title, “Under Yavalla’s Control,” seemed to be almost a mockery of the situation as the episode rolled into its final 15 minutes, but that Yavalla – she’s a crafty one. And in the end, we now have her free with a host of her Kinj-infected disciples (including Tobin), setting about creating their own ‘paradise’ within the realm. That’s right, the baddies are loose and as we saw in the show’s final moments, they are ready to start the process of total indoctrination and Kinj servitude. Sound Borg-like to you? Sure does to me.
NOTE: The Outpost will be switching days later this week. Executive Producer Dean Devlin confirmed that the show will air on Thursday, Nov. 12, at its regular time, but will then move to Sunday nights (9 p.m. ET) beginning Nov. 22.
Jaye Griffths should be lauded for how she has delivered the Yavalla character. She has imbued Yavalla with this icy countenance that is at once calming and somewhat disconcerting, particularly now with the Kinj layered in. Griffiths has really created for us another wonderfully complex character, something this show seems to do with each new face. Of course I’m looking forward to Yavalla and her kinj meeting some ghastly fate, but that’s the beauty of Griffiths’ work – I’m invested in loathing her. There is no higher compliment. Zed, you have one job now – decapitate the ice prophetess. Please?
Remember how I was feeling a bit sad for Zed last week as he has to face a severe crisis of faith (and waxing on about what a great job Reece Ritchie does with this character. See, I did it again)? Well, he seems to have come to grips with the new reality, and while we’re all happy to see that, I admit that this week’s sadness belongs to Tobin. Yes, that handsome rogue who loved a woman, married another woman, and had the misfortune to get bitten by a rat that wasn’t rabid, but carrying a Kinj. See, there’s that relationship again, these parasite Kinj can be carried by rodents it would seem. Is there no end to their diabolical capabilities? Rhetorical question. The answer appears to be “no.”
So yes, the trials and travails of Tobin seem to be multiplying. On some level, he’s kind of season 3’s version of season 2’s Garret. He simply can’t find any positive traction right now, though he doesn’t care as he’s now part of The United – dedicated to the eradication of freewill throughout the realm. Not a very pleasant scenario, is it. Still, Aaron Fontaine’s run as Tobin has been really fun, but also a bit on the down side of late as he is the very definition of having some things thrust at him with little to no choice but to play the game out. And he’s not alone, it would seem. So, how did we get here?
Well, I’ll tell you how – our heroes underestimated the resourcefulness of Yavalla and her Kinj. Simply locking her and Gwynn in those tiny cages was never going to end well. While it seemed to feel like it was a breakthrough, watching Yavalla should have told you things were nowhere near under control. She had a cool and calmness that hinted at simply waiting for an opportunity to turn the tide. And she found it in a random rat running along the ground.
Interesting side note here: We got the answer to Sammy’s apparent detox in the alleyway from last episode. The Kinj do have a gestation period and if they aren’t passed within a certain time, they and their host will die. Gwynn helped us get this information as she began to feel the detox effects in her cage. Fortunately, the rat appeared, Yavalla scooped it up like a veteran rat-catcher, and Gwynn passed her extra Kinj to the rodent. From there, it was an easy matter for Yavalla to control the animal, sending it right at Tobin as he walked through the Outpost. A quick bite on the calf introduced the Kinj into Tobin and he hauled his compliant butt and tattooed chest to the dungeon and effected the other’s release.
Truly an ingenious plan and one that makes a whole boatload of sense now. I was wondering why the emphasis on Tobin, but it became clear that it wasn’t just him, but the prospect of taking control of his army that Yavalla so coveted. Smart, Yavalla…or should I compliment the kinj instead? Honestly, it’s a little hard to know if you should separate the two. One thing is for certain, she will not be easy to send into ‘this good night.” Thanks to Garret for proving that.
In all honesty, I don’t know what Garret was doing in the cells trying to reason with Gwynn. Perhaps his desire to see her back to her good self drove him to make yet another rash and imprudent decision. He should never have gone there, but since he was there, Gwynn took the opportunity to try and choke him out, then Yavalla attempted the old Kinj pass, which he checked with a well-timed blade thrust to her gut. So yeah, problem solved, right? Not so fast, my friends. Turns out, Yavalla is now immune to death by the blade. Yup, she went full resurrection right there in the cell.
So, while I was aghast at Garret’s decision to go down to the cells in the first place, he did come away with some important intel – Yavalla isn’t going to die by conventional means. Unlike poor Sammy who got an accidental gutting by Talon during the capture of Yavalla. Aahhh, Sammy….you didn’t ask for it, but this is the way of the warrior – even if he’s not a warrior. I do believe Talon felt horrible, but it also gave us a look into Gwynn’s angry face. Not a good look for the queen, I must say.
And with Tobin now in thrall via the rat bite (right on the calf, man), the breakout is consummated, a few more disciples get kinj’s, and they make their way outside the gates, gather up Tobin’s army and set off to parts unknown. Look, I thought things were really on a downward trajectory while everyone was inside the outpost. But now, free to roam and assimilate (sorry, Borg talk right there) as they choose – with an army at their backs to enforce things – it would appear that the situation is not only dire, but on the knife edge of being completely out of control.
Am I just being a pessimist here? Because it feels as though this situation has completely escaped the ability of Janzo, Wren, Talon, Garret and Zed to contain or even cure it. Which brings us to an interesting development in the episodes final stages – the ascension of Talon to overall commander of the outpost – with Zed overseeing the blackbloods and Garret the humans. Given the Blackfist reaction to seeing Garret alive again, and the almost immediate desire for his blood (Yobhan would have been proud), I wonder how this united group of very different people will not only get along on a day-to-day basis, but turn the tables on Yavalla and her throng.
I think Zed, as the recently fallen true believer in Yavalla and the paradise scenario, will play a key role in talking some truth into everyone’s lives. You can tell the betrayal of his faith in Yavalla and the dream is a wound that is fresh and deep. Reece Ritchie, you have converted me. I now see the light and warmth that is Zed…and I’m tanning in it nicely, thank you.
It’s interesting in that Talon tells Garret that she’s not the leader kind, but if you’ve watched her over the two-plus seasons, you realize full well that she leads all the time. It’s not a conscious thing she decides to do, it’s a natural expression of who she is as a warrior and a woman. She is a natural-born leader and one that has demonstrated that multiple times. It’s a measure of some humility on her part that she doubts her ability to be that kind of person. Garret, for his part, seems to have no problem understanding these qualities in her. I think even Zed, on some level, understands that not only does she possess leadership skills, but she is the logical bridge between the blackbloods, blackfist and humans. It’s a good moment when they realize their collective fates are now entwined.
Good to see Janzo and Wren go round and round about some issues. The real worry with these two that I have is they’ll think this relationship to death. I grasp that thinking is what they do best, but sometimes you have to just let your instincts be your guide. However, staring at Wren while she sleeps is a bit creepy, Janzo. It caught you a rat this time, but may get you in trouble with your lady-love later. Be in love, but don’t make it uncomfortable, mister Brewmaster. It’s a fine line, straddle it with care.
However, within that, the two have confessed their love to each other in a wonderfully awkward nerdiness, tinged with scientific precision. So, the game is afoot for “Wrenzo” and we’ll see where that leads. I suspect their keen intellect will be needed before this is all over. One thing that struck me about this episode was a healthy does of personal angst amongst the character and the question of trust. There was some heated discussions about trust and what course to take next.
In short, even while held captive, Yavalla was, in essence, still calling the shots a bit – Under Yavalla’s Control, indeed. Now that’s the sign of a real manipulator. Also, always interesting when the “peace and harmony” envoy starts talking about taking people out. It’s at the point that you realize the price for harmony will be paid with some blood, too.
Here’s an impromptu theory I’ll toss out there. As Yavalla and her hive-mind horde begin their travels to the capital (wonder how The Three will feel about The United?), wouldn’t it be interesting if it were Falista and Gertrusha who proved to the biggest impediment to Yavalla’s plans. Let’s be honest, Falista is obviously tough, calculating, cunning and not one easily buffaloed. Similarly, Aunt Gertie is street smart, trusts her instincts and, like Yavalla, can see the whole board when others cannot. I would think that pair would prove a formidable hurdle for Yavalla and her crew to overcome – provided they can keep them at arm’s length. Ahh, that’s the trick now, isn’t it? Anyway, just a little something to ponder as the race to the capital begins.
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