It’s safe to say that the season 3A finale of The Outpost wasn’t one of the lightest and joy-filled finales I’ve ever seen. There was a darkness, a sadness that ran through this marvelous final episode that really pulled me in and fostered an even deeper appreciation for the guts this show likes to show. Dean Devlin and crew pulled off a pretty interesting finale and I have to say – I really liked the darker tone. It was unexpected, which I enjoyed.
No, there were plenty of things occurring during the run of this episode that made one pause and wonder “What’s next?” The Outpost, aside from being a fantasy-adventure offering, has always been about family – the family you were born into, fell into, or simply formed around yourself. Last season we saw that family, that wonderfully dysfunctional family, demonstrate just how tight those familial ties bind when The Mistress was killed.
In this year’s finale, “Violence is Futile,” we get another loss. This one, like last season’s, comes in a moment of sacrifice borne out of duty and love for that family. We lost Queen Gwynn, my friends. We lost her in one long jump of a moment that concluded with her hands around Yavalla’s throat and the black and white Kinjes meeting at last. Gwynn destroyed Yavalla in that moment, but also sacrificed herself in the process, putting an emotional capper on an episode with probably more emotional moments than any episode we’ve seen of The Outpost thus far.
In truth, there were multiple occasions for the hankies to come out in this one, but maybe none so gut-wrenching as the realization that Gwynn, who has been with us from the beginning, is now gone – gone in a sacrificial flurry that was, I think, very much worthy of the woman and queen she has become before our eyes. Imogen Waterhouse has done a splendid, and too often unmentioned, job of giving Gwynn room to grow and emerge from a somewhat immature girl to a queen that sees the big picture and her place in it.
Even if that makes it necessary that she sacrifice her life for the good of her friends and her people – her family. It truly was a “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one” moment. Well done, Ms. Waterhouse. You were superb in this role and your loss was a gut-punch to fans of this show. You will be missed and yours is a void that should be interesting to see filled. Hail, Queen Gwynn!!! The social media reaction to this death, and the episode as a whole, has been pretty animated. That’s fun.
But how did Gwynn get the Black Kinj? Ahh, for that we have to travel to the Plain of Ashes where Talon, Wren, Zed and Corven get a little backstory on Talon’s father once they’ve freed him from his bonds. As he regains strength, he explains that he has the Black Kinj and that’s the reason he had to leave his village and family – to keep everyone safe from him. He is the death Corven said was in this place. So, he had led a solitary life in the lava tubes in the Plain of Ashes until Yavalla and her troops came looking for the box.
Turns out Yavalla has had sadistic and ambitious nature for a while. For such an understated baddie, with a calm and serene demeanor, I really came to loathe Yavalla – probably just because she seemed to be so in control and confident. Jaye Griffiths seems to relish in using her considerable talents to bring a loathesome Yavalla to life. A great character and great actor delivering it.
And the myth about the Black Kinj proved to be correct – just a touch will kill people or animals. It was touching to see Talon’s animosity for her father slowly melt away as she began to realize he didn’t run out on his family, but fled to keep them safe from the infection he carried. And that his leaving pained him in equal measure to hers. What’s truly cruel, of course, is you got an inkling that this wasn’t going to turn out to be a happy ending. Let’s be honest, you sense this isn’t going to end in hugs.
From that moment, the key was to find a way for dad, or someone else in possession of the Black Kinj, to touch Yavalla and kill her – and ostensibly the White Kinj. And with The Outpost being overrun, their arrival back at The Outpost was seemingly too late. As an aside, good to see evil Yavalla deciding to do a little monologuing like so many villains of the past. So confident in her victory is she that she’s willing to offer terms to the queen and what’s left of the company of The Outpost. It’s always interesting when a baddie twists the facts to make it seem as though those under attack are at fault.
And then things go from bad to worse as The United storm the keep and people start cutting and slicing and getting infected. That was a little unnerving for me as so much is happening here. Falista (whom I like more and more. Georgia May Foote crushes this role) is able to direct her red Kinj and do some damage before taking an arrow in the belly.
Munt infects Janzo, who puts a rock into the cranium of a delirious Falista he is supposed to be helping (Note the maniacal grin and cackle when doing the deed), Garret is then infected and engages in quite a fun little running sword battle with Zed (I never tire of seeing Reece Ritchie on screen), in which I’d actually give the edge to Zed overall, though it ended with him on his knees awaiting the final thrust.
Wren gets infected as well, so we’re left with Dad, Talon and Gwynn as essentially the only folks that have avoided joining The United – and dad is impaled (Again? Poor guy) by a spear into the throne room wall as we get a little Lu-Qiri action on top of everything else. Really, there’s a ton going on here and so little of it that would make one feel good about things.
Fortunately for everyone, the queen was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Dad pass the Black Kinj onto Gwynn and with the help of Talon’s blade and one bad-ass jump off a jumble of bodies, our beautiful, strong, capable queen was at Yavalla’s throat letting her know that in the end, the prophetess of the Blackbloods had lost. It was a great moment, an emotional moment and one that melded joy that the Kinj menace from Yavalla had ended with the sorrow that Gwynn was gone forever.
This family, this odd-ball, put-together family had lost a vital member and reading the looks on Garret and Talon’s faces was a priceless display of pain and sorrow bubbling to the surface. I thought Jake Stormoen and Jess Green really delivered some intense sadness that was palpable through the screen, It was heart-breaking in its devastation. Gwynn’s death will alter things forever.
And let’s be honest here, Garret Spears cannot catch an emotional break, can he? Since season 2 he seems to rush headlong from one emotional issue to another. And just as he was starting to repair Sana’s damage, someone he loves deeply disintegrates before his eyes. Wow, poignant as hell and I enjoyed it.
But what’s more ominous for our heroes, even as the newly freed people of The Realm bend a knee towards Talon, whom they have silently chosen as their leader, is that No. 2 and No. 3 watch all that has transpired from a hilltop and note that things haven’t ended, but have been set in motion. The black and white Kinjes aren’t dead, they are traveling. No. 2 notes that what has happened at The Outpost will now awaken the Gods, and we see the respective Kinjes travel to separate crypts where they imbed themselves in the foreheads of two very, very unpleasant looking beings.
I’m just guessing here, but I think we got a glimpse of our season 3B antagonists. I’ll say it again, I think there is a secret sect behind The Three and the Prime Order, which was trying to gather all the Kinjes in earlier days (they don’t seem to have been all that successful, getting only 3 of the 7). I’m curious how they play into these new “entities” that we were exposed to in the episode’s final moments.
In some ways, this finale and the death of Gwynn was a definitive corner-turner. The threat of the last couple seasons is now over. There’s a new leader of the Realm and that will be different for Talon, Garret and the crew. There is pain and sorrow that needs to be worked through. And an unknown threat is forming that may be as formidable as Yavalla’s hordes.
Look, I don’t think there’s any doubt that The Outpost has gotten progressively better from one season to another. It has progressed, it has matured, it has become more intricate and interesting, all without sacrificing the fun storytelling that is such a pleasure to enjoy week to week.
Now, the question we all have is when will season 3B be set before us to enjoy? My guess is sometime mid-summer, but in this day and age where few things are as they were, we will have to wait and see. I don’t know about you, but I already am licking my chops at where this story may take us. And hopefully Corven gets brought back through the portal to provide a very interesting dynamic to The Outpost life.
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