This is the episode of Final Space I found most frustrating. It had a lot to live up to, what with the previous episode being so dramatic and heartbreaking, but instead we got… well, we got more of Sheryl being awful, which was good, a heartwarming moment between the Final Space family, and… Clarence. Most of this episode, three away from the end of the series, just after we lost a major character to something awful for the second time, just as Gary and Little Cato were supposed to be navigating new territory seemed to be about Clarence doing gross stuff with an alien squid lady. That was completely inexplicable to me until I found out why:
Everything your frustrated about is the network. We had just those two story lines and the network wanted us to cram more jokes and more Clarence in. Sorry. We actually at one point had sooooo much more Sheryl and they made us strip it down. Frustrating yes. But that’s TV, TBS wants American Dad but we’re fighting to make something very different. You’ll find out early in doing TV pick your battles. This one battle I tried to fight and we lost. Which is way it’s not one of my favorites. -Olan
That… explains a lot. Explains why unfunny Tribore stuff has been taking up valuable time the past couple of episodes, for a start. But wait. Sorry, they want this show to be American Dad? They want this beautiful, creative, passionate story about love and life and death to be the pile of racist, misogynist crap that is American Dad? The fuck. The absolute fuck. No other words, sorry. Surely the network execs can’t be that stu-
I mean the network hates episode 4 of Season 2. I thought they were going to pull the plug after seeing it.
I’M SORRY, WHAT? (For context, that episode is the third highest-rated of the whole show and the highest of season two.) I can’t get over this.
Man. As frustrating as this is for me, as a fan, it must be a million times more frustrating for Olan. I’m just relieved he was still able to make some of this episode geniunely emotional. Sheryl turning to baby Gary in his crib and saying “I wish you were never born”punched me right in the gut. And Gary’s little speech at the end made me want to run into the TV screen and just hug everyone, these lovely characters I’ve spent almost a year with now.
Final Space will never, ever, EVER be American Dad, no matter how much the executives fuck about with it.
Final Space fandom seems to be mostly on Twitter! Which is unlucky for me since I don’t use Twitter much. But after the most recent episode I raced through the Twitter tag and founds lots of fantastic fanart which made me Feel Things all over again.
This show has inspired so much good stuff. Please, TV gods, let it get renewed.
So I and the rest of Final Space Fandom were informed in advance that this episode would be the darkest, most depressing episode the show has ever done, but halfway through I was going “This is creepy as hell, but depressing? Nah.” Then the ending came. NOW it’s depressing.
But gaaah, all the good stuff keeps being interrupted by Tribore! I am SO SICK of Tribore, sorry Tribore fans, if you’re out there. The bit about him being able to switch genders is interesting (should I really be saying ‘they’ rather than ‘he’?) but since it was then played essentially for laughs I stopped being interested. There’s so much more you could DO with that rather than what they did. I appreciate that no sort of -phobia seems to exist in the world of Final Space (Shannon appears not to care what gender Tribore is, only that they’re not attracted to her) but everything else about Tribore is just so meh. Get rid of him and have more of H.U.E. tasering people upside the head for being rude to Nightfall. Actually more H.U.E. in general please.
(Big spoilers from here on.) Annnnd now Invictus is loose, Quinn is trapped in what we now know is essentially Hell, and Avacato’s status is… unknown. I loved that Little Cato having two father figures whom he loves equal amounts now came into play. But oh god, the poor dude. He has literally not had a single good thing happen to him in, well, very possibly ever. Now Dad 1 is gone again and Dad 2 is in a medical bay with what looked like at least one lung shot out.
This show continues to have some of the most chilling monster designs I’ve ever seen:
And also, the voice acting in this episode was stellar. Not only did it suddenly throw into sharp relief for me just how good the main cast are (Tika Sumpter sounds completely different as Quinn and Nightfall and seeing Quinn again reminded me how much) but the villain voices for this episode made me shudder. I don’t know how played Phil, who I suspect is actually Invictus, but their voice! Their horrible creepy skin-crawling voice! It was great. And the same thing again in the scene where Gary is possessed.
This show is amazing and it’s only just gotten started.
WHAT AN EPISODE! So I guess we’re in the stretch that everything was building towards now. There’s a big ol’ loop of time travel closing up. Mooncake knew Gary because he already met him. It was the crew which accidentally killed Melanie Dewinter. (Who must have been a pretty shitty person, it turns out, seeing as she was working for the Lord Commander.) Avacato always knew the Lord Commander would murder him. And so on and so forth.
From reading other people’s reactions to this episode, it appears to have reminded a lot of people of Avengers: Endgame, and it does indeed have the same kind of confusing time travel shenanigans. I think I follow it all but I’m not entirely sure.
Is it safe to state that Gary Goodspeed is very quickly advancing his way up my personal list of favourite fictional characters ever? He was wonderful in this episode. Wrenching Little Cato out of the way and taking his place was a true Hero Moment and I loved it.
If only he hadn’t been monologuing at the wrong moment he might have saved the whole world, even! But I don’t think time itself (here represented in the form of a slightly Jar Jar Binks-looking dog-type alien dude) would have allowed that. It looks like time always snaps back into place, with one notable exception…
(here’s that big spoiler Olan warned everyone about!)
…Avocato is back! And I admit, I have mixed feelings about it. Avocato’s death in 1×06 was huge. It changed the whole course and the whole tone of the show. Suddenly, there were proper stakes. Gah, I’ll say it, bringing him back feels like a copout, especially since there was an episode just a few weeks ago about Little Cato letting go of his grief. I don’t doubt something interesting will happen with him, especially since he’s lost all his memories and y’know there’s still that whole “genocidal war criminal” thing to deal with, but… I think he should have stayed dead. Sorry, Avocato.
Anyway. This continues to be very probably my favourite show airing right now and I live in fear it’ll be cancelled before any the beautiful twisty-turny story is fully worked out.
After last week’s mind-bending episode we get a heart-rending one. There aren’t even that many jokes in this episode, which is unusual for Final Space. Instead, Nightfall tries to bring back “her” Gary and realises she can’t. Turns out the universe doesn’t work that way. This all raises the question of how much do our experiences shape our identity, really? Nightfall’s Gary isn’t really “our” Gary, he seems very different, and when it comes down to it Nightfall isn’t Quinn, either, she just looks like her and has some similar (but only similar) memories.
Usually alternate universes bug the heck out of me in most fiction, but in Final Space I don’t mind them.
This episode’s B plot involves a bunch of cloned KVNs turning on Clarence, which actually served to make me like Clarence, disgusting little animal that he is, a bit more. I don’t want or expect him to have much character development because he works so well as what he is, just a gross and greedy weirdo. But a funny one! He seems to have more space to be amusing now that Tribore is out of the way.
Hey, Fox got something to do this episode! I hope they develop his frienemyship with Little Cato. LC was the secret star of this episode I reckon. I especially appreciate his willingness to straight up murder the original KVN. All these characters have been there.
This episode ends with Gary and Nightfall staring sadly out of a window as a bunch of mangled KVNs float majestically by them. That scene seems to sum up Final Space pretty dang well.
Obviously these totally fail to come across in crappy screenshots with the watermark on them, but hopefully you get the idea. The word I keep thinking of is PSYCHEDELIC! This episode was very psychedelic.
This was a mixed bag of a Final Space, because there was stunning art and interesting lore but it was all mixed together with a bunch of unfunny jokes surrounding Tribore, who I only really find tolerable in small doses.
The show also seems to be having trouble with balancing its larger cast now. Fox (or is it Foxx?) was introduced in 2×01 and yet we know nothing about him, he hasn’t really done anything, and he might as well not be there. I find that kinda odd, they must have a plan for him, right? But nowt, so far.
Final Space’s biggest strength continues to be its use of the found-family trope, aka my favourite trope ever especially when it’s in space. There’s never any doubt in my mind that Gary loves Mooncake and Little Cato and they love him. His relationship with the woman who used to be Quinn is a bit more complicated obviously, but I’m guessing they’ll be getting to that pretty soon…
I’m liking this new villain, as I tend to dig villains who are just plain ol’ Ultimate Unknowable Forces of Malice From Beyond the Universe, but also I miss the Lord Commander.
So! Turns out Gary’s mother has been alive all this time. She’s some sort of badass space criminal who’s ended up on death row. Gary announces he wants to see her before she dies. “To save her life?” Little Cato asks. “Oh heavens no. Why would I wanna do that?” says Gary.
And so begins the sort of abusive parent exploration story that sci-fi does so well. In the end Gary can’t of course leave his mother to die, and he sort of vaguely reconnects with her for a few brief moments. And Sheryl Goodspeed is legimately cool! She’s badass, she’s witty, she beats up her captors, she wins over Gary’s crew, she’s likeable. But she’s also a goddamn terrible parent and no amount of space flashniness can change that. She may not have wanted Gary in the first place and she certainly got out of the situation with good speed (sorry) the second he was her solo responsibility.
At the end of the episode, a haunting song plays over Gary’s memories of his mother. It seems that after John’s death she went off the rails, possibly became an alcoholic (she’s briefly seen hurling a wine bottle at a photo of Gary) and finally just left without a single word of comfort for her son.
Space stories are packed to the brim with abusive fathers. I know, I love ’em. But what with Final Space being somewhat of a mash-up of all the good sci-fi tropes, I love so much that it decided to do something fresh and reverse the gender roles. I’ve never actually seen that before, the father as the saintly tragic hero and the mother as the rogueish, heartless villain. You don’t really get all that many unequivocally awful mothers in fiction. We accept that a father might not love his child, for some reason, but a mum? Really?
Sheryl Goodspeed is a horrible, horrible person and I literally cannot wait to see more of her.