TV Recap: The Outpost (Episode 201) – The Plane of Ashes

The Outpost
“We Only Kill To Survive” (Episode 201)
July 11, 2019

Last season on The Outpost, me met Talon (Jessica Green), a young woman who is the last of her kind, the Blackbloods. Talon discovered  she had the power to summon powerful demons, called the Lu-Qiri, from another world (dimension?) and they would fight on her behalf … sort of. She’s still learning how to control this power. Hunted by the Prime Order, who want all Blackbloods dead, Talon  found sanctuary at The Outpost.

There, she met Garret Spears (Jake Stormoen) and a love triangle developed between those two and Lady Gwynn Calkussar (Imogen Waterhouse) (who is really Princess Rosmund), who is hot for Garret. Meanwhile, a nerdy brewer, Janzo (Anand Desai-Barochia), fell in love with Talon but also, proved to be an able sidekick to Talon. Part of the deal with her power is that she needs to know the names of the demons in order to summon them. Helpfully, there is the Vex Rezicon, The  Book of Names, that would help with this but Talon and Janzo are only able to recover a burned page from the Book. Also, they need a Dragman to decipher the Book.

There are a bunch of other characters and a whole plot about parasites called Plaguelings  but, you’ll pick it all up. And, if you need to know more, you can catch up on all of our recaps from Season 1 here.  Now, on to the Season 2 premiere of The Outpost, “We Only Kill To Survive” … BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!

Photo: Aleksander Letic/NBCU International

The Ruins of Dun-Ebdin.  Garret and his men, still on the hunt for Dred, come to the ruined town of Dun-Ebdin. Garret schools a youngster in the town’s lore. When the Prime Order overthrew the Royals, Lord Ebdin refused to pledge fealty. They strung up the Lord as a traitor (his bones still hang with his traitor’s sign) and sacked the city. This is an (another) example of why they need to stop Dred before he can reach the capital and summon the entire Prime Order. Dred is inside the ruined fortress of the town.

Photo: Aleksander Letic/NBCU International

In the bowels of the ruined fortress, Dred (Philip Brodie) and Essa Khan (Sonalii Castillo) ambush Garret and his men, swiftly killing almost all of them. Down to the two men, Garret and Dred face off in a final sword battle. Garret bests his foe but then takes a moment to monologue before snicking Dred’s head from his shoulders. Unfortunately, a sword sprouts from his chest. Garret collapses, seemingly dead and Essa Khan looks on with her bloodied sword, a wildness in her eyes. The scaredy cat youngster soldier from earlier flees the scene. Hopefully to spread the word.  Garret can’t really be dead, can he?!?

Opening Credits.

The Outpost. Ilyin, n/k/a The Dragman (Elizabeth Birkner), and Talon are working on names and Dragman hands Talon the same name as she’s already given her. Talon has a confused because there are supposed a ton of demons on the other side of the portal, the kinds of numbers Talon thinks she needs to help Gwynn defeat the Prime Order. Dragman isn’t budging though, so this name is it for now.

Talon does her thing and a portal opens. A demon steps through and then a Blackblood female comes through with it. What The?!? Talon has the same surprised look we do.

Flashback Time! Young Talon (Bella Padden) is hunting with a man, Myron (Patrick O’Donnell), and a young girl in a snowy forest. She hesitates to take down the deer-like creature, saying her people have taught her not to take what isn’t given. The man tell her that you have to enjoy the hunt but you know, food and all.

“We only kill to survive.”

The man and the other young girl miss their mark driving the deer-creature into the forest. Young Talon sucks it up and lands a 1 in a million shot, bringing down the beast. Young Talon has got the skillz that killz, y’all. The man tries to comfort Young Talon that “Remmick” will feed them for a whole winter and they’ll be thankful to it everytime they eat.

Back in the camp, Myron’s lady chastises Young Talon, semi-playfully, about cutting off the tips of her ears. This is not the first time they’ve had this conversation. The lady sends Young Talon to fetch water so they can get down to the cooking of Remmick.

A man is watching Young Talon at the nearby frozen stream.

Back in the camp, Young Talon finds Myron and company all very dead. A man emerges from behind a tent and begins talking to Young Talon as if they are acquainted. Meet Varlek (Milos Timotijevic), a Blackblood, that says he knew Young Talon’s mother and Talon herself. He admits that it’s been awhile though since they’ve seen each other. He is giving off a strong predator vibe and, when Young Talon shows no interest in going with him willingly, grabs her. I should note he has a strange tattoo or marking on his right temple.

Varlek says that Young Talon’s mother passed the Asterkinj to her so that Young Talon could pass it on to him.  Convenient. He breaths and activates Young Talon’s powers. She kicks him in the shin before anything can happen but trips as she starts to run away. As Varlek bears down on her, she flips a dagger hilt deep into his chest.

Young Talon retrieves her dagger from Varlek’s corpse and repeats Myron’s words, “we only kill to survive.” RIP Varlek, you were creepy as fuck.

Photo: Aleksander Letic/NBCU International

Back in the present. Talon is posed for battle and commands the Lu-Qiri to attack this strange woman.

“Ekkundi is not your Lu-Qiri, he is mine.”

The portal closes and the strange woman notices the peculiar look that Talon is giving her. She realizes that Talon has seen someone with the same markings on their temple as this woman has. Talon doesn’t deny it and says that the man is now dead. The woman is all kind of pissed of now because Varlek was her brother. She commands the demon to attack and Talon goes flying. The woman stands over Talon’s prone body as Talon passes out.

Commercials.

We come back to Janzo, down in his lab, relating the end of last season when Talon kissed him and said she loved him. And how, if Garret “muscle boy” Spears was out of the way, maybe things could be different between them.  I should note that Janzo’s relating this all to a captive audience, a Plagueling.  The Plagueling does not seem to be digging this story. Naya (Amita Suman) catches Janzo  chatting up the Plagueling which causes him to almost blow himself up.

Photo: Aleksander Letic/NBCU International

Smooth Janzo, smooth.

Hearing that he’s still working on the Plagueling problem, Naya asks Janzo when he last slept?

“Janzo can sleep once he solves the plague.”

Brother, if you’re talking about yourself in the third person, you’re probably well overdue for sleep.

Naya is confused because didn’t we learn last season that if people stop taking colipsum, they stop becoming Plaguelings?!? Yes, Janzo condescends, but then points out that people aren’t stopping taking colipsum and calls Naya a “silly little girl.” Slow your roll there, big shot.

Munt (Adam Johnson) joins the party on the Mistress’s orders for Janzo to make himself useful. Also, they need more wine. Munt offers to dispose of Janzo latest dead body but Janzo really just wants to be able to work in peace … and talk to his pet Plagueling about Talon, presumably. Naya tells Janzo that Queen Rosmund wants to speak with him … now.

Out by the drilling soldiers, Gwynn implores Marshal Wythers to double his efforts to discover the traitor that set Dred free. Wythers is amused that Gwynn wants him to spy for her and moves on to other business. He gives her some unsolicited advice that her soldiers are exhausted and need a break. And, if they don’t get a break, when Dred shows up, they’ll desert and fight for Dred instead … unless she gives them a reason to love her (and fight for her).

Besides, Wythers promises, Garret will find Dred. Find him, sure. But stop him? Wellllll.

Photo: Aleksander Letic/NBCU International

Naya and Janzo arrive and Gwynn asks what progress has been made to the Plagueling cure? Janzo says he’s just getting started but, he’s going to need more test subjects. No problem, replies Gwynn, since colipsum has only become more prevalent since she outlawed it. Wythers chimes in that people cannot resist forbidden things.

“Yes, well, rather than explaining to me why my laws are disobeyed, how about you enforce them Marshal? And find me that traitor.”

The Marshal takes his leave and its awkward for everyone. Gwynn asks Janzo, who she still calls “brewer” and it makes me laugh because homeboy is super full of himself right now, if he’s seen Talon? Nope and he takes his leave to go find her. As he departs, Gwynn hollers after him that without a cure, they’ll all be Plaguelings before the Prime Order even arrives. To his back, Gwynn tells Naya that Janzo is a “strange, strange man.” Word, Gwynn. Word.

Down in a sewer-like maze, a man wanders through taking hits of colipsum. He stumbles upon some men doing … something with caged Plaguelings, and gets knocked over the head for his troubles.

Commercials.

We come back to the man awakening and finding himself among the dead and Plaguelings. Munt comes in and says he thought he killed the man so, now he’ll have to kill him again. The Mistress enters and tells Munt this man, Brogan (Nikola Rakocevic), is his new brother.

“Welcome to the family, brother.”

Munt is very happy now. The Mistress explains that Brogan is joining the operation to smuggle colipsum out of The Outpost. He’ll be working with Sill.  Brogan is all, “where the hell am I?!?” and The Mistress explains that his shithole is the realm’s one and only, all natural, Colipsum Farm!

Just now, The Mistress spots all the dead bodies and compliments Munt on being so busy. For his part, Brogan is just trying not to vomit from the stench. The Mistress explains that the more Plagueling bodies, the more colipsum they can grow. And, you get used to the smell. Munt mentions that the Greyskins reached out that they have another shipment ready but The Mistress isn’t interested in doing any business with them.

Munt leaves and The Mistress tells Brogan that he’s the brains of the operation now, so he has to act like it. He responds by vomiting on the floor.

Cut to Janzo waking up Talon.  He asks about the cut on her temple and she worries the Blackblood cut out the creature that lives inside her. But, no worries, the blue glow travels up Talon’s body and back to its normal spot. Talon muses that it mustn’t have wanted the Blackblood to take it. Janzo is all, “wait, what?!?”

Talon catches him up about the single name from the Dragman, the Lu-Qiri and the Blackblood that came through the portal and their fight. Which is when Talon realizes that the Dragman is gone. We have to find her!

Outside, Janzo gives his interpretation of the facts and suggests that the Dragman only supplied one name and then disappeared with the Blackblood that came through. Ergo, the Dragman cannot be trusted …

Commercials.

In the forest, Janzo chirps incessantly about darkness falling and that Plaguelings will be appearing soon. No one, meaning Talon, asked you to come along Janzo so stuff it. Talon agrees with me.

Varlek’s Sister (her name is Rebb but we don’t learn that tonight, played by Lilli Hollunder) appears and Talon asks after the Dragman. Rebb says she’s safe and they get into a discussion about the Blackbloods. After hearing that all the Blackbloods, save Talon, were killed in this world, Rebb drops a bomb that hundred of Blackbloods live in the Plane of Ashes on the other side of the Portal. Varlek, and now Varlek’s Sister, were on a mission to free them from their banishment.

Rebb demands that Talon do her duty and open the portal so the rest of the Blackbloods can come through. Janzo pipes up that this isn’t a great plan and Talon agrees that if the idea is for Blackbloods to kill innocent humans then, she and this woman are not the same people.

“No human is innocent.”

Rebb turns her back, saying they are not enemies, that they want the same thing. But, Talon makes clear she really just wants the Dragman back and attacks. The Lu-Qiri drops down from … I don’t know where, I guess a tree, and bitch slaps Talon across the field. Again.

Talon gets up and takes another run at the Lu-Qiri. Same result. The next time, Talon just roars in its face … and it roars back. She realizes that it’s been told not to kill Talon and Rebb says that she needs Talon alive … at least until she gets the Asterkinj from her.

Talon goes to attack again but Janzo stops her saying that getting beat up willingly when the Dragman isn’t even here makes no sense. Which, true.

Photo: Aleksander Letic/NBCU International

Talon relents and promises Rebb they’ll meet again soon. Cool cool cool, replies Rebb. She tells Talon that she’ll realize they are not really enemies. Talon and Janzo bounce.

The Outpost.  Talon and Janzo are escorted from the gate directly to Gwynn. In the throne room, Naya is trying to get Gwynn to Queen it up, impressions are important, but Gwynn really isn’t feeling it. When Talon enters, Gwynn takes off the crown but Talon says its no use trying to act like she’s not royalty.

“Won’t change anything between us.”

They sit and Gwynn tries to encourage Talon to get past her jealousy issues. Talon is all, “the fuck is wrong with you?!?” and lays into Gwynn about saving Dred so she could execute him herself and then letting him escape. Gwynn snipes back that she had a duty and should have gone with Garret to find Dred instead of choosing to save Janzo.

Talon accuses Gwynn of treating her not like a friend but only as a weapon. Gwynn, to her credit, doesn’t sugar coat it and says that she can be both – friend AND weapon. Talon tells her about the Dragman, the Lu-Qiri and the Blackblood, and how they all escaped.

“Still want to be friends?”

Gwynn starts talking about a responsibility and Talon cuts her off, saying she’ll do whatever is necessary to get the Dragman back.

The next day, Gwynn is surveying her troops and approaches one man who has been on duty for a whole day. She gives him a cycle off and free drinks at the Night Shade. Good to see her taking Wythers advice here. Just then, the scaredy cat soldier from the opening scene comes riding through the gates. He tells the assembled crowd, which now includes Talon, that Garret and everyone else are dead. Gwynn breaks down into tears as Wythers beats the soldier bloody, accusing him of being a coward and a liar. After he’s dragged off, Talon has her turn and the soldier tells her it happened at Dun-Ebdin by Dred … and some woman.

Commercials.

We come back from break as Marshal enters Gwynn’s chambers. She’s still crying and extends her sympathies to Marshal, calling Garret a hero. He tells her that he is leaving to bring Garret’s body back as he deserves a proper final resting place. After a feeble attempt to object she hugs him and tells him to go bring Garret home.

In the courtyard, Wythers finds Talong saddling up and they squabble about whether she’s coming or not to retrieve Garret’s body. She changes tack and says she needs to go after Dred. Marshal, correctly, points out that he’s had a 10-day head start and he’s surely to the capital by now. And, as good as Talon is, he says, not even she can get passed “the stone walls, steel doors, and an army of Red Guard.”  I have to do something, she implores.

Marshal tells Talon that she needs to stay at The Outpost and summon as many things as she can to help Gwynn defeat the Prime Order once and for all.

“I hate it when you’re right.”
“I’m always right.”

Wythers saddles up and rides out of The Outpost’s gates. He stops for a quick goodbye wave from The Mistress and then turns his horse to finding his son’s body.

Commercials.

Talon is trying her best to drink herself into oblivion, despite Janzo’s nagging that she’s had enough. Gwynn comes in and they compliment each other on looking horrible. She agrees that booze are the answer and sits Talon down for drinks and a game of Octor until they pass out. She has Janzo bar the doors so no one comes in. Gwynn tells Talon that she’s her only real friend left and Talon pities her for that … and then beats Gwynn soundly. They drink.

That night, Naya is giving Gwynn a bath while her Majesty talks about Dred bringing the Prime Order to The Outpost. Gwynn’s existence as a royal, threatens the Prime Order’s existence.

“Without a royal to follow, they can’t bow down to the Three. I threaten their very existence.”

When Gwynn nixes Naya’s suggestion to hide, the handmaiden proposes that Gwynn approach the barons and baronesses that the Prime Order disenfranchised. They may be more apt to follow a royal than the Prime Order which stripped them of their ancestral rights and titles. And, if Dred’s going to tell everyone about the uprising at The Outpost anyway, what does it matter if Gwynn’s reveals the rebellion first?

Naya convinces Gwynn of the soundness of her plan by reminding the Queen that there is a spy for Dred somewhere within The Outpost so the rebellion is going to leak eventually, anyway. Gwynn is convinced to call the nobles to arms, to stand with her against the Prime Order.

The Forest. Rebb and the Dragman shoot the shit. The Dragman explains that the Purpose has been handed down through the generations of her family, through the female line. Rebb mentions she knew the Dragman’s great grandmother … which would make Rebb over 300 years old.

“Time is not the same in the Plane of Ashes.”

Rebb explains that she’ll do whatever it takes to bring her people home; that it’s time for “a Pureborn to take the Asterkinj.”  The Dragman tells her captor that if Talon does not give her the Asterkinj, it cannot be taken from her. Rebb sits VERY close to the little girl and assures her that Talon will giver the Asterkinj, it’s just a matter of whether it’ll be through the easy way or the painful way.

The Dragman looks forward, pretty sure that she plays into the “painful way.”

And Scene.

***

Thoughts.  What a fun, engrossing Summer fantasy show The Outpost is. Over the intervening year, I forgot how much I enjoyed the plotting and overall vibe of this series. Season 2 hit the ground tonight, introducing a new arc for the season, the intriguing Plane of Ashes and the existence of hundreds of Blackbloods … the likes of which have not been seen since Talon was a little girl.

Rebb’s confident insistence that Talon will come to her again, not as enemies but as allies, together with the role that the Dragman will play in the whole thing, promises to be a season full of solid stories. Jessica Green has grown and fully matured into the role of Talon and really owned her presence tonight. Matched well against Gwynn in their few interactions and even more so against Rebb, we are getting to see how much development the character has undergone in a year (two weeks in the show’s timeline).

Obviously, we need to talk about that cold open … Garret cannot REALLY be dead, can he?!? I refuse to believe it and I am pretty sure there isn’t going to be anything for Marshal to find when he arrives at Dun-Ebdin … launching him into his own quest this season. Meanwhile, The Outpost holds its breath, waiting for the Prime Order to strike.

Brogan and Munt and The Mistress brought the comedy relief tonight. It’s going to be fun to watch how Brogan assimilates into this world and how The Mistress’s home grown Colipsum Farm thrives. Always good for a laugh, that crowd.

The only sour note for me tonight was Janzo. Jesus Fucking Christ, he’s annoying. Was he this annoying last year? Have I just forgotten? When can we have him make out with a Plagueling and be done with his simpering and whining and condescension? Please and thank you.

The Outpost airs on The CW on Thursday nights at 9pm (ET/PT).  Join me next week for Episode 202 of The Outpost, “This Is One Strange Town.”

***

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