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The Outpost - Two Heads Are Better Than None - Review: Bound By Honor

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The Outpost charged full speed ahead into its second episode unleashing new mythology, a Blackblood prophecy, and much more. While the first episode was a strong launching point for the series this one definitely showed all that the show is capable of. With the obligatory exposition taken care of in the first episode, the writers were free to dive deeper into the mythology that will drive this show forward. They also started to flesh out the other main characters of the series.

In this episode, new characters were introduced and others showed their true colors. After the massive cliffhanger from the premiere, Talon’s life was left in a very precarious state. Last we saw of her she was being whisked away by a mysterious stranger, a stranger known to Talon and the audience only as the Smith (Kevin McNally). He seems to have a very keen interest in Talon. He seemingly knew who she was from the moment he laid eyes on her at the Nightshade. If he knew she survived the massacre how is it that he hadn’t sought her out until now? And how exactly does he know so much about what the Blackblood people are capable of including the Blackblood prophecy? How was he so certain the prophecy was about Talon? More importantly, how was he so certain Talon’s quest for vengeance would bring her to that specific outpost? He knew more about her than he probably should and there are still so many questions surrounding him.

We don’t know anything about Talon’s father, could this man be him? Could the miraculous event that the Smith laid witness to be Talon’s birth? He tended to her with an almost paternal touch and was quick to act when she was struggling to get her jacket on. He cares perhaps a bit more than as just some man hoping to see a prophecy come true. That would certainly be an interesting twist if he turned out to be her father. He could be a very good teacher for Talon if she’ll slow down long enough to be taught instead of acting on her primal need for revenge. Hopefully, in the future, however, he’ll remember to tell her to do the exact opposite of what he wants her to do. Talon clearly doesn’t follow directions all that well and likes to handle things her own way. But this is all a moot point until she learns to start to trust others again. Until then he’ll just have to keep trying to guide her from a distance. Luckily for Talon, she’s in a place where people have already come to care about what happens to her, whether she wants them to or not.

One of the most ridiculous things in television is when a show critically injures a character then the very next episode they are up and about like nothing happened. Despite Talon healing quickly she still struggled with her injuries throughout the majority of the hour. That meant she needed help, even though she was reluctant to accept it. She might be a person that would rather go about life on her own, but her newfound companions don’t seem keen to let her suffer on her own anymore. Janzo was a particularly big help despite how often she likes to slam him around. It’s pretty clear that he has already started to weasel his way into her good graces. He somehow knew she was a Blackblood before her first drop of blood was spilled in the outpost and it didn’t matter to him. He is intrigued by her and genuinely wants to help her, at risk to himself. Janzo is a character one can’t help but love as is evident by the fact that he even manages to get occasional half-smiles from Talon, not an easy task. Anand Desai-Barochia wasn’t in the premiere very much so it was hard to get a gauge on him, but it can now be said that he is brilliant in this role.

It will be curious to learn more about Janzo. He seems almost subservient to the Mistress (Robyn Malcolm). She doesn’t seem like an overly nice woman, so it’ll be interesting to find out how he got tied up with her. He also had a very gentle kind hand when tending to Talon’s wounds. He seems to be too good-hearted to be associated with the Mistress. And last week Garret said that only those running from something come to the outpost, so what is Janzo running from? What sort of trouble could a brewer and alchemist have gotten himself into? There is definitely more to him than the bright-eyed brewer who is willing to risk his life for a practical stranger.

Then again, that was going around a lot in this episode. Talon is a virtual stranger to everyone yet so many people came to her aid despite the great personal risk. Gwynn, who Talon didn’t exactly treat very nicely, quite literally bonded herself to Talon in order to save her life. Gwynn took a great personal risk despite knowing that Talon didn’t kill Toru for her. Out of nothing more than gratitude for eliminating their mutual enemy, she charged into a dangerous situation and stood before Withers to demand Talon’s freedom. Then, when that wasn’t enough she took a hard stand with her own father demanding that he release Talon to her bond. Gwynn clearly has a lot of pull and she could have used it for anything yet she chose to use it on Talon. And Gwynn was very proud of herself as was evident by the smirk she shot at Withers when she earned Talon’s freedom. At first glance, Gwynn is a spoiled privileged woman, but there is so much more to her than that. She does have influential pull but she also has an equally strong sense of honor to back it up. Gwynn and Talon are polar opposites, yet they also have more in common than either might like to admit. It will be interesting to see how Talon handles herself when her actions affect the life of a woman who risked everything for her.

Then there is Garret who has a vested interest in both women. He will have his hands full trying to keep both of these strong-willed, stubborn women from either killing each other or getting killed. He probably wasn’t planning to add that to his list of things to do which also includes helping lead a rebellion to overthrow the Prime Order. Now, what is a bit odd is why he can’t be with Gwynn. Her father made it very clear that Gwynn and Garret’s relationship is not allowed. Who is she promised to? And why? Her father hates the Prime Order so surely she isn’t promised to someone from the Order, but who then? One thing is for sure when that person arrives on the scene things will become even more complicated for Garret and Gwynn.

The writers are seemingly setting up a love triangle involving Garret, Gwynn, and Talon, but this doesn’t seem like it’ll be a traditional love triangle. There seems to be a mysterious fourth factor that we’ve yet to meet. Garret has feelings for Gwynn but can’t be with her for risk of his life. Garret likes Talon, but she doesn’t seem in the market for a relationship at the moment. Gwynn loves Garret but is promised to another person whom she presumably doesn’t love. Quick note on that, why was she able to use her immense influence to save Talon but not be allowed to be with the man she loves? Then there is Talon who seems to care less about the relationship antics going on around her. It will be curious to see with whom the writers eventually pair her. There are several potential partners for her. Will they go with something traditional or take her down a route that can’t yet be predicted? Or will they do something completely wild and just let her be single while the others fumble through their complicated matters of the heart? It’ll be fun to watch no matter what path they choose.

At the center of all this chaos is Talon. She isn’t one to be open about her feelings and she doesn’t trust people. But for a brief moment, the audience got to see a tiny glimpse of the scared child that still lives inside of her. When she spoke of the massacre to Garret, her tone was strong, but her voice fluttered with emotion. There was a deep cavern of pain showing through in her eyes. She can’t see past her need for vengeance because it seems like it’s all she feels like she has left. She did seem genuinely remorseful when she apologized to Garret for letting him down and betraying his trust. Slowly, but surely, she seems to be realizing that she isn’t as alone in this fight as she thinks. When Gwynn burst into the execution room followed by Garret there was this look of surprise in her eyes and maybe a bit of gratitude. She genuinely didn’t think anyone would care enough to come for her and here Gwynn and Garret came charging in prepared to fight for the life of a virtual stranger. By the end of the hour, to repay her debt, Talon helped save Garret. This is a group that will go above and beyond for each other. Talon might be starting to accept that, without realizing it, she was brought into the fold. Make no mistake, Talon isn’t going to make things easy on them, but she is starting to come around. Without realizing it she may have stumbled into the start of a new chapter of her life. A chapter where she is no longer alone.

This was a strong episode and set up a lot of great mythology including Talon’s ability to call demons and banish them. The latter of which she’d better learn pronto since in her fever and drug-induced stupor she let a demon loose on the outpost. And the bond that Talon and Gwynn now share is sure to cause some interesting drama, but it’ll also be nice to perhaps see these two actually build a real bond of friendship. A lot of great plot points were set into motion ensuring that this should be a great freshman outing for the series. While the episode was very well written, it was the performances that really sold the story. Jake Stormoen is brilliant showing all the different sides to Garret. There really is more to the character than meets the eye and he sells that to the audience with charm and charisma. Imogen Waterhouse took a character that could be seen as snobby and turned Gwynn into a multilayered character who in reality does care greatly about others perhaps more than her own well-being. In the scene between Gwynn and her father where she is pleading for Talon’s life, there is a world of emotion in her eyes. She is desperate to save Talon and the surge of concern that flashes through Waterhouse’s eyes in that moment beautifully sold Gwynn’s honest conviction that she does sincerely care about her newfound friend. That is a friendship that will be fun to watch develop because Waterhouse and Jessica Green have an interesting dynamic together. Then there is Andrew Howard who makes it so easy to hate Marshal Withers, but at the same time see that there is perhaps a more honorable side to him. Anand Desai-Barochia is just a pleasure to watch. He has already made Janzo a favorite.

While the whole cast is on point the majority of the weight of this series rests on the shoulders of Jessica Green. If she can’t deliver it won’t matter how amazing the rest of the cast is, thankfully, not only does she deliver, she excels. There were a few shaky points in the series premiere, but she carried through delivering a strong start to the series. In this episode, she really got to shine. She stunningly showed Talon’s pain not just physical but psychological as well. This is a woman that has been through hell and is just trying to survive whatever the universe throws at her. The character is thoughtful and sincere, but independent and fierce. Green has the physicality to bring Talon’s tough side to life but she also clearly possesses a deep soul that aids her in bringing great depth to Talon. Jessica Green is Talon and she not only carries this series with grace and strength, but she will help it keep growing and evolving.

This is a unique show because it seemingly doesn’t fit in with the current flashy over the top nature of most other shows. It doesn’t have top-notch CGI special effects or big flashy sets and all of that is okay because the creators and writers have chosen to put the story over flash. That’s a refreshing change from the norm. The mythology for this series is complex, but clearly well thought out. This is a series that some will adore and others will shrug off. Their loss. They are missing out simply because The Outpost doesn't check all the flashy boxes they have come to synonymously link with quality television. Flash doesn't always equal amazing television. Quality television is defined by the writing and the performing both of which this show excels at. The truth is the need for over the top flashy visuals is a product of the twenty-first century and this show is a call back to action-adventure fantasy shows that relied on actual story to keep the audience engaged. Mediocre green screen shots and just okay (but rapidly improving) CGI creatures can be forgiven when the plot is engaging and everything else falls perfectly into place. What matters is the writing and acting and both are on point. And they get an extra added bonus point for the musical score being very well executed. Is this show perfect? No, it isn’t. It has its faults and shortcomings, but it is incredibly entertaining and engaging. Those are the things a show needs right out of the gate and everything else can be worked on as the show progresses.

Be sure to tune in to the CW next Tuesday, July 24th at 9/8c for the next episode.

Hit the comments with your thoughts. Did this episode continue to hold your interest? Will you keep watching? Who do you think Talon will end up with? Or will they let her remain single and just be a fierce warrior woman? Who is Gwynn’s mystery man? What will happen when Dred and his minions arrive at the outpost?

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