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The Outpost - Bones To Pick - Review: Survival Instinct



The Outpost delivered its best episode yet full of heartfelt moments, betrayal, heartbreak, action, and so much more. After spending the first half of the season setting up the world and establishing the characters this episode marked the change over into the core challenges facing the characters. Talon and Gwynn both got put in horrible positions as each of their secrets were revealed to others. There isn't a single character left who isn't being challenged in some way. Right now, they are facing an ever-growing list of foes.

The hour started with Talon in great turmoil. She failed to defeat the demon in the prior episode and ended up with a critical wound in her abdomen. Seriously, someone needs to craft her a protective shield for her abdomen where she keeps getting impaled. The amount of blood she has lost in only five episodes is honestly quite impressive. What is most astounding is that despite all the blood she lost, she was still able to pull herself to her feet and make one final attempt to stop the demon. It failed, and another innocent was killed, a hard lesson was learned. This was a truly powerful moment of acting by Jessica Green. The heartbreak Talon felt over being at fault for the death of yet another person was palpable as tears welled up in her eyes and slid down her cheeks. All the things that have happened lately have weighed heavily on her and this was the emotional dam overflowing. This was only the start of a truly awful day for Talon.

Talon made her way to Janzo for some much-needed stitching back together. By the way, he should seriously keep a running tab on her. He could make a fortune just off fixing her wounds. His mom would surely appreciate the extra income from his extracurricular healing work. Wythers is right about one thing, trouble does follow Talon. One would think nearly getting killed by a demon was enough trauma for one day, that's not Talon. After surviving the demon attack she went on to almost be decapitated and survived a fight in a confined space with one of the chief murderers of her people. A busy day for our heroine.

What was great about this hour was that in every situation Talon rescued herself and only received occasional secondary assists. That has been a bit of a concern that in some past situations Talon was rescued by others while we know and have seen firsthand how incredibly fierce a warrior she is. She really got to shine here with fierce sword battles, hand-to-hand combat, and a little bit of everything in between. All of this while nursing still healing wounds. She was so strong and determined. We got to see many different sides to Talon.

Through all of this, she found some sort of calm that for the first time cleared her mind enough to be able to control the demon. Talon is finally starting to find her center. It was that calm acceptance of her imminent demise that ultimately saved her life. The demon, despite trying to kill her hours earlier, came to her aid when Wythers was about to execute her. In exchange, Talon saved Wythers, which, honestly, was surprising given how awful he has been to her. She didn't have to do it, but she doesn't have it in her to let anyone else suffer because of the demon she let loose. She found the clarity and calm to control the demon long enough to make sure Wythers lived to be a jerk another day. It is likely Garret played a tiny part in Talon fighting so hard to save Wythers. She knows the tumultuous relationship between father and son, but she still respects Garret and as a result, likely put in a bit of extra effort for his sake. This was another scene where Jessica Green's performance was exceptionally well delivered. She had to navigate a tense emotional moment while not only being confined for most of the scene but just to make things more difficult on her the writers had her speaking in Talon's native language. Despite all the obstacles placed in front of her Green rose to the challenge and delivered one hell of a strong performance.

The aftermath of the whole situation resulted in Talon being given a stay of execution. She is free to go about her business as long as she stops the demon and concludes her business then immediately leaves town. It's a fair deal when the alternative is her head being chopped off. However, let's be honest, there is absolutely no way she permanently leaves the outpost because then the show would need a new name. Things will likely go even more sideways than they currently are, and Talon will end up having to stick around this time with the blessing of Wythers and Garret. After all, they are going to need her help to keep Gwynn alive long enough to help regain control of the kingdom. It will be interesting to see how things go down the next time these two women interact.

It will certainly be tense since, currently, Talon feels betrayed by Gwynn. What Talon doesn't know is that Gwynn didn't do it of her own free will and it broke her heart as well. Imogen Waterhouse brilliantly captured the heartbreak of the choice, the pain at making that decision was evident on her face. The only reason Talon was able to almost be executed was that Gwynn was blackmailed by Wythers to remove her bond. That blackmail came in the form of Wythers learning her secret and after he "accidentally" murdered her handmaid. Turns out Gwynn isn't the commander's biological daughter, she is, in fact, the former best friend of his daughter and she just so happened to also be the royal princess. If the story holds true, the commander sacrificed his own daughter to be executed in place of the actual princess who would go on to be given her name, Gwynn. That is why she has so much power, but it's still unclear why anyone would believe she is still alive. Everyone thinks the entire royal family was destroyed, so why would anyone believe Gwynn to be royalty? That is something that will be nice to see addressed in a future episode. It seems like somehow someway someone believes her alive.

Ultimately, Gwynn and Talon have very similar objectives. It seems like their individual journeys are interlocked in many ways. So, the big question will be, can Talon forgive Gwynn? Also of importance is will Gwynn finally fully open up to Talon? Will Talon open up to Gwynn? Both of those things need to happen before these two can restore their very new friendship. If it does happen, they reveal their secrets to one another and end up fighting for the same goal, to overthrow the corrupt Prime Order, then they could do a lot of good together. Talon is starting to show what she is capable of, that she is someone that Gwynn needs on her side and by her side. The day will come when Gwynn will have to make a play to retake her birthright on the throne. When that day comes having someone like Talon will be critical to success.

Garret will also be an important part of any quest to retake the kingdom. He commands a growing army and is fiercely loyal, except to his father. Garret risked a lot to try and keep Talon out of his father's custody proving that even though he is still getting to know Talon, he holds her in higher regard than his own father. Still, once he learned her secret, there was a moment of fear and anger. He brought her in and to a degree, he feels responsible for her. It is a bit ironic that he has kept a lot from her yet he expected her to be open with him. She hasn't been shy about the fact that she has secrets she has been keeping to herself. But he has also done a lot for her and has more than proven himself trustworthy, so there is an argument to be made that she should have opened up to him sooner. One thing is clear, there is not a single person at the outpost that doesn't have a secret. If this group has any shot at all of overthrowing the Prime Order they must start working together and trusting each other. That is the absolute only chance they have of success. They are going to need each other more than ever before in the coming weeks with things getting even crazier during the push to the season finale.

Talon finally found someone she felt she could fully trust, the Smith. He was the only one who really knew who she was and the only person who could get Talon to focus. She embraced him, literally and figuratively, and for Talon that was a huge step. His tutelage allowed her to gain some level of control over the demon and in many ways it gave her back some control of her life. For the first time in a long time, she likely felt she had someone truly on her side. As was the theme of this episode, there was more to his story than was obvious. Many speculated that the Smith was actually the Wolf that ultimately spared Talon as a child, and they were right. It was information that only came to light after Shek (Cokey Falkow) arrives at the outpost and confronted his former brother-in-arms. The last we saw of the Smith he was in a critical situation after Shek drove his blade through him. As with any show like this, Talon will likely make her way back to the Smith's shop just in time to learn everything he needed to tell her before he succumbs to his injuries and she will be left to reconcile her feelings regarding him. Will she be heartbroken to lose him? Or will she be angry that she didn't get to end him herself as she has been so determined to do?

The hour ended with Talon confronting Shek. In a close combat situation, things got intense as Talon managed to confine the demon so that she could deal with Shek on her own. It was a really cool fight sequence. Jessica Green being able to do most of her own fight scenes makes a huge difference in scenes like this. The beauty of this scene is that Talon won. It was her first real victory to avenge her friends and family that the Bones massacred. This was the start of a whole new chapter in her life. With Shek taken care of that surely means that Dred himself will be forced to make a trip out to the outpost. That will surely be an awesome encounter when Talon can finally face down the monster that ordered the massacre.

Outside of patching Talon back together, Janzo was kept out of most of the drama going on, including the seriously dark stuff surrounding Talon. That didn't mean he was out of danger. He is now on the track of the colipsum dealer with whom his mom wants him to make contact. It was interesting to learn that she has such bad eyesight. That was either a random fact that they decided to just throw out or something that will come into play later on. It's also interesting to note that Janzo is clearly the brains of the operation. Without him, the Mistress would likely be hurting, he is a powerful resource for her.

This episode also showed different sides to Wythers and Andrew Howard was beyond fabulous in his portrayal. When Wythers was breaking into Gwynn's room and ultimately ended up killing her handmaid there didn't seem to be a single redeemable thing about him. Things only got worse as he blackmailed Gwynn then tried to execute Talon. Then, out of nowhere, he protected Talon from Shek. Even though he still tried to execute Talon he protected her to ensure that she wouldn't suffer at Shek's hands. He had the chance to end everything before it began by giving Talon to Shek and he declined. Then, there was his confession after his encounter with the demon. He really does passionately care about the outpost and protecting it. Somehow, in his twisted mind, he managed to convince himself that what he was doing was for the greater good. Wythers is an awful man and a complete and utter jerk, but there is something in the way Howard portrays him that ultimately makes it hard to keep hating him. The writers would have to put in some serious work to redeem him, but at least in the hands of Howard, he is a compelling character that is easy to love to hate.

What comes next? It's hard to say. Talon still has a lot to deal with. Gwynn's secret is getting dangerously close to being fully exposed. Garret is battling to keep the woman he loves and the woman who has peaked his interest alive and protected while also raising an army to go after the Prime Order. The colipsum deal the Mistress is trying to land could blow up in everyone's faces depending on who the dealer is. Wythers is barely keeping a grasp on everything and now he has a whole slew of murdered Prime Order agents on his hands. Not to mention there is a rogue demon running around that only the woman he hates can control. Things are only going to get wilder in what is guaranteed to be a fun and intense ride.

With this long two-week break finally coming to an end be sure to tune in to the next episode on Tuesday, August 21st at 9/8c on CW.

Hit the comments with your thoughts about this episode. Did you like that Talon was able to rescue herself from the predicaments she found herself in? Do you think Talon and Gwynn will find out about each other's secrets? Will Wythers ever have to face judgment for what he did to Gwynn's handmaid? What will Talon do when she finally gets back to the Smith to deal with him?

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