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[MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD]
On the last season of Final Space, we witnessed the formation of the Team Squad on their journey to free Bolo, save Quinn Ergon, and prevent the Titans from destroying the universe. As they worked together to collect the five dimensional keys, the crew made new friends, time travelled, confronted their pasts, went to Inner Space, learned some hard truths, and even had some fun along the way. Sadly, this did include some betrayals, such as that of Clarence, as well as the death of Nightfall, who sacrificed herself as the sixth key. Yet, her death was not in vain, as her final actions allowed the Team Squad, with the addition of Sheryl Goodspeed and Bolo, to travel to Final Space, where the third season premieres. Now, although show creator Olan Rogers has commented that the second season was riddled with notes from TBS executives, his ability to listen to the fans definitely improved the show beyond the initial season. This is particularly exciting because Rogers believes that the latest season is the show at its best, as he was finally able to make it the way he wanted. Thanks to a collaboration between Toonami Squad and Swimpedia, we can explore how this newfound freedom plays out in the first two episodes of season three ahead of the season premiere this upcoming Saturday.
The first episode, “… and into the Fire,” starts right where the second season left off, with the Team Squad rescuing Quinn from Final Space. Despite Gary saving her, this turns out to be a trap set up by Invictus, resulting in an impressive battle that sees the destruction of the Crimson Light as seen in the promo. The show really does create a dark atmosphere that contrasts against a lot of the comedy we’ve seen in the previous seasons from this point on. If anything, brief moments of comedy during this episode almost seem out of place with a lot of the more serious imagery and sentiments. It’s in many ways a culmination of the journey so far, where the Team Squad, now made up of so many different characters, has come face to face with this evil place that has been talked about for so long. As potentially expected, they are far from ready to take on the challenges presented by Final Space, including the hordes of zombie Garys from the trailer. In a lot of ways, this episode serves to show how hopeless things might be, especially with the giant robot-like creature from the promo above painting a grim picture of their long term futures in Final Space.
With that said, there is certainly still beauty and fun in the darkness, especially when it comes to the gorgeous backgrounds seen throughout this episode. There is so much happening throughout the premiere, it rarely slows down, but if you’re paying close attention there’s a lot of fantastic artwork and real visual dedication put into this episode that speaks so well for the season to come. Then, in terms of the comedy, I’ll be honest and say that not every joke totally lands, but there are some highlight moments, and overall these segments demonstrate that despite everything, the crew is still making the best of this. One portion in particular that fans can look forward to is the hilarious birth of a new character, who may also be a shoutout for the many Latin American fans of Final Space. Additionally, since there’s a debate in the community as to whether KVN is a good character or not, I will say that he was definitely toned down here, and coming from someone who was never really fan of his, he was actually good at times. Altogether, these moments, along with the action, prevent the episode from feeling completely hopeless, culminating in a surprise ending that gives some of the crew their next goal.
The second episode, “The Hidden Light,” somehow manages to pack even more into the story and clearly defines where the show may be going from here. Without spoiling too much, this episode has everything from new characters, monsters, settings, and revelations, all the way to the return of a character many fans are familiar with. There’s even a fun connection that French fans of Final Space may appreciate. Yet, most importantly, while the first episode created the emotional foundation where this show is now grounded, this episode gives the viewer hope and establishes what the Team Squad, and even Bolo, will be working towards for the rest of the season. Along these lines, it seemed that the humor and heart of the show definitely came into its own here, unlike in the first episode where they sometimes felt like distractions to the establishing of the season.
Personally, I enjoyed this episode more than the season premiere, as it better balanced the more serious plot introduced by the first episode with fun interactions between the characters. For example, it was really nice to see Quinn and Gary’s relationship together after being apart for an entire season. There was so much of this actually going on that you could even argue that there were too many characters practically fighting for the spotlight or not getting any of it. Yet, the episode was still engrossing, where I found myself paying so much attention sometimes that I wasn’t taking my notes for the review. Altogether, this has me really excited to see what the community will think of some major plotlines I’ve specifically avoided spelling out clearly.
Ultimately, I felt that these two episodes brought a lot to the table, very much expanding upon the past two seasons. Pacing might have been an issue because they were trying to cover so much ground, but this seemed to improve over time. There was also definitely a greater emphasis on plot and seriousness, which were always my favorite part of Final Space, so that’s something to look forward to if you’re also a fan of that. That being said, there was still some fun comedy sprinkled throughout, although there were some misses, and with so many characters there’s a lot possibilities here for humor and character relationships. It’s hard to say if these elements in the first two episodes will translate to the best of the show like Olan Rogers claims, but the series is definitely off to a great start that will satisfy a lot of fans. The end of the second episode left me wanting more, and if the rest of the season only gets better, then I’ll be very glad they got the freedom they did.
Season 3 Episode 1: “… and into the Fire” (7.5/10)
Season 3 Episode 2: “The Hidden Light” (8/10)
Final Space Season 3 premieres on Adult Swim on Saturday, March 20th at 10:30pm ET