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[MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD]
On the previous episode of Final Space, Bolo was killed by the Lord Commander, who was successful in both becoming a titan and standing up to Invictus. Meanwhile, the Team Squad was surrounded by a horde of Zombie Garys on their ship as they were forced to tackle the hopelessness of their futures. More specifically, it was shown that nearly everyone was suffering from some degree of Final Space poisoning and struggling psychologically. That being said, it was later revealed that Zombie Garys were Garys from other timelines that died closing the breach into Final Space, giving the Team Squad hope that there may be another functioning hyper-transdimensional bridge on a parallel Earth. “The Leaving” continues the search for a way out of Final Space, while focusing on the relational issues of the Team Squad as they process what comes next. The start of the episode picks up right from the end of “The Dead Speak,” where H.U.E. has been unable to locate an Earth with viable technology. Thankfully, Biskit was eventually able to locate their original hyper-transdimensional bridge, which may arguably have been a little too convenient of a plot mechanic. Nevertheless, the situation was finally looking up for the Team Squad as Gary split everyone up in order to best effectively activate the bridge and power it with energy from Mooncake. This included a particularly excellent scene where Gary realized that he understood how to work the bridge because of his time working being while kept prisoner during the first season. It’s important to always highlight when a show manages to successfully connect such concepts within itself.
However, as the bridge powered up, and sadly eventually failed to stabilize, the core of “The Leaving” focused on Ash and Little Cato. To begin, since the end of “The Dead Speak,” Ash has shown anger in the decision to flee Final Space instead of continuing the fight against Invictus. She particularly placed the blame for this choice on Quinn, who she believed to be nothing like Nightfall, the person she most looked up towards. For a moment, as the bridge plan appeared completely successful, such an opinion was changing, yet when that failed this clearly became a source of further division between her and the Team Squad. Next, Little Cato also took center stage this episode as Sheryl prompted him to wonder more about his mother. When he asked Avocato for more information about her it was heartbreaking to watch him dig himself deeper into a hole as he lied, stating that her name was Apricot and she had died during labor. This sufficed as enough information for Little Cato, yet everything fell apart as Avocato’s guilt grew out of proportion. He was unable to control himself and needed to talk about what he had done, so he turned to Gary to explain the situation.
During the heat of the moment, Avocato blurted out his guilt over killing the King and Queen of Ventrexia, which Ash overheard. In a way, this revelation was the last straw for her after the death of Fox at the hands of Gary, the Team Squad siding against her with regard to escaping Final Space, and Quinn not living up to her expectations of Nightfall. This ultimately culminated in scenes of pure anger for her as she choked out Gary and Avocato before throwing them out of the ship, fought Quinn and Sheryl as she pinned them against walls, and eventually kidnaped Little Cato after telling him the truth about his parents. Now, at first glance this appeared to be a particularly dark turn for her character, leading the viewer to even wonder if she can be redeemed. Yet, further analysis of the situation makes it clear that, to some extent, she was being manipulated and influenced by Invictus. Of course, we know that Ash gets her powers from Invictus and he has come into direct contact with her multiple times, already making it clear that they may have a deeper connection. That being said, it appears quite likely that Invictus has the ability to magnify her anger that he has helped to stoke within her. Even more so, it’s possible that he can feed her information without being around. For example, Ash learned that Avocato had killed Little Cato’s parents, yet he participated in a war killing countless lives, thus how did she know that his parents were the King and Queen of Ventrexia? For me at least, these factors all paint a picture that, for the most part, these are not Ash’s actions, but instead another plan masterfully orchestrated by Invictus.
Nonetheless, another notable component of “The Leaving” included fun character moments and better humor than we had seen in the past few episodes. In particular, after seeing Gary and Quinn struggle with their relationship and work towards figuring out where they stand, it was genuinely fantastic to see they had sex. Combined with a hilariously adorable scene where Little Cato was in the room not understanding the situation, this was another valuable step in their relationship. Additionally, even the smaller characters had lovely moments, such as when Sheryl called Little Cato her grandson, showing her acceptance of Gary’s decision to adopt Little Cato, as well as her love for him. That being said, it was Biskit who took center stage this episode in terms of comedy and banter, like when he was asking Gary and Quinn about their messy post-sex hair. Overall, these segments provided a great sense of levity for a generally dark episode—the key being that they were, more than in other episodes, successfully woven into the plot and made sense.
All in all, “The Leaving” began as a hopeful episode where the Team Squad might finally have the opportunity to escape, yet after Ash learned of Avocato’s past actions it became a serious episode that culminated in her taking Little Cato and heading towards Invictus. Still, there were some sweet and enjoyable character moments that felt natural. Nevertheless, as we head into the season finale, it’s difficult to say how this will turn out as they have just 22 real world minutes to rescue Little Cato, free Ash from Invictus, and escape Final Space. I cannot emphasize the second mission enough, as it is clear Ash is not fully in control of her actions and thus should not be to blame for her more violent transgressions. She is a complex character who is allowing Invictus to use her anger against the Team Squad. But, how do you think the season finale will turn out? What did you think of the Ash storyline this episode?
Season 3 Episode 12: “The Leaving” (8/10)