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[MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD]
On the previous episode of Final Space, the Team Squad was able to collect Celenium and save Quinn, which essentially set her on the path towards becoming Nightfall. Meanwhile, Tribore was tasked with saving the other inhabitants of Final Space, and Ash returned to the ship after her life changing conversation with Invictus. Ultimately, “Change Is Gonna Come” left fans with many questions, theories, and concerns, which are only just beginning to be dealt with in the latest installment of the series. “The Chamber of Doubt” now turns our attention to Bolo, but also plays out the impact of Ash’s return and transformation. The basic premise of the episode revolves around the Team Squad, with the help of the Gatekeeper, saving Bolo from insanity brought on by Invictus and Oreskis. On the surface, it appears to be a standard start; one could even argue that the screaming of the Gatekeeper even sours the mood initially. However, there are hints at something deeper to come, particularly through the different reactions everyone has to Ash’s sudden change. One of the best interactions from the episode is between Ash and Quinn on this matter, where they acknowledge each other’s changes. There’s an interesting parallel where both of them have had change thrusted upon them and are now forced to deal with the repercussions whether they want to or not. One could also argue that there’s even potential set up here that Quinn may be the one to ultimately rescue Ash from herself.
This secondary focus on Ash, which eventually evolved into its own b-plotline in “The Chamber of Doubt,” essentially ended up stealing the show. When the Team Squad entered Bolo’s mind to rescue any remaining sanity he had, Ash was swept away on her own. Initially, we were led to believe that she coincidentally stumbled upon Bolo’s lone remaining sane core, who is leading her to the Chamber of Doubt so that she can save the day. This resulted in some of the best scenes for the series yet, from the actual conversation between them to the backgrounds and visuals of this particular version of Bolo. Nevertheless, it quickly becomes apparent that something is wrong when Ash is confronted with Fox, who is being influenced by Invictus. Although not the strongest for the season thus far, their interaction resulted in a touching backstory for Fox that explains the loss of his hand and the war he’s faced. Yet, what makes this scene even better is the context, as it’s clear Invictus is using this information to further manipulate Ash. Even if she has an idea of what’s actually going on during this conversation, she is simply happy to be reunited with Fox and to once again share their memories.
This was masterful manipulation on the part of Invictus, as by the time the Team Squad arrives to save the day, Ash is convinced she’s rescued Fox. Sadly, everything goes according to Invictus’ vision of the future from the previous episode, as he forces Gary to kill Fox in front of Ash. Again, even if Ash is aware that Invictus was involved, she may never be able to shake the notion that after getting Fox back, it was Gary’s hand who ripped her away from her brother forever. This notion is further emphasized by the end of the episode, where Bolo explains to her that Fox was lost all along to Invictus. Ash understands this, but after seeing the likes of Avocato and Bolo escape the hold of Invictus, alongside all the trauma’s she’s faced in the past, she is unable to accept Fox’s death. Then, in potentially the best ending to an episode of Final Space thus far, “The Chamber of Doubt” closes on Ash hugging the body of her brother one last time. It’s genuinely a heartbreaking scene that comes after Invictus masterminded the entire situation—he even frees Bolo after Fox’s death, cementing that he only did this to further divide and hurt Ash and Gary.
Similarly, just as depressing was Gary’s reaction to killing Fox, where he has a meltdown at the cookie machine on the ship. Since the first season, the point of the cookies was to provide comfort, yet it’s here where Gary takes out his frustration. As stated, the episode began as a standard Final Space story, yet tragedy struck by his own hand, and we are left to wonder what the fallout will be for everyone involved. Fun, comedic moments were present, particularly through references about Bolo’s own past, but it’s difficult to consider much else from this episode after that ending. With that being said, there was a lot of weird touching between Gary and Avocato in the first half of the episode. This may be something memorable for some fans, yet these moments didn’t necessarily click for me.
In the end, “The Chamber of Doubt” did not have the strongest start, seeming to be more of an average episode, yet by the end delivered some of the darkest moments for the series to date. The Gatekeeper himself is probably the best metaphor for the episode, as he didn’t have the best entrance and may have even been borderline annoying at first, yet by the end he had become quite serious and even grew on me. It’s possible that even the episode’s format itself was designed to give the viewer a false sense of security. The idea was to go into Bolo’s mind and save him from Invictus, yet by the end that didn’t even matter. Invictus concocted a masterful plan that played out exactly as he wanted, and then simply left. Only time will tell us the full ramifications of what he has done to Ash, Gary, and the rest of the Team Squad. But, how were you impacted by the death of Fox? What was your favorite moment from the episode?
Season 3 Episode 7: “The Chamber of Doubt” (8.5/10)