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[MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD]
On the previous episode of Final Space, the Team Squad, with the help of the Gatekeeper, entered Bolo’s mind in order to save him from Invictus. On their way to rescue his remaining sane core, Ash was separated from the group, bringing her face-to-face with Fox, who was still under the control of Invictus. Through masterful manipulation Invictus convinced Ash that she had saved, and reconnected with, Fox, only to then force Gary to kill him at the end of the episode. Although she may have been fully aware of the situation, the sight of seeing her brother die at the hands of Gary left her logically distraught. “Forgiveness” confronts the aftermath of “The Chamber of Doubt” head on as Ash, Gary, and the rest of the Team Squad begin to process their difficult emotions. Overall, this is not the most action packed or comedic episode for the series by any means, yet it has immense emotional and psychological depth that may result in legitimate growth for the main characters involved. The episode itself makes this clear by starting off at Fox’s funeral, which despite an unnecessary joke from KVN, sets the tone for what’s to come. Ash takes the center stage at the funeral amongst the rest of the crew with Little Cato trying to support her, while Gary is off on his own, more visibly depressed than we have ever seen him. Early on, the only bit of hope provided was Kevin Van Newton notifying the Team Squad that the hyper-transdimensional bridge is ready to free them from Final Space. Yet, this is soon followed up by a touching speech from Little Cato in which he describes how he grew close with Fox despite the problematic history of their different species. This makes it clear that beyond Ash’s personal loss and Gary’s actions, Fox’s death has been tough for all of them.
That being said, Ash was not there to hear another member of the Team Squad share in her pain because she ran off after a confrontation with Gary. Luckily, before she could be completely consumed by her loneliness, Ash came across a powerful, shape-shifting creature named Evra. Meeting someone disconnected from her current problems, and interested in her seemed to make a world of difference. Together they blew stuff up, watched the hidden lights, and simply bonded. Meanwhile, at Ash’s request, Evra transformed into a humanoid woman, which made her blush in the most adorable way. Then, potentially to the disappointment of Little Cato fans, the two held hands, confirming that Ash was the LGBTQ+ character confirmed by creator Olan Rogers some time ago.
Ultimately, Ash has been through such trauma, yet it was heartwarming to see her happy here. It may not have been obvious that she was lesbian, but it is clear that she has been thinking a lot about her situation and coming to terms with who she is at her core. It’s a genuine human quality to experience realizations surrounding times of loss. Additionally, we should always relish in further representation of the queer community across all media. If just one person saw that scene and felt genuinely seen, it has already made a difference in a beautiful way. It’s especially important that Ash is currently at the center of the story dealing with a multitude of issues, demonstrating that complex, real main characters can be lesbian, but at the same time that not be their only story. On top of that, the colors, sounds, and visuals for this portion of the episode were also some of the best yet. The chemistry between Ash and Evra, alongside breathtaking backgrounds and music, made for truly lovely moments.
With that said, despite the beauty of seeing Ash growing into who she is and better processing her pain, for me the best part of “Forgiveness” was the heart-wrenching fight between Gary and Avocato. Essentially, as Ash was processing her pain through love, Gary was physically and verbally letting it out. Initially, Gary does not want to let Avocato in, falling deeper into his own pain and sadness, yet when Avocato reveals that he killed Little Cato’s parents and then took him in out of guilt, this unleashes an intense chain of events. Unable to process this revelation on top of his own guilt over the death of Fox, Gary begins to attack Avocato who quickly starts to fight back. After seeing these two develop a strong friendship since the first season, or even play around in the previous episode, it’s painful as the viewer to see them physically fight so violently and blame each other so harshly for their actions.
It’s especially powerful to see Gary stand up for Little Cato despite everything Gary is going through—Little Cato is able to bring out how much Gary still cares despite what happened with Fox. He cannot give up because he has to be there for the people he loves who are still around. Then, on top of that, we get another fantastic scene in which Gary wants to forgive Avocato so that they can work together to support Little Cato, yet now it’s Avocato who has difficulty accepting what he’s done. What ultimately convinces Avocato to accept Gary’s forgiveness is when Gary compares how Avocato now needs to be there for Little Cato in the same way that Gary needs to be there for Ash. This emphasizes their parallel storylines and begins the processes of picking Gary up from his sadness as he knows what he has to do to make amends. Although this is just the beginning, it’s adorable for the episode to end on Gary asking Ash more about Fox, showing her that he cares and wants to be there for him. It’s tough to say how Ash will fully process the death of Fox and her connection to Invictus, yet it’s wonderful to see Gary trying to rebuild their connection and her being open to that.
All in all, “Forgiveness” brought the series to greater levels of emotional depth than potentially ever before. Centered around the funeral of Fox, Ash and Gary begin to process their emotions through love and friendship. For Ash, she is able to connect with a new individual who is interested in her for who she is, allowing her to learn more about herself and her desires. For Gary, he was able to let out his anger with the help of Avocato and come to the realization that he has to be there for Little Cato and Ash during these difficult times. Ultimately, Fox is gone, but that does not mean that Ash, Gary, and the rest of the Team Squad cannot grow from this experience, as Fox would have wanted them to do so. Lastly, although jokes made by KVN and Tribore interrupted this emotional flow, Little Cato not only contributed to the overall feeling of the episode through his speech about Fox and conversation with Ash, but he also made some fun jokes like when he asked if Ash wanted to kill Gary. But, which main storyline resonated with you the most? How do you feel about Ash being lesbian?
Season 3 Episode 8: “Forgiveness” (8.5/10)