The sheer incompetence of The Outpost remains amusing, but “Bones to Pick” proves that the issues aren’t just with the shoddy production.
It’s nice to see that The Outpost was educated at the Dan Brown School of Cliffhangers. After Talon was skewered by the discount demon at the end of last week’s episode, the fate of the protagonist – less than halfway through the season – was comically presented as uncertain. Luckily the fifth episode, “Bones to Pick”, can’t be bothered with any of that, immediately revealing her to be alive and, despite some Sharpie marker scribbling on her lovely stomach, perfectly fine.
Talon’s developing relationship with the ant-looking monstrosity forms the narrative spine of “Bones to Pick”, as she attempts to stop its killing spree by babbling at it in the ancient tongue of the Blackbloods. Doesn’t help much – it still kills people and jumps out of windows for most of the episode.
There’s plenty of time for exposition, though. Withers and his mute pal have done some snooping, and uncovered the shady history of Gwynn’s father and the Prime Order. It’s the usual case of swapping real daughters for royal ones and spousal suicide, but it was difficult to keep track; I don’t think anybody told the actors how much, exactly, each of them was to supposed to know about this plot, so their reactions kept wavering between shock and understanding and back again. Withers also repeatedly referred to Garret as his son, which I’m reasonably sure hasn’t been brought up before. Or perhaps I just didn’t care enough to make note of it.
Either way, Withers blackmails Gwynn into selling out Talon so that she can finally be executed, which actually works out rather well until that bloody demon turns up again and interrupts the beheading. By the time it buggers off Talon has established a bit of a rapport with it, so Withers lets her live for a while so she can banish it to whatever far-flung dimension it came from and stop it from wiping out all the extras.
The blacksmith is, predictably, useless. And apparently, he always has been, because it’s revealed in “Bones to Pick” that he was part of the Prime Order, and was the archer who allowed Talon to live as a child. Juicy! This is revealed by a new villain, Shek (Cokey Falkow), who rolls into town dressed up as the Undertaker and promptly kills the blacksmith immediately after revealing his interesting backstory. Well, thanks, The Outpost. I didn’t want to see how that information affected Talon and the smith’s relationship anyway.
It hardly matters. By the end of “Bones to Pick”, Talon has killed Shek too, thus pinching shut every semi-interesting narrative vein that the show opened this week. Apparently, The Outpost doesn’t need a proper villain or a developed supporting character or, indeed, anything beyond Jessica Green’s perfectly-shaped eyebrows and Jake Stormoen’s six-pack. I beg to differ, obviously, but what do I know? More importantly, what do I care?
“Bones to Pick” was the fifth episode of The Outpost. Check out our full series coverage.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.