“The Book of Names” was impressive in that it was still laughably terrible while also being the best episode of The Outpost thus far.
The Outpost was on hiatus last week, and I must admit that I missed it. The CW’s swashbuckling fantasy show has a certain type of heartwarming stupidity and incompetence; it’s like watching a child learn to walk. This week, Talon (Jessica Green) is on the hunt for the titular Book of Names, a heretofore unmentioned McGuffin that I’m sure will do something wonderful.
Available evidence seems to suggest that the Book of Names is a book of demon names, which is figured out by Janzo (Anand Desai-Barochia) after Talon puts him to work deciphering the late blacksmith’s library. This is important because, as previously established, Talon can summon demons using their names, which might prove useful in overthrowing the Prime Order. And as it turns out that Gwynn (Imogen Waterhouse) isn’t actually Gwynn but the real heir to the realm, overthrowing the Prime Order is the next step on everyone’s agenda.
Nobody mentions that it took Talon five episodes to banish one demon which she summoned by accident, and even then only when it butchered half the town and stabbed her, so trusting her to summon more and potentially control them is an utterly absurd idea. Nobody, that is, but me.
Not that anyone cares what I think. Besides, The Outpost has much more to think about than the logistics of demon-summoning, especially when they assemble to kneel before their new queen. They make a fair point: Why should they believe that Gwynn is who she says she is? Luckily she conveniently remembers the two closest men from their time serving her mother, leading to a hilariously melodramatic scene in which she’s suddenly accepted as their new liege. “The Book of Names” is the only time that The Outpost has attempted some serious emotionality, and I sincerely hope they never attempt it again.
Better, or somehow worse, depending on your perspective, is Talon’s excursion with Janzo, who convinces her to protect him as he ventures to an ominous meeting spot at the behest of the Mistress (Robyn Malcolm) to exchange a lot of gold for drugs. Janzo just might be the worst character on television right now; a lecherous bundle of faintly offensive clichés whose role in The Outpost keeps inexplicably expanding. Now, along with being an alchemist and the conveniently adopted son of the local crime boss, he apparently reads and speaks multiple languages. I wonder what he’ll be able to do next week.
Also searching for the Book of Names is a new villain with a tasteful white top-knot and a goggle-eyed underage apprentice, but we didn’t see much of these two so we won’t worry about them yet. I’m sure they’ll reveal their true, nefarious purposes before long. In the meantime I suppose we can laugh at the fact that somehow this terrible episode was the best one yet.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.