The Outpost went all-out in “The Colipsum Conundrum”, providing dopey effects and hokey character drama for an amusing hour.
Here’s a conundrum for you: Why, seeing as The Outpost is terrible, am I still watching and writing about it every week? That’s probably a more compelling mystery than anything offered by “The Colipsum Conundrum”, even though I gave this week’s episode a higher score than usual thanks to how brazenly it decided to splurge the effects budget.
Anyway, after having discovered the corpse of her handmaid buried in a vegetable patch, now-Queen Gwynn (Imogen Waterhouse) had a bit of a tiff with Wythers (Andrew Howard), whom she suspected of her murder. There was a funny bit in “The Colipsum Conundrum” of Wythers chastising his dopey mute underling for burying a body in a patch of land that is routinely dug up, but it wasn’t really a laughing matter. Wythers was sentenced to the ominous mines, where he can enjoy the pleasures of being a lawman – a corrupt one, no less – among the criminals he sent down there for various dubious reasons. Things go predictably, but he does find an ally in a brutish woman despatched by the Mistress (Robyn Malcolm) to keep an eye on him.
As well as sentencing Wythers, Gwynn’s royal duties included tearfully beheading a conspirator and standing atop the outpost walls with Garret (Jake Stormoen) while gazing mournfully at the hysterically fake-looking horizon. Among all the meditations on the nature of leadership provided by “The Colipsum Conundrum”, we also got a bit of backstory for Garret; he had a brother who his father, Wythers, sentenced to the mines – so, a bit of poetic justice for our balding cockney sleuth.
Speaking of backstory, we got some of that for Janzo (Anand Desai-Barochia), although it disappointingly didn’t explain why he is constantly attempting an impression of ***** Rain Man. He had a sister, a twin, who was sold into slavery by the Mistress. The “Colipsum Conundrum” of the title is his deal with a plodding pack of greyskins to exchange bags of gold for bags of drugs; not really a conundrum, in the traditional sense, especially not when the deal went exactly as planned. Still, everybody loves some alliteration, don’t they?
Talon (Jessica Green) was naturally sceptical of this deal, as I was of the computer which sprang the greyskins into existence. Imagine a ******* hung over a pile of rocks and you have a fair approximation of what they look like. And don’t even get me started on the swirling blue portal that randomly appeared during the night, or the giant “bone wolf” that attacked them, or the fire that Janzo brandished to chase it off. Such things are better left alone. I do appreciate that The Outpost seems to have properly stopped giving a **** at this point, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about watching it.
Captain Top-Knot and his glassy-eyed apprentice are back on the scene in “The Colipsum Conundrum”, scheming to overthrow the outpost with a coterie of Covenant men, providing he doesn’t have them all executed for cavorting in the meantime. Apparently the kiddo will be able to spot her, which I’m suspicious of, all things considered, but it’s not in my nature to mock the afflicted.
On the subject of people who’re afflicted, a plagueling outbreak in the local garrison didn’t go particularly well for Garret, who took a nibble on the leg. I don’t imagine they’ll kill off one of the main characters as unceremoniously as that, so it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with the issue; I assume Janzo will find a solution by rubbing his nose in a book, providing he can remove it from Talon’s arse for long enough.
Oh and there was someone credited as “Sweaty Soldier.” I’m sure that’ll look good on his CV.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.