The CW’s embarrassing fantasy epic The Outpost continues with “Beyond the Wall”, a tedious episode even by the usual standards of this nonsense.
If Janzo (Anand Desai-Barochia) isn’t the worst character on television right now, I honestly couldn’t tell you who is. The lecherous, vaguely-offensive bundle of stereotypes is clearly beloved by The Outpost, as the show continues to give him more to do than any other character, and in “Beyond the Wall” the irritating weasel is somehow needed by everyone. It’s insufferable.
Yet, here we are. After successfully negotiating a drug deal with some greyskins last week, Janzo returns with Talon (Jessica Green) to the Mistress (Robyn Malcolm), who is chuffed to bits with the haul. Janzo has a bit of a paddy that she continues to send him on dangerous assignments that he’s totally unsuited to, and the Mistress, who remains the most watchable character in The Outpost despite having almost nothing to do, considers this to be him “growing up”. I’d consider it to be him getting even more annoying, but whatever.
Garrett (Jake Stormoen) needs Janzo because he’s been nibbled on by a plagueling, and because Janzo is so frequently bestowed with plot-convenient knowledge, he’s the one who might be able to cure him, which he attempts by tipping rat poison down his throat. Perhaps that’ll work, perhaps it won’t; this is somehow the ticking-clock dramatic device of “Beyond the Wall”, and it’s impossible to overstate the degree to which it didn’t work.
Even if you thought The Outpost would be killing off one of its most important and handsome characters so unceremoniously, Janzo’s revelation that one in thirteen people aren’t infected by plagueling stings should have made it rather clear that we were about to slip through a plot backdoor pulled straight from Janzo’s nervous arse.
This all meant that Garrett, still playing the will-he-won’t-he card, along with Talon and Janzo, could set out on an expedition to retrieve the elusive Book of Names from greyskin territory – a task that also requires Janzo’s deep knowledge of random helpful bullshit. It was also a good opportunity to further the dopey love triangle, as Garrett tried to use his presumed last night of life to get in Talon’s trousers, and Talon decided to cuddle up to Janzo to get under Garrett’s skin. Nobody told the writers of The Outpost that the best way to characterise their strong-willed female protagonist probably isn’t to have her act like she’s fourteen.
By the end of “Beyond the Wall” Garrett is still alive, although partly (and annoyingly) thanks to Janzo again, who dumped a jar of acid on the head of an attacking greyskin. There was a big fight preceding that which was, as usual, hysterically cheap-looking. There’s also an afro-sporting assassin knocking about who shanked one of the greyskins before cooking and eating its leg. No wonder her gnashers are so ******.
Elsewhere, Wythers (Andrew Howard) is still imprisoned in the mines under the watchful one eye of his new minder, Gwynn (Imogen Waterhouse) is getting more and more accustomed to royal bitchiness (she recruits Wythers’ mute acolyte Danno (Charan Prabhakar) as a spy, although how he’ll report what he sees is anyone’s guess), and Top Knot turned out to actually be the enigmatic Dred (Philip Brodie), who was first mentioned way back in, like, the premiere. Nice to put a name to him at last – perhaps it was mentioned earlier, but none of you ******* told me if it was. And props to The Outpost, I guess, for at least setting him up as a decent villain by having him immediately shank Michael Flynn’s General Calkussar. This show needs an antagonist about as much as it needs a budget and an editor.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.