“Not in This Kingdom” was… surprisingly okay, actually, with intriguing new developments, attempts to broaden its mythology, and a surprising narrative turn.
This recap of The Outpost Season 2, Episode 3, “Not in This Kingdom”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
There are some areas in which The Outpost is unlikely to ever improve. Its writing is abysmal. Its acting isn’t much better. Its computer-generated effects seem sprung from an old Dell found in a relative’s attic. But it’d probably be a bit intentionally cynical and dishonest of me if I didn’t acknowledge that its second season is a bit better than its first. And “Not in This Kingdom” is a good example of how. There were new developments, less time spent with annoying peripheral characters, an attempt to broaden the show’s mythology, and a genuinely surprising narrative turn.
We’ll start with Garret since his survival was treated as something of a surprise despite how nonsensical it would be for a show like The Outpost to kill off its top-billed and most handsome castmember in the first episode of its second season. At the beginning of “Not in This Kingdom” we learn he has been delivered by Dred to a trio of chalky overseers known as the Holy Three, but since he also failed to kill or capture Talon and Gwynn they still consider him a failure and lock him up for the rest of his days.
Garrett is nursed back to health by a pretty healer lady and is periodically taken away to be beaten half to death a giant, steroidal henchman. We learn later in “Not in This Kingdom” that it’s all part of an effort to condition him into servitude as one of the Three’s agents. The final scene of the episode, in fact, is of him being magically revived by the Three after being accidentally beaten to death by his overenthusiastic torturer.
Perhaps sensing Garret’s survival, or perhaps being extraordinarily put off by his creepy forwardness, Gwynn continues to resist the efforts of Tobin to marry her. They enjoy a frosty card game laced with a deeply sexist undercurrent, and Gwynn once again takes Tobin to task for his entitlement. But the problem remains the same. Gwynn is forced to weigh her idealism against fiscal reality. She still needs Tobin’s money and army and resources to battle the Prime Order.
Knowing this, it’s a bit easier to accept when, later in “Not in This Kingdom”, Gwynn is willing to listen to Rebb’s proposition about forcing Talon to hand over her glowy demon-controlling device in exchange for a demon army. Of course, ultimately Gwynn’s loyalties lie with her friend, but I liked that The Outpost at least floated the idea of the greater good only being attainable by personal sacrifice. Rebb is somewhat desperate this week since, early on, Talon is able to knock her out and rescue the Dragman, who explains her purpose to reveal demon names to the one true Blackblood — a mandate somewhat complicated by the fact there are now two of them knocking around. But Rebb is apparently full of lies and such, so the Dragman can tell Talon is the hero. It’s unsophisticated storytelling, granted, but what comes next was genuinely surprising, and you have to give credit where it’s due.
Here’s what happened: Rebb, supremely annoyed about having lost the Dragman and been unable to curry favor with the Queen, manages to track down the young girl in Janzo’s workshop and just stabs her to death right there on the floor. We don’t see it — the CW can’t be putting the violent murder of children on full display — but Talon later finds her corpse; there’s no indication, like with Garret, that this is a ruse. And that’s a bold storytelling choice. I didn’t expect The Outpost to commit to it, but I’m glad it did — not that I cared much about the dead-eyed Dragman, little more than a plot device, but because it shows a willingness to do a little bit more than nostalgically evoke silly 80s fantasy films. It puts the characters in an interesting place going forward. It makes me — and I can’t believe I’m writing these words — want to tune in for the next episode.
Maybe this show being renewed wasn’t such a terrible idea after all?
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.