“Cave of Kelpius” has the players reach what they believe to be the end of the game – but is it really over, or is there more to learn?
This recap of Dispatches From Elsewhere Season 1, Episode 7, “Cave of Kelpius”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Dispatches From Elsewhere Episode 7, “Cave of Kelpius”, is the end – kind of, anyway. It certainly feels in many ways like a finale, not of the show itself, but of the game within it, and after weeks of attempting to figure out what that game means, the notion that it really might be a mundane ruse is something that all our principal characters have to grapple with. If you take away the Jejune Institute and the Elsewhere Society, Octavio and Commander 14 (both, tellingly, Richard E. Grant), and Clara (Cecilia Balagot), supposedly in need of rescue, what are you left with? If you don’t have a game to play, then what is the purpose of you, the player?
Peter (Jason Segel), Simone (Eve Lindley), Fredwynn (André Benjamin) and Janice (Sally Field) are all outsiders; always have been. The game gave them meaning because it gave them all the things they were lacking in their own lives – companionship, mystery, purpose. The stakes felt real. When they pursue the mysterious “milk man” to an apparent showdown between Octavio and Commander 14, “Cave of Kelpius” allows them, however briefly, to believe they’re reaching the endgame.
What Dispatches From Elsewhere Episode 7 reveals is that the endgame is a fabrication – it’s a live finale, a stage play that pokes fun at the supposed ideological opposition of Jejune and Elsewhere and the fate of Clara, here played by an actress and performing an elaborate karaoke rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. There’s even an after-party, during which everyone can sit down and celebrate the curtain having been pulled away.
Peter makes a fool of himself by interrupting “Clara’s” performance and insisting that the game is still on-going, much to the amusement of his fellow players, among whom there is a Bigfoot-looking dude named Elegant Squatch who has the hots for Simone. This is part of the show’s essential weirdness but also a good excuse to finally encourage the next step in Simone and Peter’s season-long teased romance. Peter serenades her – with vocal help from Fredwynn, somewhat hilariously – and they finally kiss, which has been a long time coming. If reaching “the end” of the game accomplished anything, it was this.
This is another thing that “Cave of Kelpius” does – it encourages all the players to examine what their life is without the game. Fredwynn, devoid of a goal to chase, brings his attitude and self-obsession into starker relief, such that he sees how he is the greatest contributing factor in his own loneliness. And Janice, encouraged by her younger self, sees that perhaps she doesn’t fit with this crowd – that perhaps she was clinging to them as an excuse not to confront being without her husband and her servile life as his significant other.
Of course, Dispatches From Elsewhere Season 1, Episode 7, true to form, doesn’t end with its ending. A woman, the Architect, admits to Janice what she already suspected – that Clara was real, that she’s now dead, and that it was, apparently, all her fault. There is more mystery to unravel yet.
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