Friendship emerges as a prevalent theme in “The Hardest Part of Being Queen”, as what might have been a filler chapter ends up a strong slice of character-driven storytelling.
This recap of The Outpost season 3, episode 11, “The Hardest Part of Being Queen”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
While at first blush it seems a bit like a filler episode, “The Hardest Part of Being Queen” was really a pretty solid bit of character-driven storytelling that tested relationships and helped to flesh out the context in which life-and-death decisions are being made in and around The Outpost.
Of particular note is the theme of friendships, especially those of Gwynn and Garret, and Garret and Tobin, and Tobin and Falista. There are a lot of parallels and rivalries, but ultimately more of the former. Falista, a noblewoman in her own right, didn’t marry Tobin for his power but because she loves him; this is confirmed in a later plot point when she’s willing to relinquish her kinj even after learning of – and inadvertently displaying – its power. But Tobin is in love with Gwynn, not Falista, which is something that both come to terms with by the end of the episode. In the meantime, Garret and Tobin’s friendship is tested by being pushed and pulled in this royal ruckus, and Gwynn has to learn to understand that the affection between Tobin and Falista is very similar to the affection she and Garret share – childhood friends with a romantic past who have grown into loving someone else.
Gwynn being merciful to Falista even after what looked very much like a treasonous act of aggression, and given both the past and the current situation with Yavalla, is enough to show Falista what Tobin sees in her. It’s part of the reason why she’s willing to let Tobin free from their marital bonds but keep her army; she sees why he loves her, and knows that he won’t stop doing so, but also respects Gwynn’s compassion herself. Everyone comes out of The Outpost season 3, episode 11 having learned more about each other. And it sets Falista on a path of learning how to control her kinj, even if it still seems a bit odd to let her roam around with it given its power.
Admittedly, Falista is advised to seek help from Talon and Zed, both of whom have kinjes of their own, but they’re too busy with a new quest to visit the Plain of Ashes in order to locate Talon’s father, who might know the location of the black kinj – the only means of killing Yavalla. This is a flimsy plan based on little actionable evidence, and all Talon’s friends tell her so, but they also realize that she’s going to go through with it regardless and eventually relent. I’m curious and a bit worried about how The Outpost is going to depict the Plain of Ashes, given budgetary constraints, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Wren will also be present for this excursion, much to Janzo’s annoyance, since it’ll require the cooperation of Zed’s brother, who was apparently “crazy in love” with her, the emphasis being on the “crazy”. He’ll try to kill anyone who approaches him other than Wren, apparently. I’m in no position to argue. Then there’s also the small matter of the Outpost itself being infected thanks to several exceedingly idiotic decisions that it isn’t worth going into. It had to happen eventually. The question now is what happens next.
What did you think of The Outpost season 3, episode 11, “The Hardest Part of Being Queen”? Comment below.