Review: Final Space “The First Times They Met”

 

 

Overview (Spoilers Below)

We begin with KVN pressing an ominous button that creates a brand new, shiny KVN. This is bad, especially since they become fast friends. Then a power surge creates a half dozen more KVNs. This is worse because they’re all infected with a derangement virus and after being locked up for thirty years have only become more deranged. Plus, they want to kill Clarence.

But how did the power surge happen? That’s a question for the main storyline. It turns out Nightfall misses the Gary from her timeline really bad. So when our Gary from Earth-616 gets teasingly flirty, it upsets her and even drives her a little mad. She rushes to the Crimson Light’s holodeck—they don’t call it a holodeck, but it’s definitely a holodeck—and weird sciences-up a replacement Gary.

She creates this holo-Gary straight from her memories which makes him uber-realistic and a huge drain on the ship’s power. The rest of the crew gets locked in various rooms, creating some interesting pairings, including Fox and Little Cato who are constantly fighting, as well as HUE and Mooncake who have their own plan to restore AVA.

Nightfall isn’t sympathetic to her crewmate’s dispositions and instead wishes to relive old memories with her Gary while Gary-616 is forced to watch and feel. They met in similar circumstances to Gary and Quinn; except she wasn’t immediately repulsed by his immaturity and they actually dated. The other memories involve common couple activities, boring to most onlookers, but it gives Gary-616 a real look into Nightfall and how bad she must be hurting after permanently losing her companion. When holo-Gary proposes to Nightfall, despite the happiness it invokes, she knows deep down that their love is a mere reflection of what she once had, and that her friends are in trouble due to her selfishness.

Meanwhile, the rogue KVNs are pursuing Clarence, Fox, Ash, and Little Cato—with a murder-lust for Clarence. Those angry yellow balls of fury form a mecha KVN and stand tall and proud, knowing they’re basically indestructible. However, they make the mistake of cornering their victims near an airlock. Cato climbs to the manual lever, since the ship is still offline, and sends the KVNs into space. He would’ve gotten sucked out himself if Fox didn’t save him at the last minute, temporarily placing a pause on their arch-rivalry. It would’ve been a sweet moment if Ash hadn’t turned into a gun-happy lunatic, and the real KVN didn’t show up to ruin the mood.

Eventually, Nightfall pulls the plug on her virtual boyfriend. While this saves the ship, it kills her inside. Luckily Gary-616 is there to offer up his friendship but nothing more. It turns out they’re destined to be in each other’s orbit, but not together as a couple. And that’s kind of a bummer.

 

Our Take

There have been a lot of emotional and downright sad episodes of Final Space lately. Again, I have to elevate this program to an animated, multi-genre, space exploration show as opposed to the straight comedy it’s billed as. While traditional comedies tend to have serious moments, they seldom if ever execute it to this degree. Well done.

I do, however, have one complaint. The creators have gone out of their way to make Gary a responsible character who can be a little short-sighted or naïve. But when he and Nightfall were playing around with the bridge’s button panel, it really devaluated Gary’s progress. The same goes for Nightfall who has been very competent since her introduction. I know they played it for laughs, but Little Cato could’ve died due to their fooling around, and I’m not okay with that.

Pitting the two most annoying characters against each other—Clarence and KVN (at least various versions of him)—wasn’t as bad as I thought. Clarence’s cheapness was mentioned a few times but he mostly dealt with the deadly situation at hand without complaining much. The extra layer of the Fox and Cato feud finally coming to a boiling point was a much-appreciated element to this B-plot and further defined both their characters.

The B-plot itself was a little silly, but at least it gave Fred Armisen something interesting to work with. It was one of those plotlines that could be completely erased from existence without changing anything from the overall story. The even briefer C-plot did a better job at showing HUE’s struggle over being trapped in a finite body. His pain and desire to be a hero was authentic and the hurt when AVA shot him down truly resonated.

Overall, this was a story about Nightfall, Gary, and their lovers across different multiverses. While they’re all the same as far as appearance and general personality, there’s more to what makes humans human. A tough, yet poignant lesson for our heroes to learn that will make them stronger as they continue on with their quest to obtain the dimensional keys and to confront Final Space.

Gregory Austin

A writer, editor, voice actor, beta reader, and foppish Buffalonian socialite. On social media I discuss writing, cartoons, comic books, and why the Communist Manifesto really should've had pictures.

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