Review: Final Space “The Set Up”

 

 

Overview (Spoilers Below)

The crew assembles for a special holiday that Clarence made up. The festivities include a dinner, drinks, and togetherness. In fact, it’s eerily similar to our Thanksgiving, sans a plate of purple, gooey yams. Clarence invented the holiday for the crew to “lavish praise” onto him. Instead, the crew lavishes praise onto each other, causing Clarence to feel left out. As opposed to sharing his feelings, like a sensible mushroom-headed alien, he cuts a deal with Gary’s mom to betray his team.

He sends them to Darga Spaceport, a family space station filled with charming shops, restaurants, and activities. Basically, it’s Caesar’s Palace in space. Once everybody leaves to explore the station, Clarence steals the two dimensional keys for Mrs. Goodspeed who already has two of her own.

HUE and Mooncake set out on their own adventure that involves HUE entering a Robot Battle Royale to win a corny-looking pimp hat. While the other bots are much bigger and way more intimidating, HUE comes out the victor after his powerful competitors annihilate one another. It’s really good for his self-esteem.

Clarence—the bumbling idiot—can’t even steal correctly and his deception is immediately uncovered by Fox. After giving his son a quick, massively deadly, electric shock to the sternum, Clarence runs off. Fox has just enough energy to contact Ash who is superbly pissed that her father tried to kill her brother. Drama!

Gary, Little Cato, and Nightfall pursue Clarence throughout the city. He evades capture by shedding his skin suits—which he’s been wearing the entire time. One second he’s gross little Clarence, then he’s a snake/rat hybrid, then an orange bug creature, and finally he respawns a Clarence skin to meet Mrs. Goodspeed. Yes, Clarence is strange, but deep down he only wants to be loved and appreciated.

Coming as no surprise to anyone, except for Clarence, Sheryl betrays him the second she gets her hands on the keys. Gary and company arrive a minute too late and confront the battered and broken alien. He apologizes for the betrayal and even tells them where Gary’s mom is headed to get the final key. But they don’t forgive him. They feel he’s only repentant because he lost, and they’re probably right. And so, they abandon him on Darga, to think about what he’s done.

Meanwhile, the Robot Battle Royale was an elaborate scam. The organizer set it up so the winner could rip off a gang of robbers he used to run with. HUE wants nothing to do with the room full of thugs with guns, so he and Mooncake abscond with a briefcase filled with money. When he returns the loot to the cops, they lavish praise on HUE and shower him with money and the very pimp hat he admired earlier. It’s really good for his self-esteem.

 

Our Take

Believe it or not, KVN grew the most as a character in this episode. Sure, they’re obviously setting up a major redemption arc for Clarence, but that’s a few weeks away, and they’ve only just set the ground work. But KVN, expressing the love Clarence doesn’t have for his kids, sacrificed his own sanity to save Fox. This could be a new beginning for KVN. A once despised character may now be revered, even though he has become completely insane.

At last, we’ve learned Sheryl Goodspeed’s motivation. She has made a deal with one (or more) of the evil Titans in order to see her husband again. In a way, this goes against the previous episode where, through flashbacks, we found out that she loved John, just not enough. But Sheryl has had some time to reflect on her past mistakes, and it seems that she’s chosen love over a career in espionage and general nefariousness. So, in a more accurate way, her behavior makes complete sense.

With only a few episodes left in the season, it was due time for Clarence to make a move. So far he’s been nothing more than a constant annoyance and the perfect character to hate with a burning passion—which takes some of the pressure off Tribore. But there have been so many nods and hints to his ruthless ways, that a full-on betrayal was inevitable. As mentioned above, this will eventually lead to a redemption arc for the character, because deep down he’s a scamp with a heart who only wants to be loved. However, his redemption will likely lead to his untimely death.

Think about it. What else could they do with the character after he does something noble to save the day? He can’t go back to his shady dealings and illegal shenanigans. And nobody’s interested in seeing a nice, fatherly Clarence. So there’s a good chance that this might be the beginning of this old, cruddy alien’s swan song. But hey, prove me wrong, 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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