“The Closer You Get” is a Disturbing and Devastating Chapter of ‘Final Space.’

Spoilers. Don’t read this if you haven’t watched the Final Space episode, “The Closer You Get”

I’ve said this about Final Space before, but it’s one of the view animated comedies – in the same vein as Rick and Morty and Futurama – that can tickle your funny bone one minute and then rip your still beating heart out of your ribcage the next and hold it in front of your horrified face as you slowly succumb to the cold, unforgiving embrace of the meaningless void. However, unlike its esteemed colleagues, Final Space does not delve into the emotional damage that nihilism brings with it or the melodramatic sadness that separation from a former life can bring… Final Space deals in tragedy. Sudden, unforgiving, indiscriminate tragedy. A tragedy that doesn’t care who you are, what you’ve been through, or how unfair it is.

To me, that makes Final Space‘s emotionally devastating moments that much more devastating and, in every conceivable measure, “The Closer You Get” was Final Space‘s biggest and most emotionally devastating bombs.

Actually, calling it a bomb is a little unfair… it was more of a nuclear warhead detonating atop an orphanage.

Avacato is back with the crew after being rescued from time but, thanks to injuries he suffered from the explosion that took his life in the first place, he has lost his memories of Gary, Little Cato, and the crew. The crew, of course, take the opportunity to try and whip his memories back into him with actual whips which is, yes… dumb, but makes sense in a Final Space kind of way. Avacato’s growls and meows, Clarence’s obvious sexual pleasure at the entire affair, Gary’s enthusiasm, and the fact that it ends up actually working makes the entire scene a hilarious distraction away from what is to come.

What follows is an episode that finally draws back the curtain on Invictus as a character and, as a character, he is everything that one could hope for in an antagonist… intimidating, seemingly unbeatable, and cruel. Given that the series has been lacking a central antagonist this season, the arrival of Invictus is a breath of fresh air… fresh, evil, and very scary air.

Simply put, this episode was phenomenal. Not only did it serve the mythology, not only did it advance the plot, not only did it introduce a formidable foe, but it, once again, raised some already high stakes and pushed characters to their breaking points. Quinn is basically being tortured, Gary goes through hell and is shot up like swiss cheese, Avacato is possessed, and Little Cato has to shoot the one person he wrecked time to save to save. He is forced to choose between the father he had and the father he found. It’s is strikingly touching and abhorrent at the same time.

I suppose that Avacato will be the face of Invictus from now on which both serves as a way to see this new villain with revulsion and familiarity which makes him all the more monstrous. It also cleverly brings Avacato back, which is something that fans – including myself – have been hoping for and yet, takes him away again preserving his lost status. It’s literally the best of both worlds for the character in the absolute worst possible way. I swear, Satan must have been on the writing staff for this episode.

Furthermore, it cements Little Cato’s guilt which has been a driving force in his character development and adds to it ten fold. This poor little guy has so many demons in his head right now I can’t even joke about it. Please tell me the next episode will just be 30 minutes of Little Cato going through the therapy he desperately needs.

Heck, I’m going to need therapy after this.

As I said… phenomenal episode. Final Space has gotten into the habit of reinventing itself and tossing its own chessboard into the air so many times that it’s almost something that I expect from this series now. Final Space has a credible threat finally loosed on the universe, it has taken a heavy toll on the crew both in body and mind, and it brings up the biggest question of all… one that I keep asking with every new episode: Where do we go from here?

I’m on board… I’m crying and emotionally damaged, but I’m on board.

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Written by Jason Gaston

Father, teacher, writer, photographer, artist, actor, male model, and inventor of the semicolon.

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