‘Final Space’ weaves themes of family and friendship into a rip-roaring, emotion-eviscerating season finale

Upon learning that Avacato murdered Little Cato’s real parents, Ash turns against the crew and kidnaps him, leading Gary and Avacato to journey to the layer of Invictus himself to get the kid back while Quinn and the rest of the Team Squad make a last ditch effort to fix the Transdimensional Space Bridge and get home.

“The Devil’s Den” has all the makings of a great season finale: Extremely high stakes, strong personal conflict, converging storylines, and a ticking clock. All of this came together to bring an extra air of danger and drama and, to be perfectly honest, if there is one rather unfair criticism of this episode that I want to make, it is that no time was spared for the aftermath. No time for Little Cato to process what he’d learn, no time for Gary to deal with his loss… I could have easily and happily spent another half hour watching an epilogue of nothing but the characters talking about how they felt because, to be frank, I love them all that much.

Except maybe KVN.

Final Space is a series that has evolved and become before our eyes. It makes mistakes, acknowledges them, and rectifies them, becoming all the better for it. Characters I couldn’t stand become characters I adore.

Well, I still can’t stand Tribore in large doses. Thankfully, Final Space has been using him in increasingly smaller and smaller increments as it continues its evolutionary process. Perhaps, if fate is kind and a fourth season comes, he will only be mentioned in passing every now and then?

This was a near-perfectly paced and balanced episode, with both halves of the story complimenting each other and never distracting. Characters grew and it felt earned. Emotional climaxes were reached and it felt earned.

I’ve often said that, what sets Final Space apart from its competition, is that it embraces positivity and optimism — that the series is about a group of good people trying like hell to do the right thing and, even though they don’t always succeed, they continue to try. This doesn’t make them screwups, hell… this makes them the most relatable bunch I’ve ever seen on television. They try. They stumble. They fall. They try again.

The cliffhanger? We’re going to call that a fall and we’re also going to call that a good damn reason why this series needs a renewal. If someone was able to dredge up a reason to renew Laser Wolf, they can do the same thing for Final Space.

There is really no logical reason why Final Space should be this captivating. I remember back in the first season, the main protagonist, Gary, was somewhat of a creep who made out with a refrigerator because he was so lonely and sad. Looking at the show now, with its deep themes of family and friendship, it’s hard to believe that it’s the same show. The guy who made out with a fridge and desired cookies so badly that he screamed about it constantly in a shrill and irritating voice is suddenly this multilayered, loving father figure to an entire crew and it is amazing television. Simply amazing.

Somewhere along the way, Final Space decided to stop being a comedy science fiction series and decided to be a science fiction drama series with sporadic moments of comedy and, despite the fact that this shift should not have worked, it did. Truthfully, if there is more Final Space — and there should be an emergency law passed by all three houses that this should happen — I would watch it even if another joke was never uttered.

This series has been heartbreaking and uplifting and it has been a genuine joy to watch it come into its own this year. Simply put, this is the best television series that animation has to offer, hands down. I make this verbose claim unironically and with full honesty: Final Space is the best animated series on the air today and it is certainly the best series that Adult Swim has to offer.

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