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[MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD]
On the previous episode of Final Space, Ash and Gary began the journey of processing their emotions following the death of Fox at the hands of Invictus. Following the funeral, Ash went off on her own, where she was able to befriend Evra and come to terms with her sexuality. Ultimately, she had been through so much, and it was the ability to be herself with someone new that made the difference. Gary on the other hand fought with Avocato after he revealed that he had murdered Little Cato’s parents. This allowed Gary to come to the realization that even though Fox was gone, he could be there for the people he loves now, resulting in him comforting Ash at the end of the episode. “Hyper-Transdimensional Bridge Rising” follows the Team Squad as they attempt to activate the hyper-transdimensional bridge, yet the appearance of a surprise character ends up stealing the show. In short, the group makes their way back to Earth after Kevin Van Newton notified them in “Forgiveness” that he was ready to get them out of Final Space. This is a great concept as it provides the Team Squad with a clear-cut mission that they can accomplish together, which often has resulted in some of the best episodes for the series, such as in “All the Moments Lost” and “The Remembered.” Yet this episode quickly took a turn when Kevin Van Newton revealed that there was nothing for them to do; instead, the Team Squad needed someone outside of Final Space to activate the other end of the bridge. In comedic back and forth, they touch on all those they have lost and all the bridges they have burned thus far, the latter of which will come back to haunt them later in the episode. Nevertheless, only Ash is able to name someone who may be able to help them: Clarence, who is probably one of the biggest surprises this season so far even with everything that has happened to the group.
In a turn of events, despite previously betraying the Team Squad during Season 2, Clarence may be their only remaining hope. Interestingly, Ash and Gary argue about whether they can actually trust him throughout the episode, yet it seems that he’s still willing to have some faith in her decision to ask him for help because of Gary’s newfound perspective to be there for her. Nonetheless, much of the episode turns out attention to Clarence, who we find disheveled, unable to process being alone without Ash and Fox. That being said, after receiving the message from Ash asking for him to activate the hyper-transdimensional bridge on his end, he appears to jump at the chance to make things right with her. From the perspective of the viewer, it may also be difficult to trust that Clarence is genuinely willing to accomplish this task, but despite the difficulty of this mission, his tone says it all. His parental eagerness to support Ash after everything he’s done actually seems to mirror Sheryl’s own desire to make right by her own son. It’s that importance on doing right by family seen before that helped me to trust him.
This is of course easier said than done, as in order to send a transmission from Final Space to Clarence, the Team Squad basically had to do it in a way that anyone could intercept this message. Personally, I’m a huge fan of returning characters, so seeing Clarence come back in a positive role was already a treat, but the icing on the cake for “Hyper-Transdimensional Bridge Rising” was when some villains that Clarence and Gary had wronged in the past showed up. Although we were initially led to believe that only Todd H. Watson had come to prevent Gary from escaping Final Space, Clarence was also forced to face the likes of Mega KVN, David Dewinter, and even the Queen of Galang-22. By all means it would have been too easy plot-wise if Clarence could easily just turn on and connect the bridge on his own, so a villain such as Todd H. Watson made sense, but it’s even more entertaining to see so many returning faces. Such a cast of characters would definitely be too much for Clarence to handle, so on top of all of them we also got to see the return of Fraskenhaur, who is probably his only friend whether Clarence likes it or not. The battle that ensues combines equal parts comedy and action, but more importantly results in a memorable end where Clarence actually sacrifices himself to open the bridge after killing Todd H. Watson. Despite everything that was going on, he was determined to help Ash, in a way redeeming him—Clarence sacrificed everything, his life and wealth, for family. However, the saddest part of this may be that Clarence died not knowing that Fox had also perished days ago.
The end of the Clarence plotline, following the connection of the two bridges, sees his death in the arms of Fraskenhaur. This scene left me conflicted as it features a legitimately hilarious moment where Fraskenhaur’s final words relate to his long running joke with Clarence where he states his sadness that he won’t be able to get dinner with him. I will admit it was a well-timed joke, but one could argue that this comedic moment may have hurt the seriousness of Clarence’s death. Similarly, KVN was up to his usual interrupting ways throughout the episode, featuring one wonderful moment where Gary actually throws him across the ship out of pure annoyance. This scene played out quite well, yet his comments throughout the rest of the episode did not seem to add anything and didn’t land. Even when the Team Squad eventually decided to stay back to defeat Invictus, he ruined any sort of tension. Lastly, there was a b-plotline related to Tribore and Quatronostro helping many of the inhabitants of Final Space get out through the bridge portal. On the one hand, it was great to see them finally accomplish their goal and basically fly off into the sunset together, but at the same time, their story was pretty average and there isn’t much to say about them, good or bad.
In the end, “Hyper-Transdimensional Bridge Rising” turned out to be a surprise Clarence episode that not only may have redeemed him as a character, but also brought a couple of secondary villains together for one final fight. Ultimately, it was legitimately sad to see Clarence in a complete state of depression, but it was heartwarming and powerful for him to rise to the occasion and give his life for his family. This was clear to Ash, who was more than happy to have proven Gary wrong, although I am concerned how she may react after learning that Clarence was killed by Todd H. Watson. Additionally, there were even some noteworthy comedic moments in the episode, yet one could argue they were still getting in the way of the greater seriousness of the plot. Nevertheless, with the Team Squad deciding to stay in Final Space to finish off Invictus, one has to wonder what horrors lie ahead of them. But, was Clarence redeemed in your eyes? What did you think about the comedy in this episode?
Season 3 Episode 9: “Hyper-Transdimensional Bridge Rising” (8/10)