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Friday, 5 of March of 2021

Sym-Bionic Titan – “The Fortress of Deception”

We’re not done yet.”

Among some of the folks I follow on Twitter, noticeably Daniel Walters and Justin Fowler,  there’s been discussion of how much impact a season finale can have on a particular season and our reception of it. Debate centered around whether or not a bad finale could hamper an otherwise strong season, or if a great finale helps elevate a murky season (see: Lost, season 3 (though it was getting progressively better before the finale, but that finale is amazing)). Likewise, a bad finale can only make a bad season seem all that worse (see: Battlestar Galactica, season 4 (at least in my opinion)).

The other central point that people discussed was the over-emphasis placed on the finale as an end-all be-all determiner of quality of a season. This is a silly mentality to take, of course. A season finale can’t wipe out all the good that has come before it (nor can a series finale for that matter (well, maybe)), and it shouldn’t be thought of as doing so.

Which is exactly the mentality I have about “The Fortress of Deception”: it may’ve been action-packed, but it wasn’t at all what the season had been leading up to recently.

After the solid run of episodes that really highlight the characters and their lives on Earth, “Fortress of Deception” decides to step back and be a very action-centric episode. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but the episode doesn’t execute it very well, especially given the significance the episode could have had.

Being abducted by the G3 offers a hint at narrative reveals galore, especially as G3 has been a question hovering over the show since the first episode. And to a degree, the episode answers these questions, and I feel like I’m talking about Lost now, but the answers feel inconsequential to the episode, since the episode seems more concerned with Lance being a badass and Octus wandering the globe for the airship. The lack of character moments, between Lance and Illana especially, as they try and survive this ordeal, weakened the episode overall.

I think my dissatisfaction stems from the fact that, going on the assumption that Lance’s father is Solomon (he’s not), I had already decided that there was some connection between G3 and Galaluna, and to have that simply confirmed wasn’t very engaging in an episode with lots of explosions and shattered helmet visors.

So what positives do I find? The animation was top-notch, as it always is, but this episode felt particularly clean and smooth, especially given the reliance on hand-to-hand combat in the episode. I’d argue that this was probably the best looking episode since the pilot. This is especially vital for the reveal that Solomon has had Galalunaian combat training. Though this reveal also irked me as it should’ve been a point at which everyone calms down and answers one another.

So like G3 and the trio, now we wait to see what’s next. I’m hoping that the show reclaims the balance between character and action that the series developed in the previous episodes. In the end, however, the finale doesn’t ruin those episodes for me. But those episodes probably ruined this finale.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • Well Lance was Mr. Fanservice, wasn’t he?
  • That is an awful lot of firepower to be using in your own frelling airship headquarters, G3. Seriously. Scale it back a bit, okay?
  • Appreciated the return of Detective Blutosky, even if it was only a brief cameo.

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