Dispatches from Elsewhere: Caves of Klepius Review
*This review contains FULL SPOILERS for Episode 7*
On this week’s episode of AMC’s Dispatches from Elsewhere, Cave of Klepius, the group begins to see the end of their journey and find information that changes their lives forever.
As we catch up to our main group after they find a strange apartment that’s been ransacked and that the Jejune Institute and Elsewhere Society are one in the same, they are left with an ultimatum about what to do next. Although most of the group wants to just call the police, Fredwynn (Andre Benjamin) isn’t about to do that since he’s both black and on plenty of watchlists – the second one made me laugh. However, as they’re sitting their debating, their finely dressed, newspaper carrying, milk drinking stalker ends up coming up the elevator and the group ensues chase. As all of this is happening, Octavio (Richard E. Grant) delivers another great opening monologue about there being “no turning back” and how the curiosity of the group, as well as viewers, could lead to tough answers and that we all need to be prepared to discover what’s ahead.
After a long-winded chase, the group is led to a trap door and Simone (Eve Lindley) and Janice (Sally Field) think that they’ve gone too far. However, Peter (Jason Segel) is more determined than ever to find answers, possibly even more than Fredwynn, and delivers a hero speech that drives him down the hole – although he does forget to use the ladder. Once he crashes down to the bottom and stumbles aimlessly through hallways, Peter finds another vision of Clara (Cecilia Balagot) that tells him to remember what’s real and what’s not. The rest of the group eventually catches up to Peter and their search for the “Milkman” leads them to a not so friendly looking door. As Janice reminds everyone to arm themselves because they have no idea what they’re walking into, Simone pulls out a trusty can of mace, Janice picks up a bottle on the ground and hilariously breaks it on a nearby pipe, and Fredwynn pulls a knife out of nowhere – which isn’t too surprising.
However, what Peter finds after he barrels through to the other side is actually quite surprising. First, we are treated to a genuinely funny moment as the group cheers on Peter when they think he’s being attacked even though he’s just tangled up in some costumes. It’s probably the funniest moment of the series so far and the embarrassment Peter has is great. More importantly though, the group finds that however is behind this game has information on all of them and the characters they’ve been seeing, like Sasquatch, have been people in costumes. As they push on ahead in search of the Milkman, they’re introduced to a seemingly strange cult with an unknown agenda.
At first, everything that’s happening is kind of left in the air as two factions, one with blue robes and the other with gold, fill up the room. What’s really going on though is actually really interesting as the group finds themselves in the finale they’ve been trying to avoid as the two sides debate about what Clara really means. It’s a moment that’s interesting because of how these two sides hate one another simply because the side they’ve “chosen” to be on. It’s this idea about an illusion of choice that Fredwynn has mentioned before and its interesting to see how this has come back in this way. It’s even funnier to see how much these sides heavily believe in what they’ve been told to the point that when Octavio comes out to speak, one side applauds him while the other boos. Also, there’s a pretty great moment where Simone’s fantasy about a talking dolphin comes true as it introduces Octavio.
When Octavio comes onto the stage and is eventually joined by Commander 14, it initially goes as you would expect. With the crowd’s help the two go at each other’s throats with their ideologies, but ultimately stop to show what this journey is really all about – comradery. It’s revealed to the rest of the group, since we already know this, that Octavio and Commander 14 are one in the same – either twins, clones, or the same person with the help of some costume changes and tech. However, they reveal that this game is not about conflicting sides battling to be right, but rather about coming together and forgetting about conflict. With this discovering and seeing where they’re standing, the group realizes that they’ve been playing the game all along and as Clara suddenly appears to sing Don’t Stop Believin’, the game seems as if it’s truly over.
Peter isn’t ready to give up though as he storms the stage with tears in his eyes and shakiness in his voice that isn’t ready to accept the end. It’s a truly heartbreaking moment that’s perfectly punctuated by Segel’s performance. Hell, even Fredwynn is left speechless with him being wrong and Peter is left standing up on stage embarrassed that things are over and that he is once again alone. Things are made even worse when Octavio tells Peter that he’s not as special as he thinks since he told everyone that they’re special. It’s a moment that really does feel like a finale and the true end – even though we know that it isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s obviously three episodes left of this season, so this isn’t really the end, but dammit the rest of this episode really makes it feel like it. Fredwynn is still looking for answers by talking to the actors of people he thought were big players only to take a look at his own issues for the first time in a beautifully moving sequence, Janice is still quarreling with her younger self and looking for purpose, and Simone is realizing her feelings for Peter while he mopes about everything he’s worked for being for nothing. In some ways, it should feel disappointing for viewers for the end to be this close, but the great character development and moments that unfold are just so incredibly satisfying.
Fredwynn’s realizations about his necessity to be right and finding the truth getting in the way of personal connections in his life is completely perfect. It’s a great callback to Peter’s realizations in the premiere and is the step forward I’ve been waiting for him. Not to mention, the conversations between him and the actors that play Clara and Octavio are both funny and enlightening. The real treat though comes in the form of Peter and Simone realizing their feelings for one another as it leads to one best scenes of the entire series. After some drinks, conversations with an elegant looking sasquatch, and some dancing, Peter and Simone come to terms with their feelings for one another and while Peter rejects her at first, he makes a big move to win her over. Shoving Clara aside again before she can finish her contractual musical number, which is really funny, Peter sings a song to Simone and with Fredwynn’s confidence coaching and Segel’s spectacular singing, it’s a purely romantic moment.
Their connection is eventually sealed with a kiss and it’s hard not to feel some tear-jerking emotion around this false finale. Often times, the end of something can feel unsatisfying because it’s over and even the opening monologue from Octavio warns viewers about their curiosity leading to unexpected or desired answers. In some ways, someone could leave the series now if they wanted to as these characters we’ve come to know and love have reached their personal goals and overcome their major issues. It’s a finale that’s satisfying to say the least and a pure swell of emotion that’s heartwarming and uplifting. However, like I said before, this isn’t the finale and we can’t forget about Janice.
While everyone is dealing with their issues and taking steps forward, Janice is waiting for her Uber driver outside to head back to Lev. However, as she waits, she sees Lee (Cherise Boothe) walking away from the party and suddenly all the pieces start to come together. Janice immediately comes to the conclusion that she is the “wizard behind the curtain” that Fredwynn has been searching for and Lee doesn’t seem interested in denying it. Rather she offers Janice a cryptic clue about the truth behind everything and a new breadcrumb that we’ll be following until the end.
Episode seven of Dispatches from Elsewhere offers a false finale that offers all the tear-jerking emotion and satisfying steps forward of a real one. It ends the journey we’ve come to know in a heartbreaking and heartwarming way while also making viewers and the characters think about what’s at the end of their journey. All the emotions and feelings that have brought us here now help us look forward as new problems are presented, and a new game is afoot.