The first episode of The CW’s new fantasy series The Outpost (premiering Tuesday, July 10 at 9PM) opens with the story already in progress, seemingly doing away with the requisite origin for a protagonist on a quest in a mystical, mythical world. But that somewhat unconventional beginning is soon undermined by a lengthy flashback sequence, and the rest of the episode (the only one made available for review) indulges in just about every fantasy cliché there is, all put together on what looks like a budget maybe a thousandth of what HBO spends on Game of Thrones.
Of course Talon (Jessica Green) is on a quest, and of course she’s the last survivor of an ancient race, and of course she has secret abilities that may indicate that she’s some sort of, let’s say, chosen one. She’s introduced in the kind of rowdy tavern that exists alongside every road in every fantasy setting, where she’s soon thrust into the middle of a massive fight, all while trying to glean information from a tattoo artist who may be able to tell her who killed her family and all the other Blackbloods, who are basically just elves whose ears have two pointy bits instead of just one.
In the midst of the melee, the tattooist lets Talon know that he gave seven men the distinctive mark that she noticed on her clan’s killers, and he’s in the process of naming them (he gets to two) when he’s killed mid-sentence by an arrow through the heart, like something out of a Monty Python sketch. Fleeing from her pursuers, Talon ventures across a forbidden wasteland to the title location, which looks like a generic-brand Winterfell and where she encounters a literal knight in shining armor, the handsome Captain Garrett Spears (Jake Stormoen), with whom she exchanges many smoldering looks.
To get to the Outpost, Talon must fight off some bargain-basement versions of White Walkers and escape a horde of zombies called “plaguelings,” all in an effort to evade soldiers from the Prime Order—ensuring that The Outpost has ripped off multiple popular genre properties before its heroine even gets to the show’s primary location. Once there, Talon sets up shop in yet another rowdy tavern, where she conveniently comes across one of the men she’s been searching for.