The season finale of Freeform’s BEYOND brought a solid final chapter to the fun and charming ride that was its first season, though it wasn’t perfect and at times fell just shy of what could have been a truly climactic conclusion.
We pick up where we left off–Frost has put both Willa AND Holden into the machine that will transport them to the Realm. Frost is about to go under himself so that he may follow Holden to the bridge at the “Ocean of Light” that will allow him to officially cross to the afterlife and see his wife Celeste again. But not before Tess Shoemacher consults Frost about her concerns. The machine is untested and their entire organization is based on the assumption Holden will in fact be able to cross the bridge. The investors are anxious. A lot is riding on this one experiment. Frost doesn’t seem worried (he should be). Before being put under, he reveals to Holden that he is Willa’s father. Frost also tells him that if they get to the Realm and Holden doesn’t want to take him to the bridge, he has a little insurance policy: his brother Luke. They go under and are transported to a place in the middle of the tundra, snow and wind whipping them in the face, Willa nowhere to be found. Off without a hitch so far, Frost!
Meanwhile, Luke is still trying to “science” his way out of the room by short-circuiting the electronic lock on the door of the room he’s being held in. However, when he does it he inadvertently starts a fire, setting off an alarm. As he hears guards rushing for his room, he readies himself with a glass plate in order to smash it over the guard’s head. However, as soon as the door opens and the guard comes rushing in, he slips on the food from the plate Luke wiped off onto the floor, and incapacitates himself, leaving the door wide open for Luke to run out. He does. He doesn’t make it far, though, on his way out, he runs into Tess, who he recognizes from the coffee shop, piecing it together that it wasn’t a coincidence he met her. She calls some armed men, who escort Luke to see his brother, now back in an induced coma and hooked up to the machine. Luke is forced to watch with Tess as Holden, Willa, and Frost lay comatose, traveling in the Realm.
Back home in Fort Reed, Holden and Luke’s parents Tom and Diane, who have been split up the entire season, are finally coming back together, but not in a romantic way. After finally confronting Pastor Ian about his foundation Helping Hands’ connection to shadow company Hollow Sky, Diane goes to Tom to tell him. When she steps inside Tom’s place, she sees he has one of those walls with pictures and newspaper articles connecting people and incidents, etc., that you only see on detectives or crazy people use. Diane chooses to see it as Tom being a detective for the best interest of keeping his family safe and not the act of an insane person. She tells him if he goes to the police, she will support him.
In the Realm, Holden and Frost come upon one of the Temple safe havens. While Frost is inspecting some interesting hieroglyphics on the floor, Willa comes from nowhere and hits him over the head with a rock. She’s actually about to beat him to death when she discovers he went against his word and brought Holden in after all. But Holden stops her, knowing that if Frost dies, Luke will, too. From there, they head to the bridge together. But Holden has a new plan. He remembers how Arthur was very insistent that they stop humanity from reaching too far, from crossing that bridge to the afterlife. So he will take Frost to the bridge, but instead of crossing it, he will destroy it.
Meanwhile, Daniel, Arthur’s assistant, implores him to stop relying on others and to use his brilliance to make the machine that Holden destroyed work again. “Fix this and claim your immortality,” he says. Arthur takes it to heart, and we later see him rebuilding the machine, then hooking himself up to it.
Tom and Diane do go to the police and report to them the shady business that is Hollow Sky. Tom hands over a picture of Yellow Jacket and tells him that this is the man who likely killed Jeff’s brother Kevin. The cop seems skeptical, as he should be. But when Diane tells him emotionally that she FELT something wrong about Pastor Ian, the cop says he’ll see what he can do. (SIDENOTE: So the cop ignores the evidence Tom presents him and goes with Diane’s FEELINGS she had talking to a Pastor? Not buying it, but sure). Later in the episode, we do see the cop calling an FBI investigator about Yellow Jacket. Yes! This guy needs to get what he deserves!
Except, maybe he doesn’t. The one time we see him in the finale, he’s catching up with none other than Charlie, who we know Tess has ordered him to kill. In a surprising twist, he reaches into his jacket and DOESN’T pull out a gun. It’s a piece of folded paper he hands to her. What is it? “Arthur’s location,” he tells Charlie, who we know has some bone to pick with the old man. Yellow Jacket tells her he wants to help her and Holden. I’m actually quite pleased that Yellow Jacket at least appears to be joining Team Holden, though I’m sure Holden will have a few things to say about him helping Charlie get to (and presuming murder) Willa’s grandfather Arthur. Yellow Jacket has been one of the more interesting characters to watch over the course of the season and this sets his storyline in an exciting direction for next season.
And finally, Holden, Willa, and Frost reach the bridge. But it’s not there! Seems like they should pack it up and head home, right? Nope. Frost is unwilling to accept it. He wants to see his dear Celeste who told him she’d be waiting for him on the other side just before she died. He demands that Holden do something. And do something he does. Recalling how he manipulated the fire under Arthur’s guidance, Holden reaches out his hand, closes his eyes, and suddenly a brilliant light engulfs him. He grabs his head as if in pain. Back in reality, the machine is going bonkers, sparking. Luke is terrified for his brother. Holden, nose bleeding, puts his fist to the ground where the bridge should be, and suddenly it’s there, spanning across the ocean of light into something they can not see.
Frost runs across the bridge when a figure emerges coming towards them. It’s Celeste! He tearfully kisses her, but we immediately know something is wrong. Willa is tempted to run onto the bridge and see her mother, but Holden tells her it’s not Celeste. When she looks again it’s one of those terrifying faceless guys, maggots pouring out of its mouth leaning in for a kiss with Frost (I’m assuming this kills him). Suddenly an entire horde of these guys start to cross the bridge. Holden and Willa know that they can’t let them cross. Holden needs to blow up the bridge.
But again there’s a little snafu when Holden recalls the flashes he saw of him letting Willa go. We had assumed these were in the past, the time they spent together previously in the Realm. It turns out, this is the future. Holden knows that if he blows up the bridge, he will lose Willa. She says he has to do it. They grab hands and he punches the ground again, blowing up the bridge. The entire Realm seems to crumble around them! This time Holden falls, screaming as he tumbles through nothingness. In reality, the machine is short circuiting, sparking. Luke is able to run out of the observing room and down to where his brother is in the machine. Willa wakes up, and it’s unclear for a bit if Holden will, but he ultimately does (come on, did you really think they’d kill him off?).
With the help of Jeff, the three are able to escape the compound, Jeff having taken one of Frost’s security teams’ Range Rovers. On one of the only two roads out, they play chicken with an oncoming security vehicle. Going 60 mph, Holden uses his powers to cause the van to FLIP over them, clearing their path for escape. It’s pretty bad ass.
From here the episode winds down. Holden and Willa say goodbye for now, Willa imparting her mothers compass on Holden as a gift. Holden and Luke return home to their parents, both acknowledging they have to keep lying to them to keep them safe, which Holden admits he is not sure they are anyway. But he will do his best to keep them safe.
The episode ends with Holden dreaming he’s in another Realm that looks like it’s crumbling, dying. He wakes up in the middle of the woods where he was originally put into this coma and sees his younger self, who tells him that because he blew up the bridge, their world is now in danger, just as previous worlds like the Realm were. He looks down at Willa’s compass and it’s going berserk. Do Holden and his crew now hold the fate of our world in their hands?
Overall, it was an exciting conclusion, and left it on an interesting note for season two (can’t wait!). It definitely had some great moments, but overall felt just a tad anti-climactic with nobody being killed off (although, though unconfirmed, Frost I think is as good as dead) and a relatively easy escape for our heroes. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this Freeform series, my first one ever, and it makes me want to give some other shows of theirs a chance. Well done, Beyond! Now hurry up with the follow-up season!
Season 1, Episode 10 (S01E10)
Beyond airs Monday at 9PM on Freeform
Paul just awoke from a twelve-year coma to discover he possesses the mystical ability to watch an insane amount of TV and write incredible reviews for all.
Paul Gulyas | Contributor