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Starting this out, I've gotta be honest with you. Writing a recap of And Beyond is genuinely a challenge for me because, in spite of the fact that I've listened to it ad nauseam in a desperate attempt to properly understand it, I still have an impossibly hard time figuring out what in the hell is going on in this episode. There's an oracle and an important Alliance officer that shows up for approximately fifteen minutes and by the end of it we're in another timeline and for the life of me I cannot figure out where the switch happens.

Also, Levi and Akmazian spend approximately an entire day in a hole.

Considering the amount of narrative weight And Beyond has to lift, it makes sense that there is so much happening all at once, but also if I think about any single piece of it too intensely I hear a fuse blow in my brain. From the devious Admiral Callaghan to the ominous yet infrequently mentioned Galactic Federation and also the vaguely evil Macguffin-esque alien artifact, there is so much plot thrown at you in a very short period of time. And after five plus years of listening to this show, I'm still not sure I understand it! There is a conspiracy, I know that much, and it involves using Akmazian as a scapegoat, and after that is only frantic conjecture backed up by equally confusing plot hints.

I love mystery solving so much but good lord I need a nap after this one.

The part of the episode I do understand, at least, revolves around Jane and Ryan still needing to work on their hijink-ing skills and the perpetual failure of Jane-ing people. Which turns into assaulting a man with a rifle and eventually murdering Admiral Callaghan, but you know, that's how all office parties usually go, right?

And Beyond is a huge crux of the entire story, the last scrap of normalcy before Ryan is flung into an alternate timeline where everything he knew to be true is turned upside down. Knowing this in a relisten, the whole episode feels horribly like a farewell, a funeral for characters who don't know they're dying. The implications are expansive and horrible and inspire a yawning sense of dread, and then it all ends with Akmazian still stuck in a hole. Emotional whiplash if I've ever seen it.

All in all, this season finale does so much and if anyone can leave it feeling normal and well-adjusted, I commend them. In the meantime, I'm going back to my mystery board and agonizing over throwaway lines of dialogue again and I will see you in three to five business days. Or longer.

Probably longer.