“Then what was the point of this entire trial?”
I love a good courtroom drama. I mean a good courtroom drama. Stuff like 12 Angry Men or The Firm are deeply satisfying, largely because you feel like you’re a part of that courtroom and helping solve this murder (or whatever) too, and that’s an exciting feeling as most of us in our lifetime probably won’t be a member of the jury on a murder trial. So Space Dandy taking this construct as their plaything this week got me quite excited, and unsurprisingly it’s a great fit for the show.
Like any good story of this nature, we get the details of this case slowly eked out testimony by testimony. We know that Guy Reginald, the husband of Rose, a Boobies waitress, was murdered with a baseball of all things, with Dandy being the prime suspect. The defense insists that Dandy was simply trying to catch the bounty of Reginald, considering the high price on a rare alien of this kind. The stage is set and we can begin to connect these dots, solve the crime, and determine if Dandy is innocent or all, just like in all great courtroom dramas.
The episode even stylistically splits itself into Law and Order-esque title cards outlining the different sections of the court process to give everything a little more weight. Although it’s a missed opportunity that the “Recess” section didn’t coincide with the act break.
There’s some typically Space Dandy science at play here too which effectively complicates Reginald’s murder and gives it its Dandy stamp of approval. The chemical pionium is present, which is essentially the God particle, and just having the intent to kill when around it could do something like, say, send a baseball murder weapon through dimensions and complete this goal. The idea of this phantom intent to kill almost being like Kennedy’s magic bullet is really smart stuff, and soon the trial switches from trying to blame Dandy or Rose for the murder, but rather who is wielding this kill lust.
It was nice to see that this is one of the more beautiful Space Dandy episodes we’ve seen in a while when it comes to the alien designs. There’s crazy, weird stuff here like the hugeeee jackal prosecutor, or any of the other creatures that make up the courtroom or jury. There’s also a sequence where Hiroshi and Jack are playing baseball and “committing” the murder, that’s insanely animated with a sound design to match and is some of the series most interesting work to date. There’s also some deeply creative “camerawork” going on this week too, with split screen, snap zooms, and even a handheld look at times giving a little more movement and visual flair to an episode that takes place almost entirely in a courtroom.
Very early on in this episode there’s an increasing social media presence, which at first seems like a joke, but as Meow finds Hiroshi and Jack on Twitter, there’s an incredible turn where this is where the real mystery is playing out. It’s through this Twitter browsing, that’s going around the actual trial at hand, that this is going to be solved.
Similarly, turning this episode into a story that’s actually all about Hiroshi and Jack’s friendship (and the hatred within it, which again falls back on being about social media), rather than Reginald and Rose’s marriage, is super smart stuff. It’s again turning the tables and spinning the focus in a genre that’s very well defined. This results in everything getting wrapped up exactly as it should, and it being a very satisfying answer to everything that’s happened. The reveal of Guy Reginald actually having sleep apnea feels like a cop out and a weak ending, but it also feels like it’s paying respect to the idea of constant plot twists and left-field complications in stories from this genre. On the other hand, Dandy having been asleep through the whole trial, missing it all, and having no idea of the serious situation he was in is just vintage Dandy in all its greatness.
Now this ending….wow. This show has ended on an insane notes before like with the universe being destroyed, or everyone being zombies, or the members of a rock band, but this feels like it might be an actual two-parter as the planet seems to be invaded by marauding aliens in the final moments. It’s hard to say though, because the limited previews for next week’s final episode (whyyyyyy!) don’t seem to carry this stuff over necessarily, but we’ll see. Regardless, it still looks like it’ll be one of the more gorgeous episodes to go out on, and the fact that this show is ending is something that I wish was on trial, because I’m having a hard time accepting it.