Terror in Resonance: Deuce Review

An incredibly focused entry has everyone playing a big game of cat-and-mouse to find a bomb in what might be the series’ best episode yet.

“So the culprit is having a match with someone?”

That was a lot of fun, wasn’t it?

I mean, wasn’t it? I’ve spoken a lot about how Terror in Resonance is largely about playing games and viewing terrorism through the filter of this twisted vantage point. Many episodes have reinforced this idea, but none more than this one that devotes the entire episode to a bomb-locating game of chess being played between Sphinx and the recently introduced, Five, with Shibazaki close by for every step of the game, too.

This is also one of the most refreshing episodes in a while as Five knows exactly how Nine and Twelve operate and catches them on their patterns immediately. Suddenly these enigmatic ciphers are painted as predictable and careless even, and it’s a welcome change. To have these two strong-minded forces, and then watch them play a literal and metaphorical game of chess with each other is deeply engaging. 

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Not enough can be said on the simplicity of this chess plot and how well done it is. It’s executed nearly perfectly as crazy suspense courses through the entire episode, which could also be playing out in real-time. It honestly feels like it’s a segment out of a David Fincher film or something; this animated version of The Game as all of this gets boiled down to a scavenger hunt within an airport, in what’s more or less an effortlessly structured bottle episode. There’s a beautiful moment where Shibazaki and Nine finally meet, as Nine rushes by him, neither of them realizing the weight of this passing, as if to highlight how connected and focused this entry is. We just watch these two sides trade chess moves back and forth while the geography of the airport is shown off, and it couldn’t be more exciting. A frenetic energy pushes it all forward.

Five’s plan is also pretty ingenious across the board, not only in its chess veneer, but also where the bomb is hidden. She has proven herself as a more than worthy opponent here, and it’s exciting to see where this show may be going with this brilliant mind. 

While this is a deeply fun episode, and probably my favorite of the series so far, surprisingly, it still doesn’t advance things much storywise, but that might in exchange for getting this boiled down suspense play. We know Five is working with the police and has a score to settle with Nine (but surprisingly little beef with Twelve), but beyond that, not much else either. This episode does very much feel like the big, impressive set piece before the story of the season starts coming down to wrap it up. Lisa is still largely not being used as anything more than bait or a weakness in Nine and Twelve’s otherwise smart plans, but at least she gets to officially become “Sphinx Number 3” this week. And I don’t see the show going down the route of Lisa being the key to everything or the link that breaks it all. It seems smarter than that.

As we grow closer to the end of the season though, it would be nice to delve deeper into everyone, especially Lisa, but we’ll perhaps get to it next week. Or we won’t. If this is the cost of development, it’s hard to be that upset. That was never this show’s point. There’s been a shady childhood trauma story alluded to since the pilot that’s still not much more beyond what we got then. This show is about the tension, fear, and hidden terror that is ever present in the world, and this episode is a love letter to that.

Knight to C-6. Your move.

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4.5 out of 5