“Even if that is the case, I will continue to shout.”
Imagine if the second-to-last episode of Breaking Bad opened with Walter White just turning himself into the police. That’s more or less what happens here as Terror in Resonance begins to prove that as its wrapping things up, it’s not going to hold anything back. We see Nine turning himself in and effectively having Sphinx surrender in the opening seconds of the episode, and immediately we know this is going to be big and the beginning of the end.
While not a lot happens in the first three-fourths of this episode, I deeply appreciated that we got to see a meeting get held on whether Sphinx’s demands should be met and whether Nine should be negotiated with. This show can get so caught up in the execution of things at times, that it’s nice to see it step back for a minute and get in a discussion about all of this, rather than just blindly following what Nine says or outright denying him what he wants. It’s a complex situation and it’s treated as such.
While a third of Sphinx is facing the music, Twelve and Lisa are at an amusement park all episode, winning stuffed bears, as Twelve tries to run away from his responsibilities. He feels unable to face Nine, let alone the police, and even though she doesn’t say a lot this week, it’s welcome to see Lisa be the more forceful one here. She wants to go to Nine’s press conference while Twelve is paralyzed in fear. It’s a wonder what having a bomb strapped to you can do for your confidence.
Shibazaki’s quest for more knowledge and eagerness to end all of this is great, but it’s kind of garbage and beyond frustrating that Shibazaki isn’t allowed to see Nine over petty egotism and bureaucracy. It feels like it’s drawing this out as we move to the finale, which can be inevitable sometimes, but it’d just be nice if the reasoning behind it was a little less ridiculous. Having Shibazaki busy somewhere else, so he can’t get to the police station, would even suffice.
The conclusion of the episode is pretty spectacular though and a stark contrast to the beginning of everything. There are some pretty wonderful action set pieces on a roaring highway that are exhilarating and don’t hold back at all. It’s nice for the episode to be able to indulge in this sort of thing now, after the very non-active episodes we’ve gotten recently.
Along these lines, it’s welcome to see Five get pretty unhinged for once, making rash decisions and flailing to stay afloat. Her vendetta and absolute need to get Nine is obsessive, enjoyable stuff. Their conclusion is extremely tense and the result of it even more so. Not to mention it being beautifully animated. While I might have even preferred the brashness of Five shooting Nine in the head before the final episode, where things are poised now for the finale is pretty perfect; a simple, boiled down, stop the bomb plot, which at the end of the day has always been this show’s favorite hat to wear. How things wrap up with Five does feel a little convenient and easy, but seeing the trauma of it on Nine next week will hopefully justify it.
I thought it was fairly interesting that when Shibazaki is talking to Mamiya, and he says that starting the Athena Project was to make Japan a superpower and have the most formidable specimen coming out of there. Are we really doing things that much differently now? This backstory is played against everyone rushing so that Sphinx’s atomic bomb doesn’t go off, but we’re doing the same thing. Whether our secret weapons are A-bombs, super children, or whatever’s next, their purpose is still all to intimidate and dominate, regardless of how it’s being done.
And that might be what this show was about in the end. That this self-destruction is cyclical and even if Shibazaki cools everything down and the atomic bomb is stopped in time, something else will still be right around the corner. While this is a deeply depressing, albeit realistic perspective, this show has always been one that wallowed in its bleakness. In spite of all of that though, an alternative is still presented. Shibazaki yells back at Mamiya that “even if that [hopelessness] is the case, I will continue to shout.” Some people aren’t going to give up. In spite of everything, they’re still going to keep fighting. While this war will never truly be over, next week we’ll get to see who wins the battle.
I’m going to need to smoke some Shensei cigarettes to calm my nerves over all of this in the meantime.