“She’s not one of us.”
Living with someone changes things. You can think that you know someone, be completely aware of their habits and idiosyncrasies, and yet it’s not until you live with them that you see how someone truly is. The filter is gone. There’s no escape. Living with someone changes things. And so I was reasonably excited after last episode ended with Lisa being taken back to Nine and Twelve’s home to live with them, figuring that with all of them in the same living quarters, some juicy details on Nine and Twelve would definitely come to a head. After seeing this episode, which is entirely enjoyable and successful in reasons completely independent of this, that’s not necessarily the case.
This episode is largely about the growing pains and new roomie situation between these three characters, but it nearly adopts a sitcom-y vibe as this lighter tone of these opposites rubbing against each other plays out. It’s all about awkwardness and inconvenience; there’s hardly the “worlds colliding” element that you’d expect there to be. But as this lighter fare goes forward, there’s still a very real darkness to it still. Pieces of conversation imply that anyone who’s gotten close to Nine and Twelve has had an unfortunate end, and the statement of “she’s not one of us” feels like it should be taken much more literally than usual. People have gotten hurt in the past, and as Lisa gets closer, it’s going to happen to her too. Just not in this episode. I mean, she’s pretty ill. She’s fainting much more than the average teenager should be.
Look, there’s another riddle and bomb setup in this episode, but I don’t think that this can be held against the show anymore. It’s clear by now that seemingly every entry will have a bomb and riddle to get through. It’s like their equivalent to the Angels from Evangelion; it’s much more a structural device than plotting, even. As long as they’re inventive and not derivative of each other, I’m on board with this. And this time the police department is really looking to prove something and can’t afford any more errors after the debacle of a leak that happened last episode. Nine and Twelve set their terrorism sights on a popular train car this week, and watching the two of them incognito change the fire extinguishers with their bombs in plain sight is perfectly done. It’s a small scene but it’s this sort of scary realism that this show prides itself in and is only getting more and more confident at.
We also have a mostly-absent Shibazaki (who unfortunately—from a character perspective—doesn’t seem to be too messed up from the accident last episode) who connects all of the bombings that have happened, or been attempted, so far to members of the Rising Peace Academy, effectively hinting a little more at what Sphinx’s end game might be. This United Nations-approximate could just be a big name that will leave a splash, and otherwise be a meaningless target to Nine and Twelve, or, they might have been in part responsible for whatever sort of twisted childhood they had.
And on the topic of that, we again get glimpses of Nine and Twelve’s childhood, along with the bitchin’ tune that accompanies it. Still not much is known here (other than that Lisa is not the same as them), but as the interesting development arises of someone else wanting Sphinx’s bomb to detonate, it becomes all the more exciting when it was more than likely Five, who is introduced here. More members of this child testing group still being around is a wonderful angle to explore if done right. Five even looks similar enough to Nine and Twelve, that perhaps another possible angle is that they were all cloning experiments that had variations upon each of them. How many of them were there? How many are left?
It’s nice to get some momentum moving forward here, but it still feels like there’s “something more” waiting to drop in this series as a major change takes place and the ridicucrazy factor rockets up. Maybe this won’t happen, especially as we’re more or less at the halfway point of the season, but until it does, it feels like the show is holding back.
There’s a grapevine that’s been planted. We’re all just waiting for it to explode and see God get upset.