“Playing a game by yourself is boring.”
There’s a moment in this episode of Terror in Resonance where it’s remarked, “That’s the best joke I’ve heard all year,” and you’re violently reminded of how the murder and carnage of this series is predominantly witnessed as a game. There are winners and losers. Clear rules in place with consequences for not following them. And there’s a manic, child-like glee to these bombings that seems much more akin to a child on a scavenger hunt rather than an act of terrorism. So, it feels only appropriate that when we actually get to see some of Five, she’s bubbling with the same tendencies as Nine and Twelve. This is all a game to her too, as she sings, “London Bridge is Falling Down” rather than being stoically silent.
While still not a lot of information is known on Five, and it’s a little disappointing that her introduction didn’t in turn fill in the blanks of Nine and Twelve’s past (although we find out that Twelve ha synesthesia, where he can see music, and is this the result of testing?), but in time, I’m sure. In time.
What’s perhaps the most interesting dynamic here is that Nine and Twelve see Five as competition since she actively plays games with us. It’s a nice change of pace to see Nine and Twelve having to jump through hoops and solve riddles to figure out where Five’s bomb is, even though they both have the same goal of terrorizing the city. Shibazaki has been a worthy opponent for these two, but Five connects on a much deeper level, and creates a nice spin on the formula. Watching the three of them essentially compete in terrorism, and try and foil the other while still having their bomb go off creates some really bonkers motivation.
This idea is even echoed when Shibazaki and the Police Department are concerned that the American involvement of the FBI in the Sphinx bombings is going to result in them getting shoved out and the FBI taking over as Agent Clarence sets up shop. Again there’s this theme of opposing styles and beliefs working towards the same goal.
This episode feels weirdly paced, and it’s kind of just over right when it feels like it’s getting started. It’s definitely a “moving pieces” episode, and not enough time is spent with anyone to really have their segments feel much weight. The exception is obviously Nine and Twelve, but even with them we see an incomplete story. There’s perhaps something more elegant being said by a “moving pieces” episode also involving chess, but it feels like it’s reaching to pull that off. One thing’s for sure though, if leaving an episode on a chess match isn’t a hell of a cliffhanger, then I don’t know what is.
Linda also makes the very interesting decision that she wants to join Nine and Twelve, ostensibly accepting the fact she will (in time) be comfortable with killing people and setting off explosive acts of terrorism. This is a pretty big revelation, even if she’s not on board with it right away, she thinks she will be in time. If the back-end of this season is slowly exploring Linda’s transition into terrorist, I’d be very much okay with that. So with Linda’s role shifting, just in time for Nine and Twelve to be doing the same thing, and the introduction of Five into the fray, there’s going to be a very different power struggle going on soon enough.