Hello friends, I’m writing you from the past. It’s Thursday morning and despite my treats on twitter, I did not take a mental day off work. I always write my Steins;Gate 0 reviews this way. I watch the show on Wednesday evening, let it take hold of my mind overnight, turn that over until I find a particular angle to discuss the episode from then write about it on my way to work.
Today is no different. The more things change the more they stay the same. Except…no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to focus on a single theme. My thoughts on the episode are just a slightly disordered amalgamation of independent statements.
I’ve decided I’m going to stick to my lane and do what I do best. Throw random information at you. I’ve even inserted my notes in caps because reasons. I’m not even sure where to start. How about, on the roof…
This was Steins;Gate 0’s BOTTLE EPISODE. It took place on a single set piece (well one and a half, the roof and the staircase) and the characters couldn’t leave. Traditionally bottle episodes serve as exposition dumps and team building moments, so of course Steins; Gate 0 figured it was the perfect time to get ALL THE ACTION in.
Concretely, the episode was a fairly simple wrap up of last week’s events. Kagari having just seen her mama injured, snaps and goes on a rampage. Word to the wise, DO NOT MESS WITH KAGARI. The bulk of the run time is dedicated to the doomed confrontation between the two sides while Okabe is the only one surprised to discover the Professor L is evil a few feet away. Oh and there was a cliffhanger. Surprise!!!
However we did learn a lot.
For instance, one of the bad guys called Kagari: Reyes, confirming that it was Judy on that biker suit earlier. However why wasn’t Reyes there now. Seems pretty obvious the professor has gone rogue however he had a task force with him. Reyes must have heard about this. Where is she at this crucial moment and SINCE WHEN DOES SHE HAVE THE SAME PROPORTIONS AS KAGARI?
We also learn that in this, very darkest of all timelines, not only does Kurisu die (and potentially Mayuri as well) but WW/ isn’t prevented and every major cast member that can, must watch their own children die… Guys, I just bummed myself out.
We also learned that these particular bad guys have STORM TROOPER AIMING SKILLS. Not only was Mayuri simply grazed, but they somehow failed to kill Suzuha at point blank range and it took at least 3 magazines of bullets to finish off Kagari…Spoilers but you know… It’s a show without sequitur integrity and little respect for cause and effect so…
As much as the entire rooftop gun totting action felt over the top and just exaggerated, I did still enjoy it. Suzu and Kagari make for appealing bad*ss action girls. This said, a wounded and broken Kagari trying to crawl to her mother was a strikingly painful scene. It reminded me of a certain other witless female antagonist. STEINS:GATE SURE LOVES TO DISPLAY PATHETIC MONSTERS. It works for me. Those broken, weak, sad little souls that have been stripped of enough of themselves to become nothing more than tools. The contrast of terrifying and pitiful is something that always gets to me. I cannot bring myself to hate these types of characters, but they may be the ones that scare me the most.
Last week I wrote a LOVE LETTER to Mayuri. Fitting wouldn’t you say. I asked the show to not take away the little agency Mayuri finally found the strength to grab onto. The leave her vulnerable and soft, because that is who she is, but not reduce her back to a prop. To give her, her own purpose rather than simply make her a goal for others. I’m an optimist, so I choose to believe the show that the show did exactly that.
After all, when Kagari crumbled to pieces, Mayuri managed to stay calm in the wake of the horror happening around her. When Suzu lost it, Mayuri kept it together. Even after everything that happened. Mayuri stood by her resolve and even managed to face Okabe. Head high, on even footing. Sure that last minute mail seems to have her resigning herself to a damsel in distress role, but even that feels different when you let the character choose for themselves. So we also learned that MAYURI WILL DEFINITELY NOT BE A HOSTAGE ANYMORE.
One thing that worked in the favor of the original STEINS;GATE is that we were following uber unreliable narrator Okabe, who peaced out and time traveled away from any unpleasant situation. As such, we never had to deal with the FALLOUT. Right now, everyone left standing is surrounded by dead bodies that most obviously did not die of natural causes, on top of a building that just got bombed in the middle of Tokyo. There’s no way this will not have consequences. The police are going to have at least some questions here. Whatever shadow paramilitary group those army men belonged too is going to have to reassess that firearm training. Reyes might get fired. I bet L has tenure, so he’ll be fine.
Speaking of L, I’m sure there are a lot of people disappointed with the “because I can” motivation. It’s a long-standing tradition that science does things just to see what happens. I’m quite happy with it to be honest. Steins;Gate with and without 0, seems to be very ambivalent in its views on science. Half the time it preaches a rather technophobic outlook, cruelly punishing its protagonists for “going too far”, then the other half, it sets up science as the only possible salvation. This duality is also reflected in the characters. Mad scientist Hyonin Kyoma was aspired to become what Mad scientist Leskinen is.
I told you I was disorganized this week. And I’m not sure what to expect anymore. However, seems time leaping has become unavoidable!
Alright, I will leave you with this one last thought. If we learned anything of value this week, it’s that no matter what, you should NEVER EVER TRUST A PROFESSOR.