- Genre : Josei, Horror, Mystery, Psychological Thriller
- Studio: J.C.Staff
Once again I get the sinking feeling that I’m doing Angels of Death a great disservice by attempting an episode by episode review. By now, it seems pretty clear that this is the type of story that has to be considered as a whole to be truly appreciated. Mind you that very statement is somewhat of a compliment. It means that I do see a promise of everything coming together into something greater than the sum of it’s parts. We still have to see if that promise will ever be fulfilled mind you.
This episode was split right down the middle in just about every way. It was split into two arc, it was split between the two main characters, between the present and the past. It made me split my theory into competing parallel ones and left me unsure about how I felt about the whole thing. Half and half at the moment…
In the first arc, Rachel continues her descent with the Padre to find medicine for Zack and retrieve his knife. It’s unclear whether Rachel is really unravelling under the pressure or whether we are just getting the chance to appreciate her true character for the first time. I’ve speculated more than once that Rachel is the most terrifying character in the series, and this episode seems to agree with me.
Rachel’s monotone indifference and casual cruelty could be taken two ways. Well they could probably be interpreted in a lot more than two ways but I’m seeing two possibilities. Either I stick with my notion of a fragile deeply broken girl whose fractured and receded within herself as a defense mechanism. We only get to see the plain reactionary Rachel, giving only the strict minimum of what’s needed to go forward. Or Rachel is in fact a capital B…um rhymes with witch. Her lack of reaction is simply due to complete absence of empathy and engagement. She’s just terribly bored with most things. Have you noticed how she often rudely interrupts people. This time she did it to the Padre just as he was getting passionate about his speech. That’s not being passive, it’s being uninterested and apathetic.
The episode did insist on crassly pointing out Rachel’s cruelty, so there may be some traction behind the second interpretation. Whatever the case, I suspect Ray’s unnervingly stoic delivery is going to have annoyed some viewers.
The narrative also really wanted us to know that the bodies of the previously murdered floor dwellers (Cathy, Eddie and Danny) where now missing. Since we have little concept of the laws that govern this universe I’m not sure what to make of this info. I fully expected them to be not quite mortal. (I’m still going on the theory that they might be not quite real). Rachel noted it with her usual nonchalance so that was no help in adjusting my own reaction.
The second half of the episode was yet more making of a young Zack murderer backstory. It was a decent watch. Little Zack is a pretty efficient character for keeping the audience in suspense. Just unpredictable enough that you’re always worried for the characters onscreen but not quite so out of control that you know how it’s going to turn out. I have to admit, seeing his path after the initial murder of the caretakers kept my attention pretty glued to the screen.
However, it also made me wonder why we are getting so much Zack backstory. We got a few details but nothing particularly relevant to the plot at hand. Moreover, we could have inferred some variable of his backstory from the information on hand. Why are we fleshing out this character so much. It seems unnecessary. At this point he’s the only one with any kind of past at all and we’re getting in in minute detail.
Of course this could simply be plain old filler. They needed 12 episodes of content and threw in more Zack flashbacks to meet the quota. Seeing as this is the simplest explanation it’s probably correct. It could also be that Zack tested well in market research. This is supposedly targeted to young women and Zack is the closest thing we have to a Bishonen. Also young women like children – Bam two in one. Some production studio guy’s idea of Josei fanservice… My autocorrect is very angry at me right now.
It did however make a crazy theory pop into my head. It’s really unlikely but I also like it a lot. Up to this point I’ve been assuming this was Rachel’s story. She’s the variable after all. The narrative starts with her and for the most part is told from her perspective. She’s the one that just appeared out of nowhere. The only one without a floor, the only one that wasn’t already familiar with the place and the people in it. She’s the one that seems to be defying the rules. But what if she’s the figment? Her arrival can still be the catalyst for the story, but she may not be the actual subject.
What if this is Isaac’s story after all. And only Isaac’s story. He’s the broken and fracture soul stuck in purgatory. He was in the basement (starting at the very bottom). Maybe he’s been trapped there for years. The characters on the other floors stopping him from escaping. They know him because they’re his demons. And in this scenario, Rachel is a lifeline he’s conjured up for himself. A representation of hope or at least of a goal.
In many ways, Zack is also unusual. He chased Rachel to Danny’s floor of his own volition. So far, the Padre has been able to travel between floors but only accompanied by Rachel and he stays close to the elevator. Only Rachel and Zack move freely between floors on their own. Also, and most telling in my opinion, Zack is the only one who’s expressed any desire to leave this place. In fact, he’s desperate to do so. Even Rachel isn’t particularly concerned with finding a way out.
Finally, Rachel is exactly what Zack would dream up. Small, weak and dour. She’s the opposite of all that he loathes. If he was going to imagine an angel, surely Rachel would be it.
Like I said, this theory is very unlikely. I would be floored if any of it panned out. But I did really enjoy exploring the possibility as I was watching the episode. And really that’s the best part of Angels of Death. Coming up some type of explanation for what you’re seeing by yourself. Essentially, the myriad possibilities of what could be are currently way more interesting than what is. I am looking forward to finding out though.
This is out of the ordinary, I didn’t like the screen caps much this week. It looked good as always but the scenes are similar looking.