You know what I hate… I hate having the feeling that I’m the smartest guy in the room (thankfully I don’t have to deal with that too often). Seriously though, it’s not that I want to feel dumb but having it all figured out is dull and there’s no point if there’s nothing to learn. One of my personal draws to time travel stories is something that usually turns people off. By throwing away the rules of cause and effect, predicting outcomes becomes infinitely more difficult. You could also argue that it also renders the story completely inconsequential. The way I see it, it’s a question of do you prefer your plot to be meaningful or interesting?
Yeah, I know this is all nonsense hyperbole. Did I not mention that I’m not the smartest person in this room???
This week Steins;Gate 0 managed to make me feel dumb in a great variety of ways. First it knocked me right off my high horse by showing Tokyo in a panic over the events of last week. I mentioned that the lack of response was odd and the show answered with: there’s a huge and appropriate response, Irina! Just try to pay attention for more than 3 seconds, would you.
Second, it rolled its eyes and reiterated simple facts trying not to sigh because I have the retention of a fruit fly. Am I the only one who thought they had moved the time machine to the rooftop of the Furture Gadgets Lab building? Something about the editing made me think they were going straight from the lab to that roof…. But we do know the time machine is crashed on top of the Radio Kaikan building. We’ve always known that. And if I bothered to think about it I would have realized that the lab mems would have no way of moving it. I guess I m just not that bright. Thank you Steins;Gate 0 for pointing that out.
At this point, I figured I would cut my losses and stop even trying to pretend I know anything at all. I just took on the action as it came. And so, determined not to pass judgement, I watched our little team manage to get themselves back to the lab and then was floored by them doing something completely magical. I’m not talking about bending the laws of space-time….
Now that the team had lost both their Strenght (Suzu) and their Softness (Mayu), what could our remaining team of second bests do? Okabe is fine but he’s no Hououin. Maho herself knows she will never be Mozart and Daru practically relishes in self-loathing. Clearly there are no heroes left here.
Have you ever noticed how difficult it can be to let go of the things that hurt us? How we jealously protect our pains. The sheer strength it takes to overcome self-imposed obstacles is sadly out of reach for a lot of us. And yet, in this time of need, the remaining members of the Future Gadgets lab (is Maho an official member yet?) managed to do just that. They took a second to feel sorry for themselves then went right about throwing their demons away.
Maho swallowed her pride and let go of the one-sided rivalry that had both propelled her forward and prevented her from truly appreciating the most important relationship in her life. Daru set aside those insecurities he brandishes about like an armor and did the work only a genius can do for the daughter he loves. Okabe finally let go of the fear and doubt that have guided his every action and formed the basis of his very reality. Ignoring the terrors that had held him prisoner but also kept him anchored. They went about these life changing feats of strength with a shrug of the shoulders and then got right to work.
Sometimes you don’t realize that you’ve been missing something. For all the great moments in Steins;Gate 0 (if you have read my reviews, you now that I have occasionally enjoyed the show), this may have been my favorite. A thinking montage! A small group of friends frantically working against the clock. Faris and Ruka lending support best they can. The lab alive with purpose. No wonder Mayuri wanted to recapture these moments.
Facing an uncertain future in front of an untested time leap machine, Okabe said the line that embodies Steins;Gate for me. The spirit that always drew me to this story. He promised to fail as many times as it takes! Steins;Gate isn’t a stories about heroes. It was never about supermen who are better than us, who triumph over impossible odds. It’s a story about the value of failure. It’s an illustration that any worthy success is built on a collection of defeats. Okabe is more often than not a complete failure, and it’s in those moments that I admire him the most.
As such, seeing my old friend frantically try to change the past, like good old times, and fail, as usual, was the thing I realized I had been missing. It’s started in earnest now. We are gathering up the losses until we have enough to cobble together a win! Who needs a hero when you have a scraper.
It seems Steins;Gate 0 is taking another week off next week. I assume this is because everyone associated with the show personally hates me. I think it’s unwarranted but what are you gonna do? Therefore, the question now becomes: can time leap machine propel you forward in time?
I’ve been cutting down on the pictures to speed up the site. Do you miss them?