We are now at  Dr. Stone Season 2 episode 9: To Destroy and to Save and it seems we have our resolution to this arc. Do you like what I did there? I put the name of the series, the episode number and even the official episode name right in my first sentence! The little SEO checker in WordPress has been bugging me to do that for ages but it just always looks kind of stiff to me. And a bit like an advertisement. But what do you guys think? If you like it, I can keep it up.

Oh good, we started off with a tangent. Now that looks more like one of my posts. Thankfully we got Crow here to keep me on track. He’s going to be in bold and we are going to spoil the heck out of this episode. It was a super fun episode so if you haven’t seen it, you should go do that right now. We’ll make small talk as we wait. 
How’s it going, Crow? Job, family, all good? Spring is around the corner, any plans?

Well, my daughter just had her first child, which is my first grandchild. I’m a grandpa! Which is really weird… But mom, baby, and dad are doing well, and that’s wonderful!

Other than that, it’s nice to have the windows open to let in some fresh air. Without snow coming in, too, which is just not comfortable. I hope things are going well for you, too!

As we were saying, Dr. Stone Season 2 episode 9: To Destroy and to Save (I did it again, also I like my title better!) finally resolves the confrontation between the kingdom of might and the village of science. Or to boil it down a bit, the ideological rift between Tsukasa and Senku. But not before Senku forced a stalemate by coking up some nitroglycerin real quick.

I actually really enjoyed this sequence. The animation was solid and they gave just about every single character a chance to do something. I enjoyed the darkly comedic twist of Gen and Senku just standing around waiting for a chemical reaction while their friends fought for their lives and I really liked the call back to the beginning of the series, complete with a title drop. Cheesy maybe but I was there for it.

How about you Crow? Did you enjoy the first act? Is there anything you would have changed?

No. It was emotionally satisfying in a big way. Seeing Kohaku’s faith in Senkuu justified was great. Seeing Chrome bring back the sulfuric acid from the expended fake tank shell was just perfect. 

But my favorite moment had to be Taiju, with his carbon shield, standing between Tsukasa and the cave. What a great moment! It was even greater because of how events tweaked that standoff, with Tsukasa looking up in amazement at most extraordinary of things: a paper airplane!

Much like Gen, I did not believe it would be over quite so quickly or easily. But for me, Tsukasa was never the worry. Ok, that’s not true. Tsukasa was a big worry, but not at that point. He’s a fairly honourable guy after all. To me, Hyoga is the guy everyone should be keeping their eye on.  He seems much less concerned with fairness or honour and way too into that explosion. I’m sort of curious about his backstory, to be honest. 

What about you Crow?

I think your insight is spot on, as usual. You’ll notice that in the closing scenes, as they scoured the countryside for the statue of Tsukasa’s sister Mirai, that Hyoga was nowhere to be seen? Also, remember how he reacted to seeing the damage inflicted on that poor tree by the nitroglycerin-tipped paper plane? That’s not someone I want to babysit my pets!

Dr. Stone generally does quite well with character development, in my opinion. So it’s not surprising that they had something all prepared to show us where Tsukasa came from.

Now, I’m not a fan of tragic backstories or Freudian excuses, but I did enjoy how much development we got out of Tsukasa’s flashback. His unbending attitude, for example, comes from the fact that he’s not in fact a prodigy but gained everything through strict discipline. It makes sense. I 100% believe that the little kid from the flashback grew up into the young man we know from the series. And I do appreciate that a lot.

Do you agree Crow?

Yep! Their imagery felt very effective. Little Tsukasa went to pick up pretty shells for his sister in the hospital, but a bully beat him up and broke the shell. Or was that his father? When he put the broken shell beside his sister’s pillow and it fell into pieces, you could, in that one shot, see all of his motivation. 

No long, drawn-out speeches. No saccharin music. Just honest sentiment. That technique has worked well for this show. 

And of course, it gave us the little deus ex needed to get out of this stalemate by throwing a huge bargaining chip into Senku’s lap. Now, this episode has been full of wonderful luck for Senku. Chrome finding the unbroken bottle of nitric acid in time. Ukyo coming back to his senses at the best possible moment. And somehow, Senku actually knowing not only that Tsukasa has a sister, but that she is ill and they might be able to help her. Well, that couldn’t have worked out better, now could it?  

But you know, it’s o.k. Dr. Stone has built up enough goodwill with me that I’m willing to accept these types of contrivances for the sake of a good story. Just like the odds of Tsukasa finding his sister’s statue, the first one he unearths at the last second of the episode is oh so unbelievably fortunate. But it also makes dramatic sense and manages to end the episode on a narrative and emotional high. 

What about you Crow? Was it a bit much for your liking?

I think the key is what you said by “enough good will.” This show is running a huge credit of goodwill, so I was perfectly cool with it. The purely rational engine part of my brain was like, “Dude, really?” And the rest of my brain was like, “Shhh! Cool stuff happening!”

It’s important, though: Writers make a pact with the viewer. It’s a strange relationship where one partner talks in the language of art, but it’s still a relationship. It’s a testament to how much we trust this writer that these coincidences were easy to accept.

I sort of skipped over a few things. Some of Tsukasa’s past as well as his little speech in the present. I did it on purpose. I wanted to talk about them together. Tsukasa had this sort of redemption speech about how limited resources make sacrifices necessary and that he acted as he did to essentially bear the burden of those decisions for the greater good. But that’s bullocks, right? No one called him on it and I get that, I wouldn’t have either. But it’s full of holes.

You can leave the adults as statues, no need to destroy them. There is no actual reason to think they wouldn’t be able to make enough nital for everyone, either. I do think Tsukasa might believe his own words up to a certain point, but to me, it sounds like a justification made up after the fact. Like something he convinced himself of to justify his actions rather than the other way around.

After all, the flashback did explain his action in detail. He wants to get rid of adults in this new world because his father and most likely by far the most prominent adult influence he has ever known, was horrible and from Tsukasa’s point of view, objectively made the world worse. So why risk it now? Just get rid of the potentially corrupt adults and start fresh. Make the world he wanted to live in when he was a child because he doesn’t quite understand why anyone would want anything else.

(If you’ve seen WandaVision, there’s a big parallel there).

I thought that scene bordered on narrative perfection. You’re right — no one believed it. I’m not convinced Tsukasa believed it, but he might have. It was a fantastic example of how humans can rationalize anything. And it was perfectly in character!

It’s been a real treat to see these characters in action all season, and in this episode in particular. 

So that’s my takeaway, and I really like it. I look forward to meeting Mirai (is that a real name outside of anime? Cause I would like to be named future) and seeing what happens next.

What were your takeaways Crow? Any insight I missed??? Looking forward to the coming episodes?

I think you all the best parts. This episode had so many good parts that we could practically publish the script and write our notes moment by moment! But that would be way too long!

Very much looking forward to the next episodes — with a hint of sadness, of course, because the season is winding down. It’s listed with 11 episodes, I think!

And I really, really hope Mirai comes through. 

Previous Dr. Stone 2 Posts

8 thoughts

  1. Lovely, poignant and oh, so satisfyingly Senku, saving everyone by … well … saving *’everyone’*, friends and enemies alike.

    Might go back and leave longer posts for both this and the previous episode, as they’ve been pretty much a flawless emotional denouement, really sticking the landing in a way few series do.

    Still two episodes to go …

  2. Also, Mirai (… briefly, in a ‘Blink-And-You’ll-Miss-It cameo early on) appears in Tsukasa’s fantasy of how differently his life might have gone had he met Senku and Taiju during his childhood.

    “Epic Tease.”

  3. Btw, Senku knew about his sister because Tsukasa had brought her up at season 1. He brought that time when he tried to take some seashells for his sick sister and was beaten back by an adult who owned the beach.

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