It has been a while since we’ve seen Yuri in Spy x Family. Not only that but we get to see Yuri away from Yor which is the only way we get to see anything coherent out of that character. It was nice to not only get a bit more out of that character but also another glimpse at the lager stakes of Spy x Family.
One of the more unusual aspects of Spy x Family is that it’s on one level a spy/political thriller that doesn’t present any side as inherently better or right or even more right. Ostania, which is where most of the action takes place seems like a perfectly nice place to live. They do occasionally have some slightly oppressive government practices as we see in this episode. The fact that people threaten to report each other to the police is a clue that there is some form of overreach going on but from what the show allows us to see, people live generally happy and safe lives.
As for Westalis, where Loid (or rather Twilight) is from. We don’t know that much but it seems in many respects quite similar to Ostania. The only representatives of that country we have seen are shown as noble but we know that they have their share of criminals and bad guys as well. Really the stakes in Spy x Family is not who will win the war but rather how can we avoid war altogether. And for that to work as a goal, we can’t have a simple good vs evil narrative.
So episodes like this one, that focus on Yuri’s questionable job for the government need to tread carefully. The State Security Service is an internal security branch that surveils the citizens of Ostania and is not beyond using questionable methods and violence to meet their ends. It’s heavily implied that although these methods are likely not completely legal nowadays, they are accepted in Ostabnia which makes the SSS generally feared by the public.
But the thing is, you can’t just paint Yuri as an all-out bad guy. And despite a lot of evidence to the contrary, he’s also not an idiot who doesn’t understand his part in the grand scheme of things. So how do we reconcile that Ostania is not a bad place and we don’t want Westalis to take over, Yuri is not a bad guy but he also works for the secret police. There are decades’ worth of literature that have taught us to view any secret police agency with suspicion at best and downright animosity the rest of the time.
Well, I think this episode did it pretty well. It showed us a world in which everyone is flawed. In which an ideologue has to adjust his ideals to match up with harsh realities. I don’t think Spy x Family will ever become a hard-boiled spy thriller where the political landscape is as important, if not more so, than the characters who inhabit it. But I do appreciate that we get glimpses of the greater world beyond. It’s easy to forget that Yor and Loid are playing a very dangerous game.
The rest of the episode was a short Bondman skit that I don’t remember in the manga. It made me smile. And three very short vignettes rendered like pencil drawings. The different art style was refreshing. All in all, this was a departure from the episodes we have seen lately. Now I have manga foresight so I know what the next big arc is and I’m looking forward to it but it does look like I will have to wait a little longer.
- Spy x Family episode 1 – Family Man
- Spy x Family episode 2 – Found Family
- Spy x Family episode 3 – Family Ooting
- Spy x Family episode 4 – The Elegant Family
- Spy x Family episode 5 – Meet the Loidman Family
- Spy x Family episode 6 – Like Mother, Like Daughter
- Spy x Family episode 7 – Extended Family
- Spy x Family episode 8 – Family-In-Law
- Spy x Family episode 9 – Briar Family Issues
- Spy x Family episode 10 – Dodgeball Lessons with Mom
- Spy x Family episode 11 – Family Pride
- Spy x Family episode 12 – Family Finale
- Spy x Family episode 13 – Family Pet
- Spy x Family episode 14 – Future Family
- Spy x Family episode 15 – Family Reunion
- Spy x Family episode 16 – Family Dinner
- Spy x Family episode 17 – Daddy Issues
- Spy x Family episode 18 – Scholarly Family
- Spy x Family episode 19 – The Glooman Family Business
- Spy x Family episode 20 – Family Doctor
- Spy x Family episode 21 – The Spy Who Wuvved Me
- Spy x Family episode 22 – The Phony Family
- Spy x Family episode 23 – Private Family Collection
- Spy x Family episode 24 – Family Friend
- Spy x Family episode 25 – Dad
- Spy x Family episode 26 – Happy Wife, Happy Life
- Spy x Family episode 27 – A Very Good Boy