Kuroshitsuji – 07
Back to work immediately after last week’s dramatic ending, Ciel responds to another request by the Queen to investigate a case in “Houndsworth,” a town with a few dog problems. Traveling by two coaches to reach the small town, Maylene, Finnie, and Bard chant happy road-trip songs in the backseat while passing through a barren landscape behind Ciel and Sebastian. Promising to take everyone to a “resort town,” Ciel thought it would be a good idea to bring the children along (because of the great risk of leaving them alone for a few days unattended). A large dead tree adorned with chain-restraints and scattered animal skulls provide a scenic backdrop for the town’s welcome sign as they draw nearer. Almost at their destination, this reminds the kind and generous Master Ciel to tell the servants that the “resort” is actually still under construction, and their spirits momentarily drop.
Before the trip, Ciel briefed Sebastian on the new case, and discussed the history of a fairly cruel but crowd pleasing way to kill a chained bear by using trained yet vicious dogs. Now prohibited, it seems there is something going on in the town of Houndsworth, where they are using dogs to kill other questionably dangerous dogs in front of a mob of cheering townspeople. This display of outdated cruelty upset the Queen, so she sent Ciel to investigate and take care of this blemish on European society. Sebastian wondered why she would send Ciel personally on such a trifling matter, so Ciel darkly confessed there’s something else going on that only he can take care of.
Noticing an old woman with a baby carriage that seems to be having trouble on the side of the road, Finnie jumps out of the car to help. Acutely aware of Finnie’s bad habit of unintentional brute strength, Maylene and Bard rightfully panic as Finnie ‘cautiously’ lifts the baby carriage… abruptly above his head, and subsequently slams it down in a panic, revealing a blanket wrapped around an animal skull. Rolling the carriage along as if nothing were out of the ordinary, the woman fades into the fog while singing an ill-omened tune.
Spirits pick back up soon as they approach the small community settled next to a sparkling blue lake with ample beach area, even in the dim gloom of a cloudy day. Passing by a young man affectionately training a smart and well-mannered dog in town, Maylene daydreams about him handling her as well. Thinking out loud, Sebastian remarks about what a spectacle a master rewarding his dog with a treat is, and how dogs anticipate their masters joyfully despite being locked up in chains and mistreated. Ciel tells him that if he wants to say something, go ahead and don’t hold back (in metaphors), so Sebastian confesses plainly that while he loves cats, he loathes dogs. Ciel replies with a bark and a smile.
A young maid greets the party at their destination of “Valleymoor Mansion,” where her master has been awaiting their arrival. Inside a room lined with dozens of stuffed animal head trophies, Ciel and Sebastian are doubly-shocked by the master of the house suddenly and brutally beating his maid with a whip for assuming she made a mistake with their guests, but perhaps more so for calling Ciel a Chihuahua. Ordering Sebastian to stop him, Ciel proudly introduces himself (in all his short statured-glory) and takes control of the situation.
Finnie daydreams about the cute maid at Henry Valleymoor’s estate while the servants bring in the luggage, so Bard has to snap him out of it. Meanwhile as Ciel and Henry discuss the town’s troubles inside, Sebastian takes over pouring tea for Angela because thanks to her newly bruised hands she is unable to hold the teacups steady while attending to their masters. Henry tells Ciel the reason for this increase of slaughter is a frightening curse on the town, and the queen can’t do anything to stop it. Instigating something along the lines of repressed rage in his unwilling host, Ciel arrogantly suggests this case could turn out to be interesting after all, and asks the disgruntled master to show him evidence of the curse – deliberately, if he can.
Later that evening while the servants cheerfully chat away in the kitchen with Angela, she remarks on how polite and friendly everyone is before getting called away suddenly to attend to the master in his bedroom. A few minutes later, Finnie gets distracted from another Angela-daydream by a suspicious noise beyond some nearby rocks, but goes back to work when Bard calls for him. An ominous figure was lurking nearby, watching the window of Henry’s bedroom where he can be found groveling at Angela’s feet in a very powerful yet private role reversal. Or, at least it should have been. Maylene caught a bloody nose accidentally peeking in on this intimate moment. He earnestly yet desperately whispers he only hurt her to protect her – his queen, his angel.
Preparing for bed, Angela interrupts Ciel and Sebastian to plead with them to leave town immediately, when all of a sudden the shadow of a giant hound appears on the bedroom’s window curtain. Rushing to investigate, Sebastian spots a fleeting ghost dog, leaving luminescent green footprints behind as it charges through the city. Running his finger along the bright green remnants of the dog’s trail to investigate, Ciel laughs privately to himself. Alarmed by the commotion, the servants run outside in their pajamas, and Angela discloses the truth of the town’s vengeful culprit.
The victim of tonight’s rampage was the same young man seen by the Phantomhive household on the way into town that morning, who was contentedly training his dog. Ciel immediately grasps the situation as he picks up the young man’s shredded arm, but Henry orders him not to touch the body. The town will execute their own punishment through their own laws for such a deed, and they march off chanting solemly in a typical angry-mob fashion, yet remarkably in-tune.
The next day while grumbling to themselves that this is the worst vacation ever, Sebastian reminds the servants that they came to a resort to have fun, and sends them excitedly off to the lake with a personally prepared bento box. Embarrassed by her revealing swimsuit (it’s a suit, alright), Maylene joins the boys in the water for some good fun. Ciel chooses Poe over swimming, and discusses his plan of action with Sebastian. Since he hates dogs so much, Sebastian is more than happy to get this job over with quickly so they can return home, and excuses himself to take care of business.
Shortly afterward, the townsfolk interrupt the peaceful picnic lunch by stereotypically running around and shouting with pitchforks in hand. (Have you seen any hay nearby?) The culprit from last night’s murder has been discovered and apprehended, and punishment will commence shortly. A man with a stick tries unsuccessfully to pull out a piece of cloth from the mouth of murdered young man’s dog (which is now chained up against a stone wall), so he beats it heavily to no avail. Releasing attack dogs to kill the offender, they assault the chained dog brutally.
Watching from behind the crowd, Finnie recalls painful memories of being held down while a man in a white coat approached him with a needle in hand. Not being able to contain himself, Finnie rushes into the crowd, pulls a large wooden shaft out of the ground, and quickly beats the four assaulting dogs off of the victim. Sensing the crowd’s anger at this defiance, Ciel and the other servants race in to protect him, only to find themselves strung up to the wall minutes later. As Henry unleashes the attack dogs once more to dispose of everyone at once, Sebastian arrives with impeccable timing as usual to save them.
Once again forced to deal with the animals he hates so much, Sebastian aims a demonic glare in their direction, transforming the malicious attack dogs into gentle bunny rabbits. Confused by their immediate obedience to Sebastian’s presence, the mob uncharacteristically listens patiently to Ciel and Sebastian’s explanation for what has really been going on. Exposing Henry’s guilt on three different counts of easy-to-digest evidence, the mob turns on Henry and carries him away for punishment.
Finnie praises the beaten dog for protecting his master until the end, tearfully embracing its limp body as rain begins to fall. Sebastian remarks again, ‘That’s why I hate dogs.” Back in the mansion for one final evening, Ciel and Sebastian prepare to leave, and in the hallway, Finnie worries when sees Angela staring out the window with an inexplicable smile on her face. On the grounds below, an exhibitionist young man with light hair stares up at her. Jailed in the bottom of his own house, Henry screams for his life, saying that “it” is coming for him. A short time later, Meylene’s screams alert the household to the bloody mess that remains in Henry’s cell where his body should be, and the large gaping hole in the wall. In the thunderstorm nearby, Henry’s body can be found gruesomely murdered, released from the chains on the wall behind him.
No matter how many times I see it, I laugh when Ciel barks at Sebastian.
I am calling it now: Show Spoiler ▼
I could be totally off base, but I just want to throw that out there for the self-satisfaction that I plan on getting next Thursday night.~~
That brief memory into Finnie’s past was very illuminating, and I felt a lot of compassion for him this episode. So I’ll call it again: Show Spoiler ▼
Concerning Sebastian’s hatred for dogs, I think it’s fairly self evident. What he actually loathes is the master-dog relationship, with faithful and loyal dogs protecting their master to the death. The ‘bad’ dogs didn’t seem to have a problem with Sebastian at all once he pulled out his pretty purple eyes. So either Sebastian has underlying sympathies for these animals and the love they give to their masters freely, or he has underlying scorn and disdain towards them for the same reason. Either way, it’s a direct comparison to his own situation, which is why I thought this episode (as true filler) was relatively forgivable, because it proved to be engaging and interesting in many different places, despite a few cliché and shallow storytelling moments. My first viewing was a bit difficult because of the huge divergence from the previous plot and feel, but that was to be expected. After a closer review, this was fairly enjoyable. Still cake, but just less indulgent cake. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Ciel force Sebastian to come up with new dessert recipes every time he makes something? That’s why we always get close-up shots of the delicacies.)
I didn’t discuss the specifics of Sebastian’s evidence in detail during the summary, so I’ll bring it up here. 1) Sebastian played the good detective, and revealed that there was a skull placed inside the dog Henry used to make the fake attack. The murdered dog trainer had discovered this evidence and began investigating, encroaching on Henry’s plans. 2) Sebastian also produced the spotlight projector that Henry used to make the scary dog shadow, along with a bottle of phosphorus, used to make the dog luminescent as it ran through the town. 3) The reason the chained dog wouldn’t let go of the piece of cloth was because it was trying to prove his master’s innocence until the end. The cloth belonged to the pants of Henry, who the dog attacked in his master’s defense at the time of his murder. Henry has the bite marks to prove it, and the ugly pattern matches the pants he wore in the beginning of the episode. I’m still not 100% sure of his true motivations, but if that’s not clarified in next week’s episode, I have a few ideas.
While at first I thought this might have been influenced by something along the lines of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” the only thing it really shares in common is a hell-dog rumor and an atmosphere full of people who are not what they seem. Now I’m leaning towards more of a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys influence (sans Demon Butler), but I can’t be bothered to recall the exact details of (most of.. ) what I was reading when I was in elementary school.
Even though I’ve built a healthy distrust for maids and butlers, I still think Sebastian got it right when he said that this was a trivial matter, which was largely wrapped up this week. The supernatural influence will commence next week, to take care of the remaining business that only Ciel can handle.