Yuri!!! on Ice – 11
「超超がんばらんば！！グランプリファイナルSP」 (Cho cho Ganbaranba!! Guranpurifainaru SP)
“Gotta Supercharge it! Grand Prix Final Short Program”
Sorry for the lateness of this post, but I haven’t had the time to sit and write down my thoughts on this episode until just now. I’ve never had to do a delayed double post here on RC, but I was actually considering it this time around… but better late than never! Thankfully, this is a relatively simple episode that speaks for itself. We’re not getting a sense as to who has a real shot at the taking the gold. It’s impressive to say that I actually wouldn’t know who to place my bets on, because things could change depending on whether we are going to get a second season eventually, or whether Yuri!!! on Ice wants to end on a happy note or a hopeful one.
First up is Yuri, who starts off in 6th place but manages to bump himself up a few despite a not so stellar performance. After everything we’ve seen him go through, it’s painful watching him not do his best here, but I suspect the free skate will be where he shines most. But the question is whether he will win or not, and I just don’t know. Realistically, he probably shouldn’t. If there’s going to be more to this series (given its popular and interest expressed by the writer), there’s no rush for him to get the gold just yet. But it sure would feel great to have this all end neatly and rewardingly. As long as they acknowledge how far Yuri has come and he that can skate to the best of his ability, I think the ending shouldn’t really matter.
Yurio goes ahead and takes the lead with his best performance yet, and there’s no wonder – it was gorgeous. He’s turned into a loveable character and I wouldn’t mind seeing him win, even if he’s still very young and there’s always time for him in the future. Right now his win makes the most sense, though there’s also Chris to consider, who’s had Victor stopping him every step of the way, and now he’s no longer there to hold him back. While Otabek did an impressive routine, I feel he’s too new to take the win so suddenly, especially when we’re familiar with every other character so much more. His budding friendship with Yurio is awesome to see – I especially liked their contrast in ballet scene flashback – but I don’t think he will (or should) win.
And then there’s the two are essentially down for the count: Phichit and J.J. Phichit’s routine was polished and lovely to behold, but the difficulty level wasn’t high enough to get any further, and I’m sure he’s just happy to be where he is. He’s an adorable soul, and I want to root for him, but let’s be real. J.J., on the other hand, ended up crashing and tumbling when it mattered most. I’ve always quite enjoyed his over-the-top energy, and seeing him force that after an abysmal performance was a little sad. I found himself totally rooting for him to get some impressive spins in while he could, but he got overwhelmed in the moment and became last year’s Yuri as a result of it. He was the frontrunner, and now he’s the underdog. Could he pull it out the bag? That would be something to watch.
Honestly, I don’t know who I want to win, and who I think should win. Deep down Yuri taking gold would be lovely, but Yurio makes the most sense after this routine. It’s just too bad there’s only one episode left, especially now that Yuri is implying Victor should return to skating after this tournament, which is sure to cause some friction between them. But I’m positive this will result in a happy ending between these two – after everything we’ve seen from them together, it would be a real kick in the teeth to not deliver a loving finish to their partnership.