「HIGHS & LOWS」
Well, there you have it folks. The merry go round that is the cycle of life has come full circle for everyone involved, and I must say that I quite liked how this episode turned out. It might not have been the most surprising—I think almost everyone suspected the link between Shibazaki, the man he was investigating (Dr. Mamiya), and the events here—but it was raw, it was emotional, and it was filled with its own share of dramatic moments.
Contrary to our expectations, everyone does end up coming out alive—though I thought things were going the route where only Lisa would die, which really would’ve been a twist—and the ultimate in betrayals ends up almost taking out Nine and their trump card in the process. With all of this happening amid a rainy and appropriate backdrop, it’s only fitting that Kanno’s compositions here really ended up carrying the major scenes this week, and gosh darn, I can’t overstate how much I’ve missed her as a composer.
All things considered, I’m honestly at a loss when it comes to describing this episode in words, because it’s the kind of episode you really have to see and experience for yourself. Just describing it in words simply doesn’t do justice to the distinct atmosphere this series has when it gets things just right—the motorcycle scene from a few episodes ago was another example—and for me, this episode hit that point in regards to the whole ferris wheel scene between Twelve and Lisa. At this point, it’s an undeniable fact that the latter is and always has been an integral part of this series—and for this I haven’t really disliked how her character has developed so far as much as many others—and this was (I feel) the moment where she really came into her own as an individual character. Granted, she could’ve been developed better and probably should’ve reached this stage at an earlier point in the series, but I’m a big believer in the ultimate result being able to compensate for some initial hiccups, and I’d say this went at least some ways toward that.
The question that remains however—as always—is what’ll happen from here. If we’re to take the revelations we saw here at face value, it’s all but confirmed that Five, Nine, and Twelve don’t have much time to live, with Five potentially already on her way out. In the case of Nine, he’s running around with an atomic bomb that shouldn’t even exist while being hunted by the entire police force in the area, and it all comes together to highlight the brevity of time not only the characters have, but people have in general.
The fact that Aoki’s also on his way out just emphasizes how our lifespans are but a drop in the bucket when compared to time in general, and it’s a pretty powerful stuff if you think of it from that perspective. One could argue the series isn’t about terrorists and ideologies as it is just leaving your mark in the short time you’re alive (and to not regret anything), and it looks like our main cast is well on their way into doing so, even if Nine ultimately ends up failing in his mission. After all, it’s quite clear the new generation see Sphinx as kind of a “cool” figure to follow and imitate, and even if the tides of time will change that later, it doesn’t change the fact that they’ve made a mark—even if it may not exactly be the one they intended. Here’s looking forward to a climactic last two episodes.