「列王の災難」 (Retsu-ou no Sainan)
“Calamity of Kings”
The crisis in Ecbatana, explained.
On Revealing the Turn, Then Going Back
It’s an odd decision, to reveal the crisis Irina and Étoile were embroiled in at the end of last episode, and then rewinding to explain it. Let me say first that I don’t believe stories need to be strictly linear, and sometimes they can be enhanced by doing otherwise; I wrote a post on how the Deadpool movie only worked because of exactly this. Not all stories depend on the surprise, and there was a certain interesting experience to knowing what was coming and then seeing how everyone got there.
That said, it probably wasn’t to the story’s benefit on the balance, if only because it necessitated a lot of expository narration at the beginning of the episode. It also allowed us too much time to realize what would happen. Hermes would save Irina, right? Right. Here’s the best way I can explain it. Recall The Dark Knight. (I’m on a superhero movie reference roll. Also, spoilers incoming, if you’ve been living under a rock.) Remember the scene where The Joker gives Batman a choice, and tells him where Harvey and Rachel are held? That scene only works—and only if you’re unspoiled the first time—because the frantic pace prevents the viewer from thinking about it until the conceit is revealed. Of course The Joker isn’t a reliable source, right? But you don’t think about that, and wham.
I think I mostly just wanted to talk about that. It’s a good scene. The reveal here isn’t nearly so clever, and we would have assumed that Hermes would save Irina even if it was told linearly and quickly. Which brings up the counterargument: Did we really lose that much by being spoiled their false accusation? And did not the revelation here that Irina actually did do something add a little surprise that wouldn’t have been there if we hadn’t been primed to think she was only falsely accused? Mayhaps. I don’t have the answers, I just bring the questions. ‘Cept all the times I claim to have the answers, but I’m mostly just making it up. That’s kind of my job.
If anything, I appreciate that Guiscard seemingly learned from the debacle with Andragoras, and resolved to rid himself of problems immediately. He would be in much better shape at the moment had he done that a long time ago . . . though he might have Arslan’s army on his doorstep, which would have sucked a bit. Regardless, I can appreciate a character learning from their mistakes, even if he’s too chickenshit to go full-Andragoras and get rid of the king shamelessly. Is arranging your older brother’s deth really different than just ordering someone take care of it? And then at least you’re assured of the deed being done. Half measures, Guiscard. They do you no good.
Is Hermes Actually a Big Ol Sofite?
No. He’s still a brutal, murderous bastard who would kill thousands of his own people to claim a blood-soaked throne. He does have his soft spots though, mostly notably (and singularly) for his blind princess. He probably thinks it’s hot that she almost killed a Lusitanian king. He’s freaky that way.
Étoile Back on the Arslan Train
I am enjoying Étoile’s long march from zealot to decent human being. (She always was, but that fanaticism was worrying.) Realizing that reuniting with Arslan is her best course, because if nothing else he’s a good man, further solidifies her as brighter than the average ancient cookie. Also, it’s mad shipping fuel. Just kiss already!
Seriously? Pirate gold? Not sure if I’m excited or incredulous that Arslan’s troup is going to go after pirate gold, of all things. Probably both. And will someone exile and/or kill Shagad already? Dude is just lurking back there, plotting your downfall. I hope this pirate gold thing is all a Narsus ploy to encourage Shagad to act. Getting outed over pirate gold would fit that greedy bastard nicely.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The crisis in Ecbatana is revealed. Étoile & Irina survive, with timely recused from Hermes & Merlane. Save the blonde waifus! #arslan s2e6
- After Irina so badly missed when trying to stab Guiscard, why did he think she would be able to kill the king properly? She’s no blind swordsman. Guiscard needs to get his shit together if he’s going to graduate to A League villain in this whole endeavor, seriously.
- I think Irina’s only real strike against Lusitania was when she fumbled the assassination, which inconvenienced and annoyed Guiscard. If she had succeeded, she would have lost. Yay for incompetence!
- Two sides, one scared and one blind, screaming at the same god as they fumble about and try to kill one another. For a Japanese story, Arslan Senki sure captures the essence of western religious war nicely.
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