「凍てつく敵意」 (Itetsuku Tekii)
All the world’s a stage, and the antagonists are totally bonkers.
All The World’s A Stage
Darius Ainsworth is bonkers, but we already knew that from the deranged, rapey images we got in last episode’s preview. Plus, ya know, he’s been keeping Miyu against her will, and imprisoning the princess at the top of a tower isn’t a done thing like it used to be, thankfully. More interesting to me is how narrative seems to be an integral part of his character.
He speaks of other people as cast or extras. They stand on a stage, take part in the plot. He’s seemingly obsessed with the visuals of performance and production. He’s manic about plans and schedules, according to Gil-kun. He sounds like a playwright gone mad, which isn’t a plot I’ve often seen outside of Maskerade. My question is, does this excuse him sparing Illya, Tanaka & co, or did that still feel like a cop-out to save the plot from a total party kill?
Too soon to tell, honestly. He haven’t spent enough time with him, so it feels convenient right now, but it seems like they’re going to lengths to justify it. I have a feeling this is one of those things that’s actually completely planned, but there was no time to foreshadow it so it feels strange. I know one thing that was gotten across loud and clear, though—Darius is crazy powerful. There probably wasn’t a way to let them survive without him deciding to spare them when he’s cracking out Noble Phantasms that Gil-kun isn’t aware of.
Erica: Strong, Kind—and Warped
How do you make a kind, innocent little girl apparently wholeheartedly devoted to the wrong side of the conflict without revealing her kindness and innocence to be a lie? That’s the underlying question of Erica as a character, and the fact that Prisma Illya threaded that needle is the element I found most fascinating this episode. The answer is to make her reality one step off of what most people would (perhaps erroneously) call common sense.
Erica’s normal is a father who goes off like a stark raving lunatic, which she considers “going a little overboard.” Which makes sense, right? She hasn’t known anything else. It’s like a child raised by vicious racists. Before they have a chance to grow up and decide for themselves, they’re liable to internalize some of that racism, and it can dog them for the rest of their lives.
That’s why Erica called Illya a liar, even though Illya said that you shouldn’t hurt someone without a reason, and Erica even recalled that caveat when she was talking to Miyu. It’s not that she didn’t hear Illya, she just can’t fathom a world where someone would attack her papa with reason. That’s why she doesn’t stop to question why someone [Illya] who Miyu so dearly trusts is trying to recuse her, and instead zooms straight to her own loneliness if Miyu leaves again (along with a heavy dose of adolescent selfishness). Miyu is right—Erica is strong and kind, but she’s also warped, for she lacks the empathy to see the cruelty of her father. I’m left wanting to hate her, but being unable to—but neither wanting to pity her either, for she’s certainly not on the right side of things. Which is possibly holding a little girl to too high of a standard, but there it is. Needle threaded successfully.
Looking Ahead – That Might Have Been A Mistake
As soon as Miyu said she preferred to have Illya with her in the same way that Erica prefers to have Miyu nearby, I knew that was a mistake. She’s not evil, exactly, but she is warped, and her method of problem-solving is liable to be running to papa, who is evil as well as warped. It’s looking like I was right.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Darius is bonkers, this is true, but Erica is being warped from a young age. Poor girl. Poor Miyu #prisma_illya s4e6
- Authoritarian Personalism. What a silly name.
- Shinji? Issei?
- Now we know why Shirou is still alive. They can’t damage Miyu physically, but they can sure do it psychologically, by torturing Shirou. I wonder . . . do you think Miyu was his imouto in the other timeline, before the fire? Or she could have been? I don’t recall Shirou ever referring to his biological family, though maybe he just referred to his parents. Hm. Food for thought.
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for a FREE prequel short story. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Freelance Heroics is available NOW!, I love sales jobs, Good realism is character realism, and Dying idols.