「二人/すず子と千夏」 (Futari / Suzuko to Chinatsu)
“The Two / Suzuko and Chinatsu”
The fated final battle between Suzuko and Chinatsu is here at last, and oh boy was it certainly a doozy. While not a fight for “total” victory (i.e. winning five coins) given that both Suzuko and Chinatsu had three coins a piece heading in, the showdown helped determine which had the moral high ground and the better, principled position. This moment was particularly needed given how close Chinatsu was breaking beforehand and the difficulty of trying to drag Chinatsu’s mental dithering out any longer. Although we knew Shouhei’s disappearance would likely shock her last week, it’s nice seeing Lostorage confirm it by having Bookmaker abuse the event to propel Chinatsu into confronting Suzuko and ending their little spat. With Chinatsu reconfirming her selfish desire to have and keep Suzuko all to herself, this episode helped to nicely tie up the flailing ends surrounding Chinatsu’s self-imposed mental dissonance.
What I especially liked this week, however, is how strong Suzuko has become. Chinatsu was always agonizing in spots due to her dualistic personality and sadistic behaviour, but Suzuko too often remained bland and flat, largely relegated to a depressed filler role a lot of the time. Here though we saw the “true” Suzuko, courageous to a fault and wholly committed to her goal. Suzuko never once broke in the face of Chinatsu, and even in one spot called out Chinatsu’s attempted manipulation by throwing her “just disappear” comments back into her face (talk about learning). The wrangling over memory and being was especially fascinating given that Suzuko is actually in the right, that memories do make the person and serve (in some aspect) to make us all unique. Chinatsu’s anguish therefore arose primarily over her struggle against this concept and a refusal to see that extirpating Suzuko would concurrently obviate who she is entirely. With Shouhei gone and the similarities Suzuko drew to our lost white knight, it didn’t take much for Suzuko to quickly blow holes in Chinatsu’s increasingly flawed argument and finally bring her back to her senses.
Although Suzuko may have won this battle of principles, it sure doesn’t mean the struggle is over yet, oh no. Bookmaker (to no one’s surprise) is not amused in the slightest at Suzuko’s and Chinatsu’s reconciliation. The interesting part to me, however, is that Bookmaker’s grand plan seems to revolve around defeating one of the girls after they acquired four coins, rather than once whittled down to one. It’s strange because you’d imagine greater despair could be extracted in the latter scenario, but I guess Bookmaker just wants to hold onto his two prized chew toys as is. Either way we are likely looking at a finale showdown between Suzuko and Bookmaker (unless Chinatsu takes the fall), with Suzuko still determined to protect Chinatsu, and Bookmaker always ready for some sadistic mental prodding. It’s entirely unclear how Lostorage will decide to wrap things up, or if a second season is potentially in the cards, but I do know it’s going to be good. Who knows, might even have Piriluk show up for one final appearance.
So disappointed Hanna’s role seems to be done, I really want(ed) something more sinister than depressing memory remembrance. Still hoping Meru is evil at the core though, that would make up for it, slightly.
Curious what Shouhei’s last request is to Suzuko. If his white knighting is any indication though, it probably is something simple like “protect Chinatsu from Bookmaker.”