If the last episode made you think “Wow, finally a Constanze episode”, then this episode might just have you think “Wow, finally a Diana episode”. The wait was agonizing because of the little breadcrumbs the show left along the way of the vulnerabilities and insecurities Diana has that conflicts with the rose-tinted goggles that the professors and students of the academy have around her. I’m happy to say that this episode met my expectations in giving Diana more legroom to express herself. Instead of seeing her make a passing mention of being disappointed in Akko, we see Diana dealing with many of the conflicting feelings that surface throughout the show. Breezing through the academy’s lessons like they’re a whole lotta nothing, yet still being torn up about having to leave behind the friends and moments she’s had at the academy. Shredding Akko for not abiding by tradition and forcefully placing herself in her life, yet getting defensive when her family criticizes Akko and generally has no ill-will towards her as the witch chosen by the Shiny Rod. On top of all this, we see a passionate Diana, who is very sentimental towards her past and her family to the point that she still kept her old trading cards as a deeply important treasure to her and is repulsed by her aunt’s desire to make money off of selling their family heirlooms like they’re nothing. It made me sympathize with Diana being forced out of the academy to become the leader of the Cavendish family that wouldn’t burn everything to the ground if given 2 minutes alone with a set of matches.
Speaking of the Cavendish family, what a handful these upstanding members of society are. Diana’s aunt, Deryl, had an even quicker move towards looking like a complete bastard than Croix did, complete with snake charming and glowing eyes. She even has clones that act as her snarky Hanna/Barbara duo. In addition to trying to become the head of the family by selling everything the Cavendish family owns, she does her best to try and shut down all of Diana’s concerns. Whereas most of the characters who look down on magic and ask people to get with the times are often clinging to technology as their go-to method of sticking it to magic, Deryl has a complete disregard to anything her family worked towards. Instead of replacing anything with technology, it’s all about torching everything their ancestors worked towards for status. The tragic thing for Deryl is that not even the Hanbridge’s want to parlay with her scheme selling magical items they couldn’t possibly see any significance in. Part of me was wondering how the Hanbridge’s would play a role in whatever Croix is planning, but I can imagine Deryl becoming secretly one of the main antagonists out of nowhere.
I also appreciate the progression that many of the characters are shown. Although Akko is still very headstrong, she really cares about Diana, and is able to catch on that Diana isn’t allowing herself to be honest about how much of a dream it was for her to attend the academy. Even though Akko saw Diana more as a rival than Diana did, she really feels for Diana and wants to help her out. The characters that surround her also show a nice level of growth where Hanna and Barbara are willing to talk to Akko about Diana leaving without mocking her endlessly. What gave me a wide grin was Andrew and his father letting Akko be their guest at the Cavendish dinner. Andrew’s father is still grumpy and doesn’t care about what Deryl is giving them, but Andrew is more than happy to get Akko in the car and is gleeful to introduce Akko as his dinner guest. It’s a nice change-of-pace after seeing him acknowledge Akko with a smile when they went to Appleton. Little moments like that get my attention, and get me excited about the payoff the show is starting to have for everything they’ve introduced up until now.