「存在のかぎりなき不安」 (Sonzai no kagiri naki fuan)
“The Endless Unease of Existence”
Well if this isn’t a week for surprises, it certainly is one for sighs of relief. I was slightly hesitant coming into VKC’s second episode that we would, once again, be subjected to rushing, excessive character introductions, and a slightly obsequious love for Christian (Catholic) theology, but that idea was a little short sighted. A quick pace is still noticeable, but VKC has now done what it always needed to from the start: give us a good mystery.
As with last week, what captured my interest regarding this show and firmly solidified it here was the approach to miracles. Rather than go full tilt supernatural, VKC firmly adheres to the Vatican’s real world approach to miracles, i.e. treats them scientifically. Miracles are initially seen as false, with the full range of modern science employed to logically explain their happenstance. Seems a little strange for the Holy See to use science to explain away potential acts of God, but when Catholic sainthood is determined by miracle making, it would be disastrous in this day and age to get it wrong. While this is about as procedurally interesting as watching paint dry (unless you are a CSI fan), this basis does provide a good foundation for VKC to explore its more intriguing aspects. By scientifically approaching the case via a null hypothesis (i.e. no supernatural link), the question becomes not what monster of the week will grace our presence, but how one could reliably “fake” a miracle. It’s a subtle difference, but one ensuring when the supernatural does finally appear—as is guaranteed—it will be as ominous and harrowing as every priest and investigator makes it out to be.
Getting to the fun stuff, however, will be the challenge and thankfully VKC looks set to meet it head on. Our first mystery has gone from tears of Maria and a virginal birth to some guy going wild in replicating the deaths of key Christian martyrs. Three quick and ingenious murders in one episode (including our sausage loving sister and friend) can easily pique the interest, especially when the likely involvement of a few part-time devil worshippers basically tries to one up the best of Crusader Kings II. Particularly interesting for me though is the role of Mario’s supposed stigmata and just how the hell the founder Michael factors into all of these events. Then there’s the matter of our new mystery man and the runic code, not to mention the killer’s choice of victims. Not enough hints to really form a guess right now, but it’s pretty obvious part of the answer lies within Michael’s office. The only question is whether the truth is manmade (as with the death by statue) or possesses a more divine origin.
While VKC is still treading well-worn ground, it has garnered better optimism regarding its future. We have a decent mystery to explore, a good approach for slowly revealing the answers, and more than likely a serious twist or two coming our way. So long as the actual meat of the story can match what was established here, I do not foresee very many problems plaguing VKC’s immediate future. Sure it could still all horribly run off the rails, but I’m confident so far that VKC has the skill necessary to keep this ship upright. Come what may, I’m definitely sticking around to see what the rest of this show brings.