Stain is defeated. Mostly.
I find myself with strangely little to say, because everything that transpired here was the culmination of everything the arc was building to, and by the end of last episode it was clear what shape that would take. Save for one element, but I’ll get to that. This episode brought to fulfillment Iida’s journey back from the brink of revenge to being the kind of hero his older brother would have him be—and he still got to be the one to (in part) take down Stain, with his second aerial kick probably the one that broke Stain’s ribs. None of which should minimize how impressive the action was up to the last second, small details and all. I’m especially happy that the UA kids got to take down Stain themselves, instead of having a pro come in to clean up. They earned this victory fair and square.
The element that was up in the air was whether our heroes would get to capture Stain, and once captured, whether he’d stay that way. Turns out no, but it didn’t last. Stain is a great villain because he has a moral code, twisted though it may be, and because he shouldn’t be as strong as he is. The UA trio says as much—his quirk is good, but against multiple opponents it’s not nearly as overwhelming. No, it’s Stain himself that’s so damn powerful, and seeing him murder the last Nomu and then freak out everyone so much that even Gran Torino and Endeavor felt it is—well. Someone like Stain should never be “liked”. He’s a serial killer who slays without remorse, and his warped philosophy is repugnant because people can change, dammit. Stain is a character who should be despised . . . but that doesn’t mean, deep in my heart, I don’t feel a begrudging respect for a man so tenacious he can frighten pro heroes and stay standing even when he’s unconscious. It’s like—you know those sci-fi stories where there’s a bunch of alien civilizations, and humans are the scrappy, ruthless bastards of the galaxy? There’s a dark delight in one of our own being that much of a bastard, and being so damn good at it. Because we humans, all of us, are fucked up like that.
Side note: Endeavor might be a royal bastard, but he’s certainly good at his job. Though seeing Gran Tornio corner in midair and take out one of the Nomus before Endeavor could even attack was perhaps my favorite Nomu-centric moment. The old man’s still got moves.
Next week is the aftermath. If it’s anything like the beforemath, bring it on, and bring on the revelations/foreshadowing of who is making these Nomus, because color me intrigued. I can feel the plot heating up.
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for exclusive content. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: I get it now!; Guardians of the Galaxy, Glee, & Firesign; That’s not supposed to go there . . .; and The Carcer Principle.
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