「BIG ONE PERCENT」
I hope you didn’t get too attached to the Mithril mech squad. They had been raising death flags basically since they were introduced, and the only question, really, was the casualty rate. That Speck fellow in particular was first in line on death row. He needed a chance ot redeem his character, and you know how it goes in stories like this. There is redemption only in death, which means when Speck turned back to the light side you just know that he was going to be summarily dispatched. It’s not a pretty way to go, but it’s an appropriate way to go, in sacrifice. Tessa made the spiel about never once ordering her men to die, but the prime directive of soldiers being marched to war isn’t exactly to live long and prosper. They’re there to fight and, in this case, very likely die. I don’t remember all that much from the first season of FMP, but if I recall correctly back then even one Behemoth was a Pretty Big Deal. You don’t need me to tell you that, right? Look at these things, they’re ridiculous, physics defying bollocks. What did they say in The Second Raid about fighting Lambda drivers with only conventional weaponry? Expect casualties. And here we’re up against not one but three Behemoths. Naturally, victory aganst such odds demands sacrifice. At least our Uruz get to go out in a blaze of glory (well, a blaze, with debatable levels of glory). You can probably tell by the screencaps that the theme of this episode was EXPLOSIONS EVERYWHERE. That’s exciting in itself, I suppose, and since a lot of this episode was pure mecha (getting dismantled with pyrotechnics) the CG didn’t look as jarring as it could have.
Depite this episode’s robot-geddon, my mind rests heavier on the two left behind in Tokyo. Sure, there are no giant artillery-mecha marching on them, but I actually feel more pressure on their end than on the TDD crew. Perhaps it’s that the human threat feels more sinister than the monstrous behemoths, or perhaps it’s because of all the helpless civilians still unaware of their danger. But I think it’s mostly that the stakes are higher here. There is a stark contrast between the two sides of our current story. We have the folks on Merida Island scrambling in a desperate retreat. Their theme is sacrifice. Lives are given to bring down a superior foe, to give others a chance to escape, to buy just a bit more time. And in the end, for what? They have to flee with their tail between their legs regardless, abandoning the entire base, taking scarcely enough fuel to escape. So much sacrificed just for a slim chance of survival. Juxtapose this with Kaname and Sousuke, who are unwilling to sacrifice anything. They will not just flee, will not abandon what they love, will not let others die so that they might survive. I can appreciate that, and I admire their optimism (notice again the symbolism of hands), but at the same time they’re knowingly walking into an obvious trap. I wish them all the best, but the good guys don’t seem to be winning much today. Still, I always root for the underdogs regardless.