「投企のリナシメント」 (Toutaku no Rinashimento)
“Rinascimento of Projection: Project Amadeus”
That episode was kind of everything rewarding and everything that’s been frustrating about Steins;Gate 0 rolled into one tidy package. Mostly the former, thankfully, as the series continues to make a modestly strong recovery as it careens towards a finish that has “Buy the Blu-rays to see the ending!” written all over it. Still, given the symmetry of the moment it’s not hard to see why White Fox would choose to end this series on 23 episodes.
As things pick up where we left off, Okabe is confronting the reality that despite his absurd and probably impossible 3000 time jumps, he still hasn’t been able to break the hold this world line has over him. The time machine being destroyed certainly seems to be a convergence point, but Maho’s push towards systematically breaking down the situation does yield some results. If Leskinen (Stratfor), and the Americans (Durpa) have been stymied, that means it’s Russian intelligence that remains the problem (which explains the specific helicopter we saw at the end of last week’s episode).
My favorite part about all this, and indeed of this episode, is the way Okabe (and Miyano) slips in and out of his Hououin Kyouma character. He even admits internally “Don’t you think this is embarrassing?”. What we see here is Okabe, hopelessly tired and as full of self-doubt as ever, trying desperately to convince everybody including himself that he’s in control and everything is going to be fine. One can’t be Chuunibyou forever no matter how much the fans squeal with delight, and it’s nice to see it acknowledged that “Kyouma” hasn’t lost his grip on reality. He’s just trying to be strong, like always, and Hououin is a part of the act.
There are hints as to which way things are going with the revelations uncovered – the defection of Kurisu’s father, the resurgence of the D-mail concept. This can’t be good for Amaedeus’ future, as she’s the closest thing we have to a real Makise Kurisu and we know this line of reasoning doesn’t end well for her. It’s worth remember that while on a personal level the Hobson’s choice facing Okarin is between Kurise and Mayuri, in truth this is a choice between two dystopian futures, with the impossible task to find the third way.
Kurisu’s theories – and memories – being the key to everything, there’s only one possible solution here no matter how Okabe resists it. As usual “0” oversells the emotional crescendoes, and as such some of the genuine feeling of the moment is lost. And Daru’s revelation about the “D-RINE” option is a mite too convenient. But there’s still a lot of pathos in this – no matter how he tries to avoid it, it seems, Okabe is fated to have to discard Kurisu with his own choices.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire, as it were, taking us onto some familiar ground that will probably be no more acceptable for Okabe than what he’s left behind. Again, 23 episodes being the magic number aside, it’s hard to see how the series is going to wrap all this up next week – which leads me to believe they probably won’t…