The general format of these first three episodes seems to be a focus on each of our mains. The first served the purpose of introducing Bem, the second was Bela, and the third should be Belo. Since Bem is naturally so stoic and reticent, it makes sense that episode one had to focus on Sonia instead, thus preserving his mystery. This time around, the viewer followed Bela to school where she laughs and chats with her friends, teases a boy who likes her, and meets a woman named Elaine (Taichi You). She’s twenty-seven, a little too old to still be in high school, and upon seeing Bela’s face, called out the name of an old, dead friend.
Did you guess who the liar was? If you said any number of the characters, you’d be partially right. There was no one liar. Everyone was the liar. If the reference to the French Revolution and Reign of Terror was meant to evoke or foreshadow anything, I’m sure it was paranoia. That was a time when people turned on each other, when anyone would have done anything so long as the next aristocrat fed to the guillotine wasn’t themselves or someone they cared about, and sometimes for personal reasons, too. Like jealousy or greed. Shortly after our glimpse into Bela’s school life, Sonia was shown interviewing former classmates of Elaine’s friend, and their accounts conflict. Some of them seemed to be exaggerating their relationship to the murder victim for an extension on their fifteen minutes to fame, while others described the victim’s friends as cruel or odd, even warning the officers to be wary of Elaine if she ever says, “I wish we’d met sooner.” How on earth did that guy know that those words were a tip-off, though? Was he around if/when Elaine said those words to other classmates who conveniently ended up dead? Then, of course, you have Bem, Bela, and Belo, who are all living a lie in some shape or form, too.
There was only one significantly violent death this time around, and that was enough because what this show lacks in quantity it made up for in quality. If you go frame-by-frame during the rich woman’s final moments, you can see how that bowling ball the size of a boulder tore her body to shreds. And then exploded. It was just a nice reminder that for all that BEM can take advantage of a gloomy color palette, at its heart it’s still an adaptation with a sense of humor and a bit of camp. Probably my favorite part on that point was when Belo handed Bela his phone to reveal who hired the man sent to kill her, and she’s so enraged by what she sees that she crushes it with her bare hand, leading the segment to end on him staring at the wrecked device in horror.
So that leads me to my only critique of the episode, which is that this doesn’t feel like the natural follow-up to the previous episode. Last episode ended with Sonia blasting Bem full of holes, so why would she follow his lead to a crime-in-progress here? How did Bem manage to earn her trust? However he did it, I hope it’s not skipped over. Next time should be Belo’s time to shine, though, so it looks like we’re going to get an elaboration on why exactly Bela referred to him as a bodyguard. For instance, is he bodyguarding Bela, his friends, or both? Maybe we’ll even find out more about the person who wore his face. Judging by Belo’s musing, it’s even possible that they could still be alive. Highly doubtful, but almost certainly possible, so long as Bem, Bela, and Belo aren’t literally wearing human faces to blend in.