“I Don’t Want to Die”
Well, I’d say fears over 86 failing in terms of gravity have now been slightly eased. While the show has taken its time in acknowledging the substantial elephant in the room, the moment (and its accompanying buildup) certainly did the trick in highlighting just where this story is going. Lena might want to help a group of people used and abused, but first she needs to understand just exactly who they are – and who she wants to be herself.
Given the happy-go-lucky nature (interspersed with the occasional flareup of violence) over the first couple of weeks, this was the episode I was most looking forward to. Lena’s naivety for example is not only noticeable for us, but also the 86ers under her command. Just because her processors aren’t telling her doesn’t mean they aren’t painfully aware of it; the outbursts this week may have confirmed it, but I guarantee the same thoughts were running in their heads since the beginning. And frankly such thoughts are fully deserved. Regardless of Lena’s sincerity in belief, for those only accustomed to denigration she sounds an awful lot like someone with a saviour complex, an individual who professes care and understanding to plaster over the guilt they feel for enjoying life others cannot. Ever wonder why those in hard-off situations don’t like such moral grandstanding and often lash out at it? This is the main reason why. It may seem like you’re helping and or trying to understand, but when approached from a position of apparent safety and security without any relevant experience it just hurts. Hard.
And that then leads into the other source of 86 ire in Lena’s growing attachment. Much as professed by Spearhead squadron, Lena’s nightly talks were used solely to alleviate boredom. When death could be mere moments away, you don’t seek to form deep or lasting attachments because you can never be sure when that close relationship may be snatched away by the enemy. Lena, given her status and position behind the lines, never learned this lesson and operates under the impression she can save every life under her command. Reality of course operates differently, and the results of simple battlefield luck and the fog of war only reinforce the deserved disgust (and moments of sympathy) a lot of Spearhead feel for a girl who, for all that supposed care, never even once attempted to learn her processors’ actual names (quite cute for a girl who professes a desire to learn wouldn’t you say?).
This whole episode is a vivid indication of just how wide the chasm is between Lena and Spearhead, and also the arguable starting point for this series overall. Now that Lena has been woken up to the realities at hand, will see break like her predecessors, or will be she use this lesson to finally understand what it’ll take to realize her strongly held convictions? Next week is definitely going to be interesting to see.