And the hits keep coming and they don’t stop coming. Just when you thought 86 had revealed enough for the moment, or that things might take some time to better explore such matters, in comes the haymaker to further reinforce exactly what this series is all about. I’d say it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire, but the pan has been vacated a while ago.
Although my issues with Lena are well-documented, this might be the first time she deserves some sympathy. That showdown with Henrietta, besides the technical implications mentioned below, shows just how delusional San Magnolia has become. Henrietta after all cannot be blamed for her own past actions; siding with the majority and reinforcing the ostracization of 86ers was done in part to preserve her (and her family’s) safety and security.
This is the reason why when one’s livelihood is threatened by taking the wrong stance you quickly apologize and/or fall into crowd – need look no further than Nazi Germany, the USSR, or any other top-down regime too see such action in practice. Henrietta’s response I can therefore understand, but her blaming of Lena is very much a disingenuous attempt to hide the immense guilt she feels. Lena may be a naïve idealist, but she at least tries to act on her beliefs, and it’s something that hurts Henrietta because it blatantly highlights Henrietta’s past mistakes. She hates Lena because Lena has the courage she lacks, and so cuts off her friendship to avoid having to dwell upon it. It’s sad, it’s disappointing, but as Lena’s uncle shows, it’s also the path of least resistance when it seems the entire world is dead set against you.
As for the 86ers, lo and behold there’s more to their status than simple cannon fodder. While I’m somewhat disappointed the underlying mechanism has assumed magical ability status, the presence of esper-esque powers among certain 86ers succinctly explains both the nature of Para-RAID system – i.e. Shin acting as a conduit for everyone else to hear the voices of the dead – and why San Magnolia is so determined to see them all perish.
Is this a heavy-handed approach? Without a doubt, but one which highlights just how screwed San Magnolia is. When your entire system is effectively based on a personnel class who themselves are anathema to your post-survival future, such a future becomes impossible given the unlikelihood of matching the timing of their complete extirpation with the elimination of your actual enemy. Either you’ll be found out, or the enemy will simply roll over the remnants of your liquidation in progress. As Shin’s warning to Lena indicates the latter is more likely than the former right now, and given the confirmed “activation” of his brother, Legion’s testing of new weaponry, and Spearhead’s intentionally suicidal Charge of the Light Brigade orders, it’s a probability which grows more certain by the day.
There’s a reckoning quickly approaching for San Magnolia and 86er both, and the only question is who will walk away alive once the dust finally settles.