“Glad to be Here”
While there’s certainly bound to be some consternation that Lena has now been sidelined for two weeks running, cannot say that 86 is holding back any punches with the material. After Spearhead decided their place was in the wrong place (safety-wise), it was back to everything we knew and loved in the first season. Animosity; suffering; death: why yes, it’s the full meal deal.
For all I’m on record about the approach 86 takes when it comes to character deaths, this was probably the first episode where it just clicked for me. Part of this is likely down to Eugene being featured alone in place of multiple secondary throwaway characters (as most of Spearhead last season was) and the pleasant reunion with Fido, but it’s also due to how Eugene died. Just take those death flags for example, pretty clear something was going to happen to the poor guy at some point – but that quickly? And then there’s the utterly brutal nature of his death where compared to previous character deaths nothing was held back. At all. It was in effect the visual culmination of everything 86 has built up to date, a succinct example of what’s being fought for and just what must be sacrificed to obtain it. Some truly deserve a good life of peace, yet peace can only exist if such good men (and women) are willing to put their lives on the line for it.
Further building on the solemnity of this episode was the treatment Giad troops gave Spearhead themselves. I don’t think anyone is too shocked by the reaction garnered to how the likes of Shin conduct themselves in combat, but it’s still quite catching noting how different both sides act. The average Giad conscript for example has no basis for what Spearhead went through, they may know the pains of military life and its requirements, but not the ostracization, dehumanization, and eventual liquidation 86ers experience from day one. It makes Shin and company appear almost suicidal, something a few seemingly understand the reasons for, yet something even those individuals cannot truly comprehend. Indeed the only one who probably can right now is Frederica, for while the pint-sized pipsqueak (emphasis on the squeak) is just as innocent as any other Giad soldier, her birth status compels her into atoning for the sins of her forebearers the only way she knows how. They’re the lost children, kids who know only war, and much like other poor bastards stuck in-country, they’ll keep on fighting until there’s nothing left to defeat.
It just remains to be seen if they can outlive the mechanical monsters out to end their lives.