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I have to hand it to this show. It sure knows how to hit someone in the gut. Honestly, I completely bought into the lighter tone of this episode, but the show rather effectively ripped it away. I can’t say I say that coming. That being said, I still have issues with some of the other things that come up in this episode. This series seems to heavily take advantage of mystery without delivering on it, and it truly bugs me. I would be happy if it’s playing at some grander mystery, but that remains to be seen.
This scene did give me some hope that Stella was starting to question her role in the Empire. I still like the idea of having her join the resistance, but later events in the episode make me less sure.
So…does this mean we have a face to label as the antagonist in this series? This appearance seems a bit random.
This episode seemed to build a bit more on the mystery surrounding Stella’s origins, but it felt weak to me. We’ve already gotten pretty clear evidence that she’s Layla’s missing daughter, but this episode seemed to push some kind of history with the palace. Layla didn’t have any relationship with the royal family before the accident in Leash, right?
This moment is probably my least favorite moment in the episode. After spending multiple episodes building up questions around Owens and his past, he just flat-out tells everyone that he runs an orphanage. It seems like such a mundane reveal after all of the hype. I felt similarly about Joshua’s death, which is why I said earlier that I think the mysteries in this series never really pay off.
This happens once again with Stella’s past. It’s true that her past is sad to watch. She’s the typical case of the foster child replaced by a biological child, but it seems like a weak reveal for why she smiles all of the time. To be fair, though, I think that this story is used to great effect in this episode. It simultaneously reveals the self-imposed nature of Stella’s fake smiles and ends with a tragedy that she can’t force herself to smile at.
I question the point of this scene. I was under the impression that Yuuki cared for the flowers because of Joshua, and Stella seems to be embellishing it. It could be a play at humanizing Yuuki in Stella’s eyes for the future, but I’m not sure.
Pierce’s death worked for the most part, but it also seems to push Stella further away from the resistance forces. That being said, it’s not really clear who attacked the transport, so it’s always possible that the Empire was actually behind it. That explanation fits better with my impression of the overall direction for the story, but seems a bit convoluted.