Have we ever seen Daru angry before? Have we ever watched Mayuri so absolutely devastated? It’s taken a while to get here, but this feels like the kind of episode I was hoping for all along.
This alternative time line has relied a lot on the knowledge of the audience to fill in the blanks. We entered this series knowing what had happened in the original series and knowing what Okabe went through the choices in front of him. And while we’ve seen the fall out of the choice he made to get to this world line, we haven’t heard from his own mouth just how he felt. It was quite obvious that he’s been holding so much back but this episode, as Daru and Maho are busted trying to duplicate the phone microwave (temporary), he just explodes.
What I loved about this was that everything he said was justified and could be understood by the audience because they’ve already been with him on his journey through countless failures. But at the same time, everything Maho and Daru said was also justified. They aren’t ready just to accept world war three nor are they ready to accept that there is no solution (of course without the memories of other time lines and not carrying that emotional baggage, their decision makes perfect sense to them).
And just in case this episode didn’t hit us with enough emotions, we get the flash back to see Mayuri’s first demise. It hits with all the impact it did right back when I watched the original series the first time. Of course, it also reminds me that most of the moments that have resonated emotionally with me in this series are throw backs to the original series. However, this episode actually does a fine job of taking the characters in a direction that wasn’t explored in the original series and is interesting. For perhaps the first time while watching this I am eagerly awaiting a decision I don’t know the answer to because it is quite likely that Daru and Maho can succeed without Okabe’s help, however it is infinitely more likely that after Okabe’s conversation with Mayuri he is finally going to accept that this world he has created isn’t the best outcome even if Mayuri is alive in it.
One thing I found particularly interesting early in the episode was the distance between Mayuri and Okabe. It’s been pretty palpable all season, but as they walk together and talk, we see almost no shots where they are on screen together, instead jumping from one to the next. It is really only when Mayuri pulls out her phone to show him a picture forcing him to move closer that the two end up in the frame together and even then Okabe looks distinctly uncomfortable. The conversation that follows is stilted and unnatural to the point that Mayuri excuses herself and essentially flees the scene leaving Okabe to go to the lab alone.
The point that Okabe made the choice to commit to this world line to save Mayuri and yet there’s more distance between them than ever, is well made without being hammered home. And this makes Mayuri’s confrontation of Okabe in the park at the end of the episode so much more powerful as she calls him on all his excuses.
While this episode doesn’t undo the fact that I’ve felt this series has been a bit plodding, I certainly enjoyed this week’s fare.
- Episode 15: I Just Wanted To…
- Episode 14: What Happens If Okabe Isn’t The Protagonist?
- Episode 13: Ignore the Paradox
- Episode 12: I Wonder How They’ll Deal With This Paradox?
- Episode 11: As If Things Are Finished
- Episode 10: And This Is Why Characters Should Speak
- Episode 9: Putting It Together
- Episode 8: Reliving The Tragedy
- Episode 7: Leaping To Conclusions is Fun
- Episode 6: And Round and Round We Go
- Episodes 4 + 5: It’s Never Over
- Episode 3: Kurisu and Okabe Still Have It
- Episode 2: Okabe Reacts
- Steins;Gate 0 First Impressions
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