Trauma takes its toll all around, only leading to further tragedies.
What They Say:
Slaine wakes up in the Landing Castle of Count Saazbaum and learns the true intentions of the Count. Rayet and Lt. Marito must deal with with their individual memories of those they have lost to the Martians.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Slaine has recently learned the truth about the loyalties of Cruhteo and Saazbaum, but with the latter’s attack at just the right time, it was unclear if that would do him any good, or if the sequence of events would even allow him to remember the very brief but very important end of his painful ordeal. Given the way he begins the episode, he could very well be either dead or as ignorant of the truth as ever, in a position to be easily used as a pawn by the schemer who has taken him in. But Saazbaum does have some loyalty, and between that and the assumption that he has the situation under control, he decides to reveal the truth readily and without solicitation. As his time with Slaine goes on, he goes into greater detail regarding his motives and what really makes him tick. It’s an easy way to build a character that might’ve otherwise seemed a bit shallower, but it’s not a terribly original or compelling bundle of tropes. He throws out a few clichés that could conceivably carry enough conviction to win over a simpleminded character, but I would hope that Slaine does not prove to be such a character, especially since, appropriately enough, his defining loyalty is for the same reason as Saazbaum’s, and it will prove to be the telling moment of Slaine’s superior adherence to his principles in the face of danger should he decide to again risk everything to attempt to stop the forces behind this war.
While that’s the only real look at the Martian side of things, this episode deals much more extensively with the protagonists on Earth than some recent ones, particularly delving into character exploration in important ways that we’ve only gotten hints of before this point. Marito’s PTSD has been shown briefly in recent events, but isn’t acknowledged as such until this episode, as the crew’s doctor begins attempting to treat the condition with exposure therapy. There’s some humor to be had with Marito criticizing the very blocky models used to represent the people and machines of his traumatic experience 15 years prior as well as the inaccuracies of the setting, but before he can say much more, the vague likenesses prove enough to force Marito to replay the exact events in his head, and it’s every bit the scene you can see in any number of productions but no less powerful and painful to watch.
He’s not the only one in this kind of situation, though. While Rayet doesn’t have her symptoms triggered by an actual battle, a simulation that happens to feature the model that took her own comrades away from her before her eyes certainly has the same effect, and while Marito was able to be treated before it really became an issue, Rayet ends up in a situation in which her uncontrollable emotions can get the better of her and cause a new tragedy that, assuming it actually ends up being the case this time, could not only result in immediate and long-term heartbreak for many of the major characters, but also be the biggest problem the protagonists could face, and ultimately the loss of the chance for peaceful resolution.
An episode focused on very human issues like PTSD culminates in an unpremeditated action that could be the biggest turning point (for the worse) since the beginning of the series. The series still isn’t a great one, and the way some of this plays out isn’t optimal, but it has its moments.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Toshiba Satellite L655-S5191 PSK2CU-1C301U Notebook PC.