Shinnosuke, Kiriko and Gou continue to investigate the stalking Roidmude, while Heart, Brain and Medic decide what to do with the newly self-aware Chase.
This is one of those episodes that’s really disappointing, not necessarily because it’s bad per se, but because there was clearly the potential for so much more to come out of it. There are strong bits here, bits which work well, but overall the execution lets down the considerable ideas on display. Of all the things that stick in the mind about this episode, it’s undoubtedly the ending which we should talk about first. On one level it’s something we should congratulate the writers for. The twist is certainly shocking and I admire any attempt to add genuine drama to the narrative, but it just doesn’t work for a variety of reasons. One is that it’s simply too sudden. Basically the entire plot about the failed relationship is built up over the course of about 15 minutes, and that’s just not long enough to allow an emotional investment in the characters involved. The other, oddly enough, is that it’s simply too bleak. This isn’t The Road or Game of Thrones – Kamen Rider is a sympathetic enough universe that we want even our tragedies to have catharsis. This is just a horrible, bleak ending that makes no-one involved look good and should probably lead to a lengthy jail sentence for manslaughter. It’s an admirable attempt at a dark twist, but the execution is botched enough I just felt vague queasy about the whole thing. On the other hand, what the show chooses to do with Chase is far more successful. While some may scream cop-out, I personally felt it was far too early to turn him to the side of the angels. Keeping him as a newly cold-blooded enforcer gives Drive and Mach an active, on the ground presence to fight, while also subtly enhancing the tragedy of Chase as a character. The mysterious nature of his fresh turn to the dark side also helps enhance the mystique of Medic, who has been slightly anonymous since her introduction. I’m hoping they can handle the two sides of the character well enough to make him convincing in the dual fallen hero/evil bastard role. Overall then it was an episode ripe with promise that failed to deliver what it set out to do. It’s encouraging the Drive is making the attempt though, and I feel it’s finally developing a deep enough cast and strong enough interpersonal relationships to really make the dramatic aspect worthwhile. Not this time then, but hopefully sometime soon.
- The fights are back to nasty shakycam, but at least we can our first Rider Double Kick, always an awesome moment.
- There’s some imaginative camerawork in the ‘reflections’ sequence but being so obviously faked takes away a lot of the impact.
- I will say they continue to do interesting things with the Roidmudes, but at the expense of coherence. I’m still pretty confused as to what the actually ‘gimmick’ is behind them.