The team attempt to puzzle out the mystery behind 001’s final words, and discover once and for all who killed Shinnosuke’s father.
For quite a while now we’ve been talking about how Drive has adopted a new style. More specifically, about how it’s become faster, looser, and more pulpy at the expense of sometimes erratic pacing and inconsistent plotting. I’ve definitely enjoyed the transition, and I’ll take it any day over the somewhat sluggish, kludgy show that Drive was in its teens. With this episode though we’ve got to step back and admit there’s a problem. That problem is that things are getting so fast and loose that not only are big plot holes starting to open, but the sloppy nature of the narrative is beginning to affect my enjoyment of the show.
Let’s emphasise the good first though, and the major thing that stands out about this episode is the twist. I don’t think many people saw this coming and it’s a really rather surprising development. Coupled with the idea that Nira has been taken under Brain’s wing as a sort of lackey-cum-secret weapon, it presents a bold new direction for the show to head in the immediate future. That’s something we were a little worried about after 001 was sewn up so decisively. Kisuke Iida has already proved that he can play an intensely hateable villain so tuning the character from comedy to genuine antagonism should hopefully not be too difficult. The shift works especially well since there’s been a notable softening of the character over the past few episodes, so his leap to help Shinnosuke feels completely natural.
With that out of the way…what? It’s a great twist for immediate impact, but the more you think about it the less sense it makes. The motive is incredibly shallow (though that’s admittedly part of the point) and it really doesn’t seem that likely that 001 would rescue such an inconsequential human, no matter how mad his emotion was. The entire ‘Shinnosuke’s Father’ aspect of the plot has felt very tacked on for a while now and this sudden swerve doesn’t really help that. The script feels like it’s flailing out of control and while that’s exciting in some ways it doesn’t give me much confidence in the long term planning of the story.
In the short term I’ve no doubt we’ll get a really good episode next week, but this was the first time I felt the generally haphazard nature of the story got in the way of my enjoyment. That’s worrying because it may indicate the wave of silyl excitement Drive has been running on for quite some time now is about to peter out. Let’s hope we can keep it going.
- The show has played fast and loose with how the Roidmudes actually work for quite some time now, but Brain’s bizarre ‘absorb Nira then unmerge with him immediately’ thing is frustrating and confusing on a whole different level.
- The weird comic-relief scientist lady is one of the many elements that feel sort of out of nowhere in this episode.
- There are some unusually sloppy edits, most notably Drive transforming to Technic before he unleashes his finisher, which I didn’t even notice the first time.
- Also an unwelcome return for the CGI-heavy battles.