“Where On The Side Of Justice Will The Bullet Fall?”
Shinnosuke, still cornered by Nira’s ingenious plan, struggles to find a way to clear his name. Meanwhile, Chase and Gou try to save Yukari, who is dying of Brain’s poison.
Last week’s episode of Kamen Rider Drive was a thrilling, high-stakes masterpiece and this episode happily picked up right where that one left off. Taunting Shinnosuke with the complexity of his scheme, Nira reveals his endgame at last. His goal isn’t merely to discredit Shinnosuke, but to completely invalidate his father’s sacrifice — not only killing the girl Eisuke sacrificed himself to save, but also making Shinnosuke shoot him, thereby proving that his own petty desire for revenge can turn even the most morally upstanding man into a ruthless killer. Someone tells me Riku Sanjo has been watching Se7en, though luckily for Shinnosuke (and the audience), Nira’s gambit doesn’t exactly go the way Kevin Spacey’s went in that movie. While Dimension Cab’s moment de gloire was a clever twist — Nira not knowing that Mr. Belt is sentient ended up being his undoing — bringing a satisfying end to this thrilling catch-22, the writers do owe us some kind of explanation for iDad’s magical data healing powers. Is Brain’s iPad actually an advanced Roidmude body, or does Banno have a body hiding somewhere?
More than its writing, however, it’s the directing that made this episode into one of the show’s best. Gone is the chaotic jitter cam that made many episodes in the first half so agonizing to watch and in comes a nervous, atmospheric cinematography that gives Kamen Rider a noir-like edge that hasn’t really been seen since Kamen Rider W Returns: Accel. Nira’s slipping sanity is accentuated by quickly shifting camera angles accompanying Kisuke Iida’s ever-entertaining facial gymnastics, while the grainy filter and tense use of lightning successfully kept me on the edge of my seat. At the same time, Brain and Nira’s ridiculously over-the-top reactions make for some highly unnerving mood whiplashes that bring an uneasy kind of levity to this otherwise deadly-serious episode. A rare triple Rider Kick marks the end to Brain’s petty existence, leaving the faith of the Roidmude race in the hands of Heart and an unnervingly excited Medic. Getting to see her torment a comically crying CGI number three with a childlike grin was almost worth having her ruthlessly sidelined throughout this entire arc, but damn, I’m glad she’s back in action.
With another exciting arc wrapped up, it remains to be seen if, and if so, how Drive will up the stakes once more. Nira’s eerie parting words give me the impression there’s still more to the death of Shinnosuke’s father or the Roidmude crisis than we know, while on the other hand, I don’t think we’re quite through with Gou and his digitized dad just yet. Will iDad’s face turn be short-lived, will Heart finish the job he started, or is there another danger lurking in the background? It may not feel like it, what with all the finale-worthy material we’ve been going through as of late, but we still have more than a dozen episodes left! If Drive can keep up the amazing stint it has been on these last few weeks, we might be looking at a show that can rank alongside classics like W and OOO after all.
- I’m pretty sure Heart wouldn’t allow Medic to kill Brain, but I think it’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing him again.
- Saving people by turning them into data, which somehow allows them to exist in physical form, seems to be Riku Sanjo’s favourite deus ex machina. Kamen Rider W also used this trope with reckless abandon.
- A bit of a downside to the episode was the complete lack of Special Crimes Unit. Wasn’t the whole point of this season supposed to be Kamen Rider working with a team?
- This show needs a lot more of Chase trying to ‘repair’ Yukari with Mad Doctor or making the most awkward thumbs-up pose in tokusatsu history.