This episode introduced the third major arc in Les Miserables, and it already shows that the overall mood is going to be very different from the previous one. While the previous arc had a lot of tension, most of it was sortof silent. There weren’t many direct conflicts, and it was basically a big cat and mouse game, while Jean and Cosette got to know each other a bit better. The current arc, however, places Javert out of the picture again, brings back the Thenardiers (yay!), and shows that Marius has quite an interesting background.
Most of the episode was focused on the latter, by the way. Cosette meanwhile says goodbye to one of her major friends she met in the monastery, and starts thinking about her future because of this, while Jean watches. Marius, however, gets really fleshed out in this episode, after being introduced in the previous one. The dialogue on that part was a bit difficult, but this is what I got out of it:
His father was a major officer in Napoleon’s army. His uncle is a high-ranked official in Paris, with whom he currently lives with, along with his aunt. I didn’t see any signs pointing to some kind of mother of his, so I assume she died early. The reason why he lived with his uncle, instead of his father probably is because of his father’s position. It’s perfectly possible for him to have no time at all to take care of his child, so he sent him to his brother to take care of.
Well then, Marius hated his father, simply because he never heard anything about him. No letters, nothing. It turns out that his uncle kept burning the letters that Marius’s father sent (similar to Cosette, now that I think about it). As for the reason why, if I’m not mistaking it’s because his father worked for Napoleon. I can imagine that people would feel bad to be associated with such a person, which is why Marius’s uncle decided to keep him away from his father.
Then, at this episode, Marius’s father dies. Only then does his uncle inform him about his state, and then Marius finds out what his father really thought of him (he’s actually been dying, wanting to see him, pun not intended). An argument follows, and Marius decided to run away from home to… the Thenardiers!? What?
Only now I realize that Thenardier was in the army, and fought in the battle of Waterloo as well. It makes perfect sense now, and the picture they’ve always had hanging above their door shows him, together with Marius’s father in a rather dramatic way. It seems that Marius is planning to meet him, in order to find out the truth about his father, and what he was really like.
The Thenardiers, meanwhile, finally seem to have been defeated by their money-problems, and are forced to move out of their house. It’s great to see them actually back again. The question remains, though: how will the Thenardiers bring Cosette and Marius together? With Jean, this anime has already proved that it’s different from most other anime by not making haste when bringing characters together (unlike other anime, who most of the times wrap up the introduction of a new side-character in the same episode he or she was introduced in). This episode truly was excellent, and to think that the current arc has only just begun.