I had my doubts when I heard that the goofballs of the first season would return in this episode. Especially combined with Hei, shaving his beard: the creators would have to very skillfully write these final episodes, even more than the previous eight episodes. The danger of this show turning into one that goes into its on direction, yet gives up in the end and simply decides to go with the tried and true formula of the first season would be disastrous.
Instead, what this series now has to do is instead of completely going back to the style of the first season, bring both seasons together: converge the two of them into one. And bloody hell, this episode actually did it.
Of course, this perhaps wasn’t the best episode of the second season, but the two goofballs were a lot less annoying than what I remember them to be. They again had a clear purpose: to form a contrast with the contractors in this series, and they went further than the goofball in this series by actually pushing Suou towards meeting her mother; something that she for some reason didn’t look forward to. It’s a really good episode that contributed to how she’s struggling with her own identity as a contractor, while brilliantly having her avoid the usual angsty indecisive teenager route.
On top of building upon the themes of the second season, this episode was also chockful of references to the first season: Amber seems central to the plot, Hei has cut off his hair and finally has another reason to act like the nice guy he pretended to be in the first season. What’s more, some of the characters of the first season seem vital to the plot of the second season. You can see that the creators have put a lot of thought into it.
That scene in which Suou met her mother surprisingly lacked impact for me, though. I’m not sure what it was, but I was much more interested in just about everything around it. There are still a few huge questions behind it that need answering: why that woman from the CIA direct Suou to her mother? What is she trying to achieve? What has Suou’s mother been up to anyway?
Also, colds in Japan are weird. Instead of taking quite a few days to blow over, you simply faint, sleep and it usually completely disappears after a few hours. Either that or a lot of Japanese mistake colds for anemia, which is also much more common than where I live…
Rating: * (Good)