What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 18.
You were pretty harsh on the show last week, have things improved this week? I was dreading writing this review if I’m honest…
Oh, that bad, huh? No, it’s just I hate admitting when I’m wrong—or rather I hate admitting when I jumped the proverbial gun too early. So, uh, last week’s review was pretty bad—
—As opposed to all your other reviews? Yeah, yeah very funny. But I’m serious, I was never really happy with my knee-jerk response to the episode, I hate knee-jerk responses to anything but due to the nature of this reviewing process where I write a review only hours~ after watching the episode I didn’t give it the time it deserved to truly sit with me and process it all.
So how long did you need to come to your actual conclusion about last week’s episode? Oh about thirty-seconds after finishing this week’s episode.
Ah, so one of the needing to see the whole picture to make sense of the pieces kind of deal? Kind of but not really, see here’s the thing practically every show I’m watching this anime season delivers more or less a complete ‘episodic’ experience from start to finish, the story might be stretched out over multiple episodes but at the end of any given episode I’m never left ‘wanting’ I’m always ‘satisfied.’ Last week though Steins;Gate 0 pulled the rug out from under me and I was left flailing and in my wild gnashing of teeth and swinging of arms I lashed out at the only target I could deep responsible—that being the show itself.
And where was your blame correctly laid? I should have been blaming myself for not having the patience to see where this show was going and I could very well blame the whole ‘weekly viewing’ experience itself. In a binge-watch there would have been no issues with last episode because I’d be able to follow it up with this week’s episode straight away and get more or less all the resolution and answers and gearing up for a dramatic end-game that was missing from the previous one.
Fair enough, so what happened in this episode that made up for what you felt was left unsaid in the previous one? Everything and a lot—big spoilers from here on out obviously. So Mayuri isn’t actually dead like we all thought last episode, she just got grazed on the side of the head (lots of people being grazed with bullets in this show). Kagiri saves the day with her sick fighting skills but gets a couple of dozen bullets for her troubles but at least mother and adoptive daughter are reunited. Professor Leskinen shows his true colours and reveals himself to be the mastermind behind everything bad that happened last-week and kinda everything bad that’s happened to Kagiri in the past, present and future. Suzuha beats the crap out of Leskinen but for some reason Daru stops her from killing her even though she straight up murdered a bunch of henchmen a few minutes earlier?! Attack helicopters converge on the Radio Kaikan Building; everyone somehow avoids the minigun fire, Mayuri and Suzuha escape in the time machine to go back and try and fix anything but a missile is fired at them and we’re left not quite knowing whether they made it back in time or were blown up by the explosion.
Whoa, action-packed episode, huh? Indeed, and while I do have a few qualms about the credibility of Okabe, Maho and Daru’s escape from the rooftop (just how much plot armour are they wearing) and while I think leaving Leskinen alive is just a cheap narrative device to have him reappear later “dramatically” on it was an intense half hour of anime! Plus it’s topped off with an emotional message sent from Mayuri to Okabe, explaining her reason for going back in time and confessing her love for him!
Well that does indeed seem like a lot of stuff, what’s your main takeaway from the episode though? I think the thing that stands out to me the most is how much Okabe’s hand is forced to get back into the business of time-travel shenanigans, like even if I’d criticised the show last week for robbing the protagonist of purpose in his narrative this episode puts him back in the drivers seat but also makes the very important addendum that he isn’t doing this alone this time. Unlike the first Steins;Gate where Okabe had to suffer time and time again trying to save Mayuri and Kurisu and experiencing the heartbreak alone Mayuri’s message clearly tells him that he doesn’t have to do this alone. He has co-drivers; he has Daru and Maho and Faris and Ruka and Suzuha and Mayuri (in whatever world-line they ended up in).
Well I suppose I’m glad you’re not complaining anymore, even if your review for the previous episode is going to kind of stick out like an anomaly compared to all the others. Nah, that happened on a different world-line, this is the new reality, back to all praise all the time.
Sure, sure. So anything else you wanted to add? I’m glad Maho’s not evil like her boss (at least not so far…) also that song that played over Okabe reading Mayuri’s message was absolutely gorgeous—here’s hoping they use that as the ED from here on out! Other than that I’m just happy Steins;Gate 0 is back to being the high quality I’ve come to expect from it and I can’t wait to see what they all get up to next week as this convoluted story continues!
Previous Steins;Gate 0 Reviews:
Episode 1 Review
Episode 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
Episode 6 Review
Episode 7 Review
Episode 8 Review
Episode 9 Review
Episode 10 Review
Episode 11 Review
Episode 12 Review
Episode 13 Review
Defying the Protagonist – Episode 14 Review
When Daru Met Yuki – Episode 15 Review
Truth Is A Mirror – Episode 16 Review
A Life Sentence – Episode 17 Review
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