Home > Episode Reviews, Gosick > Gosick Episode 4 – Mysteries of the Heart

Gosick Episode 4 – Mysteries of the Heart

I’ve established my belief that Gosick doesn’t works all that well as a mystery series; this episode does nothing to dissuade me of that. There are two mysteries this time around, both comparatively minor ones, but neither of which provide the feeling of “Aha!” that a good mystery resolution should. One follows the previously established pattern of being too easy to solve, while the other goes to the other extreme, and is solved by what feels like a random guess that happened to pan out.

Gosick’s continual failure to generate compelling mysteries, however, still hasn’t turned me off of the series. The puzzles themselves are lacking, but they are deeply thematic, and create compelling situations for the leads to work through their own issues and their issues with each other. And I’ll take solid character development over a clever mystery any day.

Grevil arrested Kujou because the inspector didn't find Kujou's eyewitness statement plausible. Grevil did locate the murder weapon, which should have instantly revealed to him what really happened

This episode starts in media res with Kujou trying to convince the ever-idiotic Grevil of his innocence in a random murder. (Kujou just happened to be walking by; save for one clue about the actual murderer which was a bit forced, I doubt any watcher couldn’t decipher the whole thing.)

A later mystery revolves around an eight-year-old corpse discovered in the school crypt; this wouldn’t have been suspicious save for the fact that the sap was dressed as a medieval knight and was obviously alive when he was locked in. Here Victorique’s proposed solution isn’t so much obvious as it is completely random; she spins a story that happens which matches the established facts, but is not compelled by them. In fact, her explanation is completely unprovable—which, I suppose, is a good way to ensure your reputation can’t be sullied by being proven wrong.

Maxim was an academy alumnus with a less than sterling reputation. Victorique surmises he finally came to a bad end through the actions of a woman he probably seduced. Her solution is very tidy, but still seems like conjecture rather than proof

So neither crime is resolved in an particularly engaging fashion; far more interesting is the background. Both mysteries revolve around women strongly implied to have been wronged, who were hurt by those they loved and acted out on it in less than legal ways. Of course, Victorique herself falls into a similar pattern, imprisoned by her own father and only grudging aided by her brother out of necessity to keep his own career afloat. (Grevil doesn’t even admit he’s talking to Victorique, instead pretending to talk to himself or, more recently, Kujou.)

Likewise, Kujou’s close proximity with two murder victims, not to mention the entire fiasco on the Queen Berry, has cemented his reputation as a harbinger of death. He’s even more ostracized and isolated than he was before Victorique, which makes him receptive to the overtures of Avril Bradley, an English exchange student who takes an instant liking to him.

Avril seems excessively friendly to Kujou, showering him with attention from her very first day. Whenever a pretty girl shows such obvious interest in you, be suspicious

Avril ingratiates herself with him on the basis of their both being exchange students, and also because she seems fascinated with the many ghost stories that get spread around the academy, including the “black grim reaper” story that’s been pinned on Kujou. (The one teacher who has taken an interest in Kujou also loves such stories.)

Of course, there’s also plenty of reason she’s suspicious; she conveniently fits the profile of the first culprit (who was supposedly caught, but Grevil, being Grevil, could have botched things), and her interest in the history of the school seems a bit intense. Secreting away an item from a crime scene doesn’t make her look good either.

Of course, you should also be suspicious if she rushes into a murder scene to grab an item she seemed to know would be there

The greater threat she poses is how she diverts Kujou’s attention from an increasingly jealous Victorique. Victorique has yet to admit that Kujou is anything more than a lackey, but she’s obviously fond of him and upset when Kujou’s attentions are diverted from her to Avril, or to other women in general. (It does and does not help that Kujou has an expressed preference for blonds.) The cases here seem to only exacerbate their relationship, despite Kujou’s attempts at reconciliation.

Having the various criminal cases of the show serve as aids to the main (romantic) plot is an interesting move, one that only works if the show is approached with the right expectations. Those hoping for a properly developed mystery story will find Gosick lacking—unless the meta-mystery of Avril’s true intentions proves sufficiently engaging—but Kujou and Victorique remain intriguing to watch, even if their relationship seems to be taking the “short blond tsundere and her servant she loves” approach. The uniqueness of the setting and backdrop make up for what would otherwise be a predicable romance show.

Another recurring theme in Gosick is that the criminals often seem like victims and the victims like criminals. All four murder plots thus far have had, or at least seem to have, legitimate cause for grievance at their root. Also, all the culprits have been women

It’s too much, knowing typical male leads, to expect for Kujou to figure out Victorique’s feelings on his own, so we’ll have to trust in the (only slightly more likely) possibility that one or the other will come to admit and understand their own feelings. When it comes to the mysteries of the heart, even a sleuth like Victorique seems a bit out of her league.

You can watch the episode here.

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