Gosick Episode 6 – Sins of the Mother
How does a mystery show whose characters are far more interesting than its mysteries improve? By making the mysteries be about the characters. Victorique has been the star of the show from its inception, and now her past is getting its due.
This is made all the better by anticipation. It was over two episodes ago that we learned that Victorique is a “gray wolf,” and only now do we begin to learn what the title means, and how the gray wolf fable that first surfaced in the premiere episode relates to a real person—or in this case, people. The thing I love most about serial story telling (which the vast majority of anime at least attempts) is the ability to have a storyline that extends beyond a single episode. Gosick is finally demonstrating what it can do with that format.
After Victorique solves the obligatory puzzle of the episode—which is better than some of the ones we’ve had previously—Kujou notices an odd classified ad in the paper while looking in vain for Grevil to take credit for the case. (Grevil knows the culprit but doesn’t make an arrest for some unrevealed reason, providing another plot thread to carry through multiple episodes.) The notice is for the “gray wolves” to return home, and Victorique jumps on it.
Only in pieces does Kujou get the full story: there is a self-isolated village deep in the mountains whose inhabitants are known as “gray wolves” and are regarded with suspicion by neighboring towns. The inhabitants, known for being diminutive and blond, have a less than savory reputation, but their village only opens its gates sporadically, typically to let those who have left (or their children) return. Victorique is one such child.
Victorique isn’t returning just to visit her ancestral hometown, however. Her mother Cordelia was exiled from the village after being accused of murder, and Victorique wants to prove her innocence. After being exiled, Cordelia took up the less than dignified job of being a dancer, where the Marquis de Blois found her and decided he wanted a child born with Cordelia’s unique bloodline.
Once he found out she was a convicted murderess, he drove her out and had the young Victorique raised in a tower. All of Victorique’s suffering, and her mother’s, traces back to that false accusation. To undo it and find the truth would not reverse her ill fortune, but at least it could mollify it.
The reason it takes Kujou all episode to find this out is because he discovers just how vulnerable Victorique’s past has made her. After playing a childish prank on her, he finds her reduced to tears, and his insensitive response inspires her to give him the silent treatment for hours. While it’s clear by the end of it that she was holding out for reasons of pride, her initial anger and pain is not childish at all.
Victorique has been alternatively abused and ignored by everyone who should have cared for her, so her margin of trust is basically non-existent. She feels not just embarrassed but betrayed by Kujou taking advantage of even a momentary weakness, and her vulnerability is genuine. Many series before Gosick have employed a childish, easily peeved heroine. Few make her emotional state quite so justified and sympathetic.
Sympathetic or not, she has her work cut out for her. Arriving at the village with an assorted group of fellow travelers, whose connections with the village are unclear, she’s greeted by a flock of armed townsfolk, who recognize her as the spitting image of Cordelia and are sufficiently superstitious to think her cursed for it. While she gets in past the gate, getting the villagers to help her in solving the crime is probably a lost cause.
Regardless, or rather because, of the struggles Victorique has ahead, Gosick has gotten much more interesting. The show has had crime solving on both micro- and macro-scales before, but this is the first puzzle in which the audience is emotionally invested. This is no longer a mystery to keep the plot going while we watch Victorique and Kujou interact. This is a mystery which goes to the heart of Victorique as a character.
It is also a mystery which shows the forethought and patience that Gosick has been hinting that it could do from the beginning, but which it hasn’t quite been able to pull off until now. Basically nothing is resolved in this episode, with even the theft Victorique solves at the beginning of the show not leading to an incarceration, and several other mysteries waiting further explication. And yes, that’s a good thing—it means the writers are beginning to craft a plot worthy of our attention.
You can watch the episode here.