Fractale Episode 8 – Ungrateful Little Father
After eight episodes and plenty of episodes that did much to fill in its unique setting but little to entertain, Fractale is finally fun to watch. Not only is it finally starting to give more answers than questions, but it finally stops trying to tell three complete stories in an episode. Even though it basically ends on a cliffhanger, this is the first episode that has felt satisfying in terms of story.
Last episode ended with Clain mortally wounded by one of the residents of Xanadu, afraid of what Nessa could do to the Fractale system responsible for turning the city into a paradise. Grievous physical injury isn’t enough to keep someone down in this setting, though: Clain is basically back to normal at the beginning of this episode, albeit captive to one of the priests of Fractale, who claims to be Phryne’s father.
He wonders how intimate she’s gotten with Clain, basically drools over her, worrying that she may no longer be fit to be the key, and then holds Clain’s safety over her head to get her onto a medical bed with legs physically spread apart. Fortunately at that point, Nessa shows up and freaks out, shutting down the entire complex and letting Phryne escape.
Meanwhile, Clain encounters a real-life Nessa lookalike, who calls herself a Phryne. Clain quickly realizes that there’s more than one Phryne: the complex he’s in is full of equipment to create them, and then destroy them when they do something wrong or don’t appear to be right.
While all this is happening, the Granitzes are trying to rescue the two, in order to get back Nessa, who has stormed off to find them herself. They call on the aid of other branches of Lost Millennium, but only Dias’s group has any desire to help them (I knew they’d come up again).
It turns out Dias and co. see this as less of a rescue mission and more of an excuse to blow stuff up, but that causes enough chaos that the new reunited Clain, Nessa, and Phryne are able to make a break for it. Whether or not they succeed is left for the next episode.
Anyway, for the first time in the series, I actually enjoyed watching this episode, rather than feeling confused or cautiously optimistic. It feels like the seven episodes of setting and character introduction are finally starting to pay off.
And yet, I don’t sound very excited about this, do I? Even if the plot is finally interesting, that doesn’t make the social commentary any more interesting, or make me care about the characters. Fractale has been unremarkable for so long that when it finally starts to get good, I’m just left feeling hollow.
I’m not invested in these characters: other than Clain’s interest in artifacts of the past, the cast is thoroughly unremarkable. I don’t care about whether or not the world of Fractale will fall apart, because I don’t find it particularly compelling or plausible.
So I’m just watching for the explosions and the hope that it will all come together in the end. Fortunately, plenty of things blow up in this episode, and I leave this episode cautiously optimistic that there might be something worth watching at the end of all this.
You can watch this episode here.