Home > Episode Reviews, Gosick > Gosick Episode 10 – Turning Things Around

Gosick Episode 10 – Turning Things Around

Gosick’s mysteries have tended to come in two ways. The first are those with incredibly obvious solutions, such that it takes idiots like Kujo and Grevil not to understand them. The second are incredibly convoluted ones, that take a seemingly superhuman genius like Victorique to put together. Neither type is particularly interesting in itself.

Gosick seems increasingly aware of this, which is why recent episodes have done more and more to shift the emphasis away from the puzzles and toward Victorique and Kujo’s maturing relationship. This episode goes further: for this entire arc, the mystery is inverted. We know that the proprietors at Jiantan are up to something; Kujo, with Victorique’s help, just needs to prove it.

The show thus abandons the who-done-it plots for something completely different. And in fact, it works marvelously well. The way in which they catch the criminals is clever, makes sense, and affords some welcome element of surprise. It’s not an L tracking down a Kira, but it does its job, which is more than we can say about the previous mysteries. And just about everything else in this episode is also an improvement on what has come before.

.

One "mystery" the show keeps from the Kujo and the other characters is what was happening to the girls, but since the audience can see the reality behind Anastasia's rantings, we know that they are being auctioned off as slaves

Before I go too far, I should point out that there are a few flaws in the episode. Most importantly, the cliffhanger of last episode resolves in the most anticlimactic and bizarre way possible. Kujo’s “kidnapper” was the girl in the box, Anastasia, who is obviously traumatized and locked on to Kujo as the one person she could trust.

Aside from being a dramatic letdown, the audience is left wondering how Anastasia escaped from the basement, where she got the money to hire a carriage, how she talked said carriage into allowing a snatch and grab, and how a starved girl like her could grab Kujo off the street. It’s necessary to bring Kujo and Anastasia together for the plot to proceed, but one would hope it wouldn’t happen in such a cheap manner.

Another problem is that the woman accompanying the Jiantan's owner happens to be a martial artist, which is remarkably anachronistic. It doesn't matter much to the story either

Putting that aside, Anastasia’s testimony gives Grevil and the police force additional reason to be suspicious. When Kujo talks the beggar boy Luigi—who demonstrated his photographic memory last episode—into identifying the missing girls who entered the store and never left, that gives Grevil enough reason to turn to Victorique and plot how to catch the kidnapping and slavery ring in the act.

This episode is filled with interesting revelations about Grevil, including that he has his hairstyle, not out of a bizarre sense of fashion, but because Victorique ordered him to as payment for helping him solve crimes. We also discover he is not incompetent at brawling, and we are introduced to a woman who may or may not be a romantic interest for him. There’s even some hints dropped about his own family issues. This episode goes a long way to humanize a man who has seemed alternatively a fop, a glory-hound, and an ass.

Ordinarily the urchin's testimony would likely get ignored. When he can identify the exact date and time particular girls disappeared, he gets a bit more attention (and earns himself an adoption)

This is important, because the final moments of the episode casts him in a very bad light. Victorique commonly suffers from nightmares of her time locked in the family tower, and one of them is Grevil taunting her as someone who doesn’t (and can’t) know what it means to love. If this arc does some work to give Grevil’s actions more context, it does so even more with Victorique.

Victorique has always endured abuse over her mother and her bloodline as a “grey wolf”—Grevil even makes it a point to tie in his taunts (as he has in previous episodes) around that label. That’s one of the reasons why proving her mother’s innocence was so important to her. But it also puts another spin on Victorique’s struggle to interact with Kujo. It’s not just that she’s had little chance to learn how to trust, but that she’s been told over and over again that it’s impossible for her. And that sort of conditioning isn’t broken overnight.

It's hard to watch this scene and not get really mad at Grevil—and very sympathetic toward Victorique. Lesser shows would rely on Victorique's cuteness to excuse her behavior; this one offers far more compelling reasons

It’s that which brings me back each week to watch the show. Kujo and Victorique’s relationship continues to be just unique enough, and her back story effective enough at pulling on the heartstrings, to have kept my interest even when the mystery elements were lacking. Now, as the show begins to present its crime-solving in a manner that actually works, it keeps up and even improves upon the relational elements of the show.

Even more impressive: What I thought was going to be least engaging mystery arc of Gosick wound up being the most satisfying. By abandoning the pretense that the show was fooling the audience by its puzzles, it gave itself the freedom to be clever without having to deceive the audience. And while Gosick has been bad at the latter, it’s done a decent job at the former. For the first time I’m convinced that Gosick can do two things well at the same time.

Oddly enough, despite the fact this is the first arc without a murder, these are the least sympathetic criminals the show has produced. There isn't any overt aristocrat bashing, but the remorseless greed of the auctioneers and the callous indifference of the buyers makes their downfall all the more welcome

So despite any minor complaints I might have, for me this is the most enjoyable episode of Gosick so far. We get more character development, a mystery that neither patronizes nor confuses its audience, and even a few more hints about the metaplot and the secretive Brian Roscoe. It seems the show has finally hit its stride. Now to see if it can keep this up.

You can watch the episode here.

Grevil's lady friend Jacqueline seems like a really nice, down-to-earth, good-with-kids sort of person. Who knows what she sees in him

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: