Home > Episode Reviews, Gosick > Gosick Episode 11 – A Well-Rounded Cad

Gosick Episode 11 – A Well-Rounded Cad

Last episode—the last two episodes, in fact—gave us several hints that Grevil was a far more complicated character than his initial appearances would suggest. That all breaks out in the open this episode, as a surprise visit by Jacqueline to the academy leads to an encounter between her and Victorique. With Kujo in attendance, Jacqueline recounts the story of how she got in trouble with the law once, a story Victorique knows well.

Once again, there is an easy-to-solve mystery presented, and once again it serves as plot accelerator rather than as an interesting plot in itself. What is far more important is how the retelling of that story serves as a backdrop for Grevil’s own place in the narrative and his messy interactions with Victorique. The show goes a long way to humanize him, and then stops at just the right moment.

Jacqueline acts like a miniature whirlwind, with her maid, and everyone else, barely keeping up. Her freedom is supported by her wealth and social status, which Grevil made sure she achieved

The short version is that Jacqueline was suspected of murdering someone, and although there was not nearly enough evidence to convict her, the black cloud surrounding the incident threatened her marriage prospects and future happiness. Grevil then turned to Victorique for the first time, then worked behind the scenes to force the real killer to confess.

The usual take on Grevil, one that was particularly emphasized by some of his comments on women in early episodes, was that he was a randy fop who used Victorique’s intelligence to win for himself prestige, favors, and the attentions of lovely ladies. Here, he acts in secret to ensure the woman he clearly loves can marry another man. Jacqueline still has no clue what happened.

Merely knowing that Jacqueline is innocent makes the identity of the real killer obvious, but that doesn't keep Gosick from trying to keep it cryptic. As usual, it fails

It also puts his remarks about Victorique not knowing what it means to love in a greater context. Victorique—the Victorique of several years ago, confined to a tower and separated from human contact—didn’t know what it meant to love, and extracted what turned out to be a petty triffle from Grevil in payment for her services. And yet, Grevil too was very vulnerable, even dependent, in front of Victorique at that time, which explains, but does not excuse, his abuse as a form of compensation.

Jacqueline is Grevil’s only weakness; the mere prospect of her meeting Victorique, who knows the truth of Jacqueline’s exoneration and could transform her relationship with Grevil with a few choice words, sends him into a panic. Precisely because he loves Jacqueline and wants the best for her, he wants to keep her oblivious about his feelings; who knows what the flighty and impulsive woman would do if she found out?

The Victorique of the tower seems like a living corpse. Grevil's past comments about her not knowing what it meant to love were harsh, but more accurate than not

But it’s important to note that while this episode explains why Grevil is the way he is, it doesn’t change him. Neither he nor Victorique nor Jacqueline learn anything this episode they didn’t already know; only Kujo (as the proxy for the audience) does. And without new knowledge, there is no reason for anyone to change.

So, when Grevil meets with Victorique after Jacqueline and Kujo have left, he immediately trots out his “You don’t/can’t/will never know what it means to love” routine. It’s the only way he can reassert control over their relationship after having been in such a vulnerable state. By making Victorique out to be a broken person, he does in fact break her, thus ensuring he can manipulate her later.

Grevil repeating his comments, however, makes him out to be even more cruel than we thought he was the first time. He's obviously crushing her spirit, and he doesn't care

Of course, Victorique has learned, or at least is learning, what it means to love. That’s what everything she’s been doing with Kujo has given to her. But Grevil doesn’t realize that, or—more likely—the fact doesn’t matter to him. Far too much hinges on keeping Victorique in line, and that means she needs to kept in her place, even if his words jeopardize all the progress she’s made with Kujo.

And that action, as much as the audience might find it appalling, makes sense for his character. We have a much better idea now why Grevil does what he does, but precisely for that reason we know that he won’t just stop doing what he does simply because the audience is aware of it all. Some stories foolishly think that by explaining a character’s actions, that in itself makes him more likely to moderate them. Gosick avoids that trap.

Grevil also has no small amount of pressure coming from his father to keep Victorique ready for future use. In fact, that task is the only reason his father seems to value him, which must be even more galling

Instead, what we have is a better picture of Grevil as he is. We now know what makes him tick, why he can think of himself as an honorable man despite his actions, and why he will continue to oppress Victorique. His character is explained. But being a well-defined jerk doesn’t make him any less of a jerk. Nor should it.

You can watch the episode here.

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