Home > Episode Reviews, Gosick > Gosick Episode 14 – A Few Tricks Left Up the Sleeve

Gosick Episode 14 – A Few Tricks Left Up the Sleeve

Well, maybe I need to take in each mystery arc in full before passing judgment on it. I wasn’t very enthusiastic about how the mystery surrounding the alchemist Leviathan was introduced, and felt that the return to the mystery format was detracting from the character drama, that is, the real reason to watch Gosick. Both these issues are addressed (although not quite resolved) this time around.

For starters, we discover that Leviathan’s post-mortem murders haven’t conveniently just started now; there have been sporadic deaths in the clock tower ever since he first died/disappeared, although the victims are always foreigners or strangers to the academy. We also learn that Wang, the most recent victim, came to the clock tower inspired by the film, so the timing with that is less suspicious.

Grevil warns Kujou off the investigation, saying there are decades worth of state secrets on the academy grounds that should stay buried. I think the animators wanted to make his hair a literal beehive at least once

There’s also a greater attempt to pull in foreshadowing, including possibly for events that fall outside the current arc. Thanks to an encounter with a talkative groundskeeper, Kujou learns of some African refugees who once settled in Saubure, hears a few ghost stories, and is taught about the plight of Protestants during the Reformation, centuries prior—and I doubt all these factors will be utilized with the current plotline. I certainly hope they won’t: If Gosick can get into the habit of introducing its clues in a progressive manner, such that a revelation here only gains significance two or three mysteries down the line, that would go a long way to making them more involving to the audience.

The greatest moment of foreshadowing, however, comes with the direct introduction of Brian Roscoe. Apparently looking for Victorique, he finds her in the clock tower and the two exchange a very cryptic, yet very loaded conversation.

Roscoe has seemed mysterious before, but never truly malicious. Is his arrogance here a feint?

Although we’ve had every indication that Roscoe and Victorique’s mother Cordelia are working together, Roscoe is, shall we say, less that cordial. Taking a page from Grevil’s playbook, he calls Victorique a tool who grew up without the experience of love. Only a chance interruption keeps him for explicating what he means, but his entire manner is sinister. Roscoe and even Cordelia herself might not be the saviors Victorique is looking for.

Victorique’s other relations take a few hits this episode: Cecile catches her outside and decides to drag her to class. In addition to the unwanted attention, she also takes some quiet teasing from (very jealous) Avril. When the latter crosses a line and starts not-so-playfully calling her a demon-spirit, Victorique snaps in a fit of rage.

That desk is bigger than Victorique and possibly heavier too. One would think Kujou would be curious as to what made her that angry

In addition to further worsening her reputation among her fellow students, it also puts her at odds with Kujou, who is far more intolerant of her rude behavior toward other people than when she directs such behavior at him. As neither Victorique nor Avril explain the context for the conflict, he thinks she’s just being her stubborn self, and constantly browbeats her for it throughout the day.

Of course, Victorique is being stubborn, but in her normal way of being completely unwilling to express her feelings. Only when alone do her feelings pour out, as if someone turned on a spigot. She’s very good at hiding her weakness—but she is also very weak.

However angry she was, Victorique is easily distracted when Kujou offers sweets as amends. It might be better if she were just stubborn enough to insist on real reconciliation instead

By this point, however, we’ve seen this dynamic happen several times over, and each time it’s ultimately Kujou who turns around, shows some sensitivity, and tries to make amends with some sugary confection. That happens this episode too. But this is beginning to become old hat. Now that the dynamics of their relationship has been clearly established, Victorique and Kujou need to start making some concrete steps to get beyond their current patterns. A never-ending cycle of the same broken relationship dynamics might be realistic in the sense that it happens to lots of people, but it doesn’t make for satisfying drama.

Much of that depends on Victorique; she’s far less honest about her feelings (or about anything) than Kujou and thus can’t tell him what she wants and needs to feel safe enough to tell him what she wants and needs. Nor can she acknowledge him or give him credit when he does things right, which is why the breakthrough of a couple episodes ago was so important. Now it seems less of a breakthrough and more of a random shot in the dark.

Avril and Victorique are oddly similar in their latent feelings of inferiority. It's one of the things that makes them act so stupid

All that is to say that while the return to the relational focus in this episode is an improvement, it’s not a cure-all. The same two-step between Victorique and Kujou is getting a little tired; while progress doesn’t have to be quick (we have another 10 episodes left) it does have to be present.

Next time will wrap up the Leviathan arc, so we’ll get to see how many of the plot hints (and which ones) were meant for this time around and which will prove relevant later. I hope for all our sakes that the writers will hold back some. But just as they’ve been too open with plot hooks, they’ve been a bit too stingy with character growth. Maybe the catalyst of Brian Roscoe will help provide some.

Kujou and Roscoe meet in the clock tower in the episode's final moments. I doubt anything earth-shattering will come of their conversation, but it will at least be a start

You can watch the episode here.

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