Gosick Episode 17 – Rising Tide
There are a variety of ways Gosick could have progressed after reuniting Victorique and Kujou last episode, either wrapping up a major plot thread or setting up for future events. In fact, the show chose to do both, serving up a major emotional capstone while deepening the skullduggery on the parts of the various different factions and plotters. I’m now counting at least four sides in the great game directing Saubure’s internal affairs, and that’s not counting our protagonists.
Given the show’s tendency to burn through plot points rather than letting them develop, I’m not certain how much of that will get revealed (prematurely, in my opinion) before Kujou and Victorique make it back to the academy. But if I’m right, Gosick is beginning to set up for the long haul.
That’s not to say the episode is perfect. Albert de Blois seems remarkably unconcerned with keeping tabs on his daughter or capturing Roscoe, whom Victorique was supposed to lure here in the first place. When he finally meets Kujou, he gives the kid permission to take Victorique back to Saubure (the school is within his power anyway) but at no point does his taking Victorique out of the school make much sense.
Roscoe and Cordelia, by contrast, seem much more effective at executing their plans—even if their plans are at cross purposes. Roscoe successfully uses Victorique as a distraction to give Cordelia time to grab the item they came for (and taunts Victorique a little bit along the way). Yet Cordelia takes her time alone to pass a message to her daughter through Kujou, signaling that her intentions toward her daughter are much different than Roscoe’s.
However, they also failed at their ultimate goal: The box Roscoe hid away during the Great War was recently removed, probably by an agent of Saubure’s Science Ministry. Granted, the most likely possibility for their agent, the watchmaker Simon Hunt, was later killed attempting to debunk one of the magic tricks, but he passed it along before his death.
The death doesn’t have much time to be examined (although Victorique seems to have it all figured out already) as a timed device opened the floodgates around the convent, causing flooding and forcing the place to be evacuated. Given the emphasis that was placed on Hunt being a watchmaker, the implication is that he was responsible for that too.
With Hunt, the Science Ministry has reentered the fray, and de Blois and Roscoe hate them almost as much as they hate each other. With science on the rise, occult practitioners are being marginalized and small tribes and secret societies are eclipsed; without some ability to contain them, the fight between the Occult Ministry and the Gray Wolves will become an amusing sideshow. Hence why both Roscoe and de Blois want the box, and why both will stop at nothing to get it back from whoever took it.
Victorique and Kujou, at least for the moment, have more basic concerns, like escaping the rapidly flooding convent. Kujou, despite being rather headstrong at points, particularly shines this episode. He bravely stands up to de Blois in defense of Victorique, and later follows up his rescue of Victorique by conveying the depths of Cordelia’s affection for her.
Victorique, for her part, finally comes to realize that she has become someone capable of love. While I don’t think either Victorique or Kujou are quite mature enough to be thinking in romantic terms (Victorique because of her emotional blocks, Kujou because he’s dense in the classic way of male anime protagonists), Victorique does come to fully realize the degree to which Kujou has humanized her. His revelations about her mother only deepen her impressions.
The question is whether this change will be lasting, or conveniently forgotten the next time the show wants to emphasize Victorique’s tsundere traits. The perennial temptation for such shows is to conveniently forget character development when sticking to old formulas would be easier. While what happened in Lithuania hasn’t undone all of Victorique’s previous tragedy, it should do something toward mitigating it. And I’d like to see evidence of that in future episodes.
The next episode will probably resolve some of the lingering questions, particularly about Hunt’s death, on the train ride back to Saubure. But, as I’ve said before, I’d prefer if the show didn’t answer all of them. There’s plenty of ways the factions within Saubure can continue to dance around each other in the remaining third of the show. If the character development of this episode was long past due, the conspiracies have plenty of time to mature.
You can watch the episode here.