Home > Episode Reviews, Gosick > Gosick Episode 20 – Watson’s Role

Gosick Episode 20 – Watson’s Role

Well, it was a good thing I admitted I didn’t have a clue where Gosick would be heading this episode, because what I would have guessed was wrong. Even what few comments I did make didn’t pan out, as Victorique was summoned not to sleuth out a crime about to occur, but one that happened long ago. Shortly before World War I the exiled queen Coco Rose was murdered under extremely suspicious circumstances, and for some reason the Occult Ministry wants the crime solved now.

Probably, given their interest, de Blois thinks his nemesis Jupiter Roget and the Science Ministry had something to do with it, and is looking for his daughter to provide the proof. It’s for that purpose that he drags her into the city, to view all the evidence he can muster. This is Victorique’s chance to prove her worth, or show that she’s not worth the trouble of keeping around. On a meta-level, this is also the challenge facing Kujou—to prove, twenty episodes in, that he has a role to play.

Coco Rose was finally invited back to the palace, only for her headless corpse to be found soon after

Of course, Kujou has always had a role as a humanizing element for Victorique, as a plot catalyst, and even as a love interest. But aside from occasionally reporting stray details to Victorique, he’s never had much of a role in solving mysteries. He exists as a sounding board, the stand-in for the audience as the writer, through Victorique, gives the solution.

That’s not the case this time around. This time, Victorique needs Kujou in a way we’ve never seen before. Trapped in a room with a limited supply of out of date evidence, she realizes she can’t figure out the truth of the murder without more information (fragments of chaos, she calls it). Kujou, despite not consulting with her, suspects this as well, and acts on his own to gather up the data.

... while miles away, her head appeared out of nowhere in her country house, then spontaneously combusted. Jupiter Roget's presence was likely not a coincidence

In this case, Kujou notices from a portrait that a former actress at the opera house, Nicole Leroux, bore an uncanny resemblance to the late queen. In fact, this was a major reason for her popularity, which is why even thought she went missing in 1900, locals still remember her. But as she disappeared years before the murder, no one thought to connect the two events.

Kujou does, however, and hunts down witness testimony wherever he can find it. Most interestingly, he finds that although some witnesses report seeing her after her disappearance from the stage, Nicole’s grave is dated at 1900. That, combined with an odd recruitment drive right before her disappearance, signals that a very deliberate operation and coverup took place.

Kujou's examinations leads him to a tombstone with an obviously falsified date. There are a limited number of reasons for such a ruse—none of them particularly pleasant

Obviously, it’s refreshing to see Kujou work for the evidence he collects, rather than stumble upon it randomly whenever the writers are feeling lazy. It shows that his time with Victorique hasn’t been completely wasted, and he is beginning to pick up suspicious details and follow through with investigation. (Kujou admits that the reason he thought to pursue this particular trail of evidence was because the story was one that Victorique would find “interesting;” Victorique’s interests by this time are well known.)

On another level, it’s another step toward Kujou and Victorique becoming partners rather than servant and master. The last few episodes have done wonders for fostering and maturing their relationship, and thankfully the show hasn’t backtracked on these developments in the slightest as a stalling technique or to preserve the tsundere antics. But now Kujou has gone from being an emotional and physical support for Victorique to being a professional one too. Even separated, they still form an effective team.

When Victorique is not immediately successful, de Blois's occult minions resort to a ritual to "help" her along. Victorique is appropriately contemptous, but that doesn't make it pleasant for her

Also running around is Roscoe and Cordelia, and the former in particular plays an active role in getting Kujou and his new information to Victorique. He also engages in a considerable amount of professional magic—weather effects, seeming teleportation, etc.—in ground he would have had trouble prepping in advance or unnoticed. I’m not troubled by the lack of explanation (that should come later), but for him to take the risk of revealing himself to the Occult Ministry in the first place. As far as I can tell, his stage show was completely unnecessary to help either Victorique or Kujou.

I’m nitpicking again, and the fact that this is best criticism I can make should hint at how well the episode works. Of course, it works by leaving the actual explanation of the crime (and more important, the reason why de Blois wants the crime explained right now) for next time, meaning any outlandish motives or solutions weren’t around to strain credulity here. Given Gosick’s track record with mysteries, I’m not completely confident that that I won’t be disappointed with the  resolution—but I’m more confident that even if I am, it won’t much matter.

If The Prestige taught me anything, it's that it's easy to fake teleportation with the help of a good double (and that Nikola Tesla was awesome). The wind tricks? A bit harder

What matters, as always, is Victorique and Kujou. While theirs has always been an unequal partnership—whether in terms of in-story elements such as intelligence and role or meta-plot elements such as character development and audience appeal—now Kujou is finally being given a chance to be more than a plucky sidekick. It’s an opportunity he doesn’t waste.

You can watch the episode here.

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