Home > Episode Reviews, Gosick > Gosick Episode 21 – Seeing Double

Gosick Episode 21 – Seeing Double

I once puzzled about why Gosick was set in a fictional country, but given how important the particular actions of the invented royal family has been, I suppose that serves as an explanation in itself. Much like the Leviathan arc before it (which has integral ties to this plot line), this mystery reveals the dark secret history of Saubure—and gives Victorique another bargaining chip against her oppressors.

This story line thus advances the plot, but it does leave a few plot holes in need of solving, most particularly how Victorique is playing a double game against her father and getting away with it. Despite solving the basic mystery of how the Queen’s severed head jumped locations, Victorique plays dumb about the culprit of the murder and his motivation. Particularly since that’s the information de Blois would most want, I’m surprised he lets her get away with it.

Whenever plays occur in anime, they tend to be horribly written expository works, made to summarize a story rather than dramatize it. Despite this, Sophie and the rest of the audience loves it, acting like kids watching a Hero Show

Victorique explains the basic situation as the play of Coco Rose tells the sanitized version. Coco supposedly lost a child at birth; this was when she really died, back in1900. Nicole Laroux was co-opted to impersonate her, living in a country house to minimize contact and allay suspicion. Despite this, the personality change was evident, leading outside observers to think that Coco was simply under too much pressure from court life.

When visitors from her home country of France came to visit her, those responsible for the cover-up realized they would be exposed, and killed Nicole before the meeting could take place. To confuse the issue (and to keep a particularly observant visitor from noticing any differences), they removed her head, and had the real queen’s head (preserved for just such eventualities) appear elsewhere. That threw suspicion off otherwise obvious details as to whom the murderer must be.

The killer got the head out of the Queen's/Nicole's chambers by smuggling it in his crown—which is rather disturbing when you think about it

In spite of knowing the details of this, and despite there being a few personalities that must have known about the change, Victorique hides the fact that the killer was the king, aided by the quick-thinking Jupiter Roget. Even more inexplicably, her father accepts this, and lets her return to the academy. Perhaps with the story in place he thinks he has enough evidence to blackmail the king or Roget as needed.

Victorique, however, keeps the true blackmail evidence, passing along to her mother a note revealing that Coco’s child was the son of Leviathan, and that the King killed her in a jealous rage when he realized the baby wasn’t his. It was heavily implied during the Leviathan arc that the Queen had feelings for the alchemist, so I’m happy to see that element get some justice.

I'm a bit surprised, given all the effort Roget took to preserve the corpse, that he didn't think to check her clothes for evidence. The scrap of paper where Coco admits her infidelity is in her locket

Thus, Victorique now has two major levers against Roget, and Roget, from a conversation after the play, knows it. There’s little indication on how Victorique is going to leverage this information, however, and little indication that she even will. She, like her father, is curiously content with letting things return to the status quo. Nor is intent on seeing justice served regarding the murders, even though King Rupert is completely unrepentant.

For that matter, I’m also annoyed that Victorique deduced that the Queen survived the original murder attempt, with her maid, who often served as her body double, getting axed instead. (Coco then escaped with her child and lived a life in the countryside.) While it furthers the motif of “fun things we can do with body doubles,” it’s a bit implausible for the king to have mistaken his wife for his wife’s maid. It also turns Coco from a tragic victim of jealousy to a woman who got two other people—one a close friend—killed for the sake of a illicit love affair.

The only thing that could make Coco living more annoying? The extraordinary convenience of having her and her son beg a ride from Victorique and Kujou as a carriage takes them home. Note to all would-be writers: avoid coincidences so egregious it makes the audience want to tear out hair

The status quo is disrupted in one respect: Brian Roscoe is revealed to be twins, who are pretending to be one person. I’m not certain if there’s a greater narrative purpose to this save providing an explanation for his teleporation act last episode (which by itself had little to no narrative purpose save to set up for the reveal this episode, making such thinking rather circular). It does continue the body double theme, and might explain the differences in personality that Roscoe has exhibited, with one Roscoe being more hostile than the other. I really hope that it’s not just a gimmick Gosick tossed in to be clever.

Putting aside the somewhat disappointing resolution to the mystery, the faltering attempts at skullduggery and politicking, and the sense the show is introducing gimmicks for their own sake, the main problem with this episode is how little development there is Victorique and Kujou. Because the entire episode is devoted to Victorique explaining one aspect of the murder after another, it’s only at the end that a solitary line from Victorique expresses how their relationship has changed.

My reference to The Prestige last review seems a bit prescient. I don't have the exact dates of publication for the light novels handy, but it's possible Gosick stole the idea outright

Granted, it’s an important change: Victorique is now more accepting of her life at the academy as she realizes that her desire for interesting puzzles puts Kujou in harm’s way. But this is one of the few story arcs where Kujou hasn’t been in harm’s way, so even that seems forced. Gosick has spent a lot of time trying to be two things at once. I’m hoping for it, in its final episodes, to focus on what matters.

You can watch the episode here.

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