Home > Episode Reviews, Gosick > Gosick Episode 24 – Cheating Fate

Gosick Episode 24 – Cheating Fate

So, there are no mysteries to solve, the Occult Ministry is finally put to rout, and both our protagonists face mortal peril with their beloved on the other end of the world. This episode, even more than the last, is utterly unlike anything Gosick has done before. It reveals a hidden psychological depth to Cordelia’s relationship with Brian Roscoe (perhaps Brian and Roscoe?) and explains why last episode ends with Roscoe trying to kill Victorique.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly given how little regard I had for the crime-solving aspects of the show, the finale has some of the most emotionally effecting events yet, precisely because of this divergence. Also to my surprise, the show then tries for a happy ending that all but neuters what came before. I’m still trying to decide how much it ruins the story for me.

One thing the show doesn't hide is that Cordelia and the other Brian don't make it out of their raid alive. Of course, basically no one does

I suppose the cop-outs start when Victorique rather easily avoids being harmed by Roscoe; in their struggle he accidentally falls off a snow covered cliff. Then, after Victorique helps him back up, he completely abandons his murderous rage and tries to help her escape by ship, even as he slowly succumbs to his wounds. Who knew talking someone out of murder would be so easy.

I don’t want to be too hard on Gosick here: We eventually learn of Brian Roscoe’s backstory, as the twins were banished from the village of the gray wolves for having outsider blood in them. Their mother did nothing to stop their exile, so Roscoe became enthralled with Cordelia as much for her devotion as a mother, despite the violence involved behind Victorique’s birth, as by the fact she was a fellow exile. But that same motherly love filled him with jealousy; Cordelia always loved Victorique more than she did him.

Roscoe was always looking at Cordelia, but Cordelia was always looking at Victorique. While getting rid of Victorique wouldn't make Cordelia love him more, I can see why Roscoe would think it was Victorique's fault for being in the way

If that isn’t suitably tragic, Victorique’s mental state makes up for it. She saves him simply because she’s already lost her mother and, for now, Kujou, and she doesn’t want to lose anyone else. He dies all the same, and as he’s buried at sea, she’s left entirely bereft. She does nothing to hide when some passengers begin to suspect she’s the fugitive blond haired girl the government is searching for, and is only saved by the fact that her hair has gone white.

She’s pulled out of her melancholy by Kujou, first as she finds a horribly drawn sketch he put in the locket and then after she receives, through the efforts of Jupiter Roget, Kujou’s many letters he’s written from the war. She finds from his love, however distant, the strength to carry on, only wishing that she will see him again after it concludes.

No one notes the oddity of a young girl running around in a nun habit, probably because none of the staff in Japan making this show knows that it would seem odd. Still, the outfit covers her hair, which conveniently preserves the element of surprise

I’m not going to complain, at this point, about how the show moved World War II 15 years early, having it run from 1925-1929; I think the move was partially to make Kujou’s work in the Japanese army more sympathetic, as in this version of the war there don’t seem to be any war crimes a la the Rape of Nanking happening. (It’s not even clear if Japan attacked first or was attacked.)

But the show has been clear for the latter 2/3rds of its run that Kujou and Victorique would be separated by war, and they would not die together. What makes Kujou’s declaration that he wants to survive the war and return to Victorique’s side so compelling is that we the audience know it isn’t going to happen. Victorique’s whispered prayers for his safe return will have no effect. The show has always has tragic undertones, and that has given Victorique and Kujou’s relationship added potency, knowing that there’s is a love that will be cut short.

There's even, after Kujou is crushed under some rubble, an extended dreamlike sequence where Kujou drags himself across a barren desert without legs. The show does everything possible to signal that he's going to die, or even that he's died already

And then Kujou survives the war and comes home, to find Victorique waiting for him. She found him through the return address on his letters, and met with his family. He doesn’t even seem to have suffered serious injuries or psychological trauma, taking Victorique’s presence (and changed hair color) completely in stride.

And so, as the two of then walk hand in hand down a war-ravaged city, I’m left staring at the screen in shock, trying to balance my happiness at the their reunion—and I am happy, which says something how much I’ve come to care about these characters—with a sputtering cry of “They can’t do that!” You can’t announce a prophecy of a tragic end, then remind the audience of it at least once per story arc in a world where every other prophecy given has been accurate to a fault, only to chicken out at the last minute. And yet Gosick does just that.

There's another sort of dreamlike experience where the two, tattered clothing, transform into a bride and (lightly dressed) groom. A part of me wonders, since this interpretation has popped up for some other shows, if Gosick is trying to say that the two are actually meeting in the afterlife. If so, it's even more stupid than I though

Perhaps the writers (or writer, or the light novels) just couldn’t think of a way to have Kujou die and still make the ending properly cathartic or satisfying. (Although I could think of a couple options off the top of my head.) But as much as having Kujou and Victorique walk toward the future together just feels right, it’s something the entire narrative had established was wrong. And the final reversal makes much (though not all) of the dramatic tension feel like a joke in retrospect.

Series Review: I don’t honestly know what to say about Gosick that I haven’t already said several times before. It’s a poorly done mystery show put in a somewhat interesting quasi-historical setting which survives through the strong chemistry of the leads. Victorique and Kujou’s slowly deepening relationship manages to follow the basic tsundere track while still being well-executed and not overly drawn out. That part, at least, doesn’t come off as fake.

Grevil gets a shot at mild redemption, as he lets Roscoe and Victorique escape aboard the ship when the pair get flagged for investigation. I suppose he though it was time to let his hair down

The show probably would have been better to have some inklings of the Occult Ministry and de Blois’s machinations from the beginning, and not having several of his early schemes seem so arbitrary and pointless. The Monstre Charmant thing should have been introduced earlier too. But as much as the dramatic climax of the last story arc came as a completely surprise, it still carried plenty of weight.

But as much as I’ve wanted to like the show, and as much as I have a soft spot for well-done tsundere romances in general, I’m really not certain if I can say that Gosick is worth your time. I don’t mind having seen it, but I’ll never pick it up again. I doubt my heartstrings will be pulled as effectively as every foreshadowing of the couple’s tragic end gets an asterisk mentally added to it. If you’ve been watching the show the whole time and only have the last episode to go, then go ahead. But if you’re reading this wondering if this is a show you should watch … probably not, particularly after the spoilers I’ve just provided. I suppose it will depend on how much you like tsunderes.

The epilogue shows many of the characters, including the almost forgotten Ambrose. His is the most interesting, as he too has a dreamlike experience, seeing the mystical world of his ancestors giving way to the world of science. The victory of empirical fact over supernatural propaganda has often been a minor recurring theme, but it's presented with a certain sense of loss here. Again, this is a topic that probably should have gotten more deliberate attention during the show

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