Gosick – 2

Gosick picks up right where it left off, literally and figuratively, with another strong episode that falls short of true excellence but undeniably delivers the goods.

The entire episode this weeks takes place on board the “Queen Berry”, the ship Victorique and Kazuya boarded at the end of the premiere for the “running of the hares” evening. There are elements of the Marie Celeste and multiple other ghost ship stories in this one, but here we get an interesting and rather grisly back story involving a bunch of children who murdered each other in some sort of bizarre social experiment years earlier – they were the hares, in fact. The story is that they lure the living onto the boat every ten years and re-sink it as their revenge.

Best laugh of 2011 so far

While there are certainly some holes in the story – not least of which is why Maurice, the old gent involved in the cleanup of the original experiment, would board the boat – and some of the clues were a little easy to decipher, the mystery element was still more interesting than in the first week. But really, the mystery is second fiddle in this series – at least for me – to the interaction between Kazuya and Victorique. Indeed, weren’t most of Doyle’s readers more interested in Holmes and Watson than the mysteries they solved? These two remain a joy to watch. Victorique’s fake laughing was one of my favorite moments of the season – she’s so socially inept in spite of her keen intellect. As for Kazuya, he’s a perfect Watson, but in this case we also have the added element of gender politics. He’s the third son of an imperial soldier and full of ideas that seem quaint even in 1924, but while he doesn’t back down from Victorique those ideas make him seem very serious about protecting here – something she doesn’t quite understand due to her lack of experience in human behavior. They make a wonderful team even after just two episodes.

What holds the series back a little is that the plotting seems rather ordinary at this point. If you’re going to build a series around solving mysteries you need to have a real sense of elegance to their structure, and the solving of the riddles needs to be precise and inspirational. So far, what we’re getting is more “Scooby Doo” than Sherlock Holmes in that regard. That’s not going to stop be from enjoying the series as long as I get my weekly Victorique and Kazuya and their relationship develops as I expect it to. But if Gosick wants to make the jump to the next level and really rank as an elite series, that’s the element that will need to improve.

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