That episode may have set a Letter Bee record for tears – and that’s saying something. Not just Lag but Sylvette were a veritable fountain this week. I don’t be begrudge it, though – it’s been a long time coming and it’s well-earned. But this ep didn’t let us off free and easy and settled of mind – there was darkness mixed in with all those heartwarming moments.
Though we had our reunion last week, this episode was when the reality that Gauche had returned really took. At Lag’s behest, Largo overrides Dr. Thunderland and allows Gauche to go home for one night. Before that, he asks to go on Lag’s easy delivery run, and we’re treated to one of the best scenes of the series as Lag nervously tries to impress Gauche with his Bee skills – disastrously, I might add. It was essential that Lag and Gauche have their moment to reconnect alone, and the writing played it perfectly – this was the culmination of everything Lag had been building towards for five years, and Lag’s acceptance clearly meant more than anything to him. Despite his nervous bumbling, Gauche offers it for free – and that’s when Lag feels Gauche is really back. They return home for dinner, and Aria and Niche have returned. They all eat soup (so pukey!) and Gauche even asks for seconds. But all is not as sweet and joyous as it seems.
First off, Roda is back – and she doesn’t look pleased. Garrad and Valentine are back too, meeting with the sinister head of Reverse. He puts a hit out on Guache, fearing that he’ll remember too much and say too much. Most unsettling, Thunderland tells Largo that Gauche will have regained access to all of the memories accessible by Lag – Gauche’s and Noir’s memories. And he certainly knows enough to fake his return to being Gauche, if he wanted. When Lag goes to wake Gauche in the morning, he’s no longer in his bed…
There was an element of this episode that reminded me of the Vietnam films of the 80’s like “Coming Home” – the veteran returning from war and trying to readjust to life at peace. There was an unsettling feel to the events of this episode, as if Gauche were somehow broken. Whether this is just a sort of PTSD as he gets his memories back or whether it truly is an act, and he’s still Noir at heart we don’t know – though the episode did a marvelous job of sowing doubt subtly and then leaving the audience hanging. My suspicion is that Gauche is neither himself nor Noir – that he’s somehow retained elements of both, though Lag managed to return his heart in some form.