Tegami Bachi Reverse – 21

All the cards are pretty much on the table after this episode. Lawrence has revealed his true nature, the true intentions of Reverse are exposed, and Gauche is forced to choose a side once and for all.

I can’t say I found much of what happened in this episode surprising, but it was still effective and had its impact on the audience. We’ve been seeing the set-up for this morally ambiguous battle between the Amberground Government and Reverse coming for pretty much the entire second season, and by this point the sins of the government have pretty much been exposed. So it had to happen sooner or later – we had to see the explicit nature of the dark side motivating Lawrence and Reverse. And it’s pretty dark – he plans to use the hearts of those who could not become spirit – much stronger than a normal human heart – in a kind of mass sacrifice to strengthen the Cabernet and allow it to destroy the Amberground sun. To this end he has Noir free the two surviving brothers of the three who survived the airship crash – the gatekeepers, kept as prisoners by the government for their heart-sharing powers. They’re the ones who tip Noir off to Lawrence’s real plan.

Of immediate import is the dilemma this sets up for Noir, who seems to have joined Reverse primarily out of compassion for those who could not become spirit, especially Roda. Whatever the state of his heart he obviously can’t continue to work for them in this light, and he confronts Lawrence – who gives him a bout of maniacal laughter as he expounds on his plans and then pulls a gun on Noir, who escapes by crashing through a window and diving over a cliff and into the river below.

If Noir’s moral dilemma has been resolved, Lag, Connor and Zazie seem to be resolute now in their plan to destroy the Cabernet. Gus tracks it down, and they determine that it’s headed for the capitol. As they race off to try and cut if off, Aria – subbing for Largo, away on a mysterious business trip – discovers the key to the Gatekeepers’ cages missing.

So what are we left with here, as we approach the end of all things? Seems like there’s really nobody to root for as things stand – our boy heroes are obviously pure of heart, but their cause and the one opposing both appear to be morally repugnant (again, I see similarities to Fractale here). We still don’t know the source of Lawrence’s hatred for the government specifically but it appears not to be altruistic – if he’s not one who could not become spirit himself (he has the scars and eyes to prove something isn’t normal about him) he has a specific and very personal reason to hate the government. Surely, Noir will come over to Hive’s side now – indeed, we see him with Sylvette in the preview – but to what end, ultimately? The government’s system, like Fractale, appears to be built on a foundation of lies and suffering. To what end are Lag and the others fighting, whether Noir is with them or not? Is Lag representative of some kind of “third way” – a morally true and innocent island in the center of all this evil, with the power to transform the world? The Maka – remember it? – certainly thought so.  We’re surely going to learn over the next few weeks just what it meant.

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