Things progressed shockingly quickly in this episode, all things considered. An awful lot of things that hadn’t happened for 13 episodes finally did here, and it was a lot to take in – kind of a character development and plot overload for a show that has generally moved things along at a pretty leisurely pace.
The abstract conflict between Avril and Victorique escalated into a full-fledged shooting war this week, a kind of moe-off between the two of them that must have had viewers dazed. From Avril’s delighted screaming in the graveyard to Victorique’s reaction to being offered a raspberry sandwich (?) there were kawaii missiles exploding all over the landscape. If that weren’t enough, the two of them finally met face to face and that’s when the real heavy artillery was fired.
To begin with, Cecile – proving herself to be every bit the airhead sensei her character design portended, forced Victorique into attending class for some reason. She was seated in front of Avril and then, for whatever reason, Avril showed a nasty streak that seemed a little out of character. She mocked the trembling Victorique by calling her “Gray Wolf”, “Monster”, etc. – which understandably pissed Victorique off to no end. Unfortunately she overreacted by throwing her desk at Avril (believe it or not) and landing her in the infirmary. She was OK, but this exchange led to a serious run of unpleasantness between the two girls and Kujo – with Victorique refusing Kujo’s admonition to apologize and instead calling Avril a “farting newt” when the older girl tried to apologize to her. Rebuffed at every turn in attemping to set things right, Avril finally resorted to calling Victorique a “frilly witch” and decided on a competition to solve the Leviathan mystery, she and Kujo against the Gray Wolf – which is surely rifles against slingshots in an unfair fight.
Oh yes, that Leviathan mystery wasn’t forgotten. We had some interesting little tidbits – the village is full of hidden rooms where Protestants were sheltered in the old days, and mass graves of Protestant victims of state-sponsored violence. There were a group of Africans who lived in the village once, but were all wiped out in a plague in 1873. And Victorique opines that Leviathan is both 100% dead and a 100% fraud – turning a white rose into a blue as proof.
The other milestone this week was that Brian Roscoe finally interacted with the main cast – first Victorique, then Kujo – after hovering on the fringe of the story for 13 eps. Victorique has certainly linked him to the death of the Asian man (Roscoe’s fellow magician) in the clock tower, and she implies that she knows he’s connected to her mother as well. Their clock-tower meeting is interrupted by the arrival of a carpenter assessing whether it should be torn down, but he meets Kujo there later, one-on-one – at which point it seems Kujo has figured out Roscoe’s place in the narrative as well.
This was certainly one of the fastest-paced and densely packed episodes so far. I fount that exciting but a bit jarring, as was Avril’s verbal assault on Victorique. After never having even met to see the two of them engaged in full-on combat over Kujo was jarring as well. Everyone behaved indefensibly here to some extent, and a lot of feelings were singed pretty badly. The crux of the matter is that Avril has no chance to defeat Victorique for Kujo’s affections, and that’s going to become obvious even to her at some point – at which time it will be interesting to see where her story goes. Kujo was certainly overzealous in his demands that Victorique apologize and should have let Avril finish her confession about her blame in all of it, but there was obviously a build-up of frustration on his part at Victorique’s rude and abusive behavior. I don’t think she can be pardoned for that – it’s understandable, given her background and what she’s had to endure, but understandable is not excusable. I for one thought it was a good thing that Kujo finally stood up to her and called her out for being anti-social. It’s good for her in the long run.