I enjoyed this episode quite a bit – in fact I’d rank it as the second best after episode three (which for me stands far above any other so far). The two episodes have some distinct commonalities, but the most important for me is that both have a weightiness and dignity that have otherwise been more lacking than my tastes would prefer. Too often, “Fam” has undercut the interesting and complex plot it’s laid out with a somewhat flippant and too buoyant (ironic, that one) tone. Series where the characters smile non-stop are never better for it, but it’s especially a problem when they ask you to take them seriously. Eden of the East is another show that suffered from this, to some extent.
It’s for those reasons among others that I enjoy episodes where Fam’s plucky cheerfulness is mercifully muted, and the characters are reminded of the life-and-death nature of the game they’ve chosen to play. As we continue to see Nazi allusions in the Ades Federation – Gloria Augusta! – this time the government
stealing confiscating the valuables and treasures from all those nasty traitors who aren’t pure Ades by blood – little Augusta Sara is realizing that having people killed on your watch weighs heavily on the conscience. With things on the South shore of the Grand Lake under control, Luscinia and his team are setting their sights on the North Shore and the mysterious and notoriously reclusive nation of Glacies – a country I suspect we’ll be hearing much, much more about in coming weeks.
Speaking of Glacies, LE fans everywhere felt their pulse quicken when Tatiana mentioned “Vincent”. That can only be Vincent Alzey, captain of Urbanus, overall badass, and friend to Alex Row (Alex, why did you have to die? Why???) and Sophia, who’s apparently been dispatched on some sort of negotiation with the Glacies government, if such a thing is even possible given that nation’s hostility to outsiders. As The Silvius turns for Glacies to see how things are going, Fam and Gisey are off to finish out their contract with a bang, planning to steal eight Ades ships instead of just the one they need to make their quota. This segment was an improvement, too, as it served as a reminder that not everyone in the Ades Fleet is an idiot and sometimes caution is better than genki enthusiasm.
This time it was Gisey – who was also homesick and worried about her family – who felt something was wrong with Fam’s plan to steal the eight ships confiscated from conquered nations being transported to Ades. It seems too easy – though Fam has no hesitations, and neither do Atamora and the rest of the air pirates, independently having decided to target the same ships. Everyone is walking (well, flying) into a trap (if only they’d had Admiral Ackbar on their side), with the Ades Third Fleet waiting for them. These are real Ades ships under a real commander, too, and not the rubes and simpletons Fam has been picking off ships from. It’s good to see Gisey’s caution proved right, and Fam’s thoughtless enthusiasm shown to be reckless and dangerous for a change – frankly, she’s been getting off a little too easy as her skills and strategic ability are no match for her eagerness. And it’s also nice to see a focus on a character who’s actually feeling a sense of responsibility to their family and not just a lust for adventure. But there’s one last reminder that even Gisey may be in over her head, as the careless girls are followed all the way back to The Silvius by the Ades First Fleet (also a part of Luscinia’s plan from the start, no doubt) which puts Tatiana in an extremely difficult and perilous position given that they’re hosting the Turan “Government in Exile”.