With only two episodes remaining after this one and so many unanswered questions hanging over things, it seems very likely that this is the arc that will take us to the end of the series. If so, they’ve chosen to go out with what looks to be a good mystery.
In a sense, I think BONES is cheating here by using Bettenou in the way they are, because her ability effectively makes it impossible for the audience to know whether they’re seeing what they think they’re seeing. It’s fun, but a little irritating, as I’ve always believed a good mystery should be audience-solvable if you’re smart enough and work hard enough. As such I’m sure we’re going to see lots of subtle hints that will have looked obvious in hindsight, revealing which “reality” is reality”, as was the case with the prison episode. For now, we have a lot of potential culprits to sort through, starting with the 900-pound gorilla, Kaishou himself.
Among the other fascinating developments this week was seeing Inga in a totally different light. He was timid, nervous and hesitant at the prospect of Bettenou running around lose, and this is really the first time we’ve seen Inga on the defensive. Never has he looked more like a real child than when he was pleading with Shinjuro to stay away from Bettenou or begging Kazamori to let him watch anime instead of Kaishou’s panel appearance. Worse, it appears at least possible that Inga himself may not be invulnerable to Bettenou’s spell. At the very least Inga was definitely “off” when he reappeared after going missing while on the way to the hospital (a visit whose exact purpose is not elaborated) and running afoul of Bettenou – who can fly, apparently – in a dark alley. There was someone else in that alley too, who in a very brief and very distant shot looked almost like Hayami.
At the center all this is the paradox of Kaishou being in two places at once – Rie and his maid see him at home at the same time he’s supposedly appearing on a TV show with a group of his critics. When a bomb explodes just as “Kaishou” steps out to take a call, suspicious naturally falls on Kaishou himself, who turns up among the wounded, unconscious – especially given the recent success of the “cracker” group Full Circle at publicizing his secret dealings. The producer, Motoyama Minami (Ookawa Tooru), a bit of a conspiracy theorist, isn’t buying the police’s story that it was just a fire caused by the decrepit state of the studio. A member of the Diet, Kuramitsu Mine (Mariko Kouda) turns up as well, trying to get Kaishou’s testimony about the dangers or microwave technology that has “foreign nations” worried.
There seem to be no shortage of potential explanation for the bombing, and I don’t count “accident” among them. Kaishou is obviously a suspect, and if he were using Bettenou it would be easy to make others believe he was at the station and in danger when in reality he wasn’t. This seems to be Shinjuro’s working model, theorizing that Kaishou was using Bettenou’s voice on the air to create the deception – but I wonder if that’s his personal bias speaking. It seems too obvious, frankly. Rie certainly believes her father is innocent and while she initially recruits Shinjuro to help, he quickly sours on the notion of Kaishou’s innocence. Something has been brewing with Hayami for a while, and that sure looked like him in the alley. Could he have indeed turned against Kaishou and set him up? There’s the TV producer as well, and our old friend Yajima, the critic, has apparently released a tell-all book about Kaishou. And that newbie Diet member is a little cute and feels a little too unnecessary at this point not to have some as yet undisclosed connection to the conspiracy.
What appears reasonably certain is that only one of these two Kaishou’s is the real one – I’m betting on the one Rie and the maid think they saw at home being the illusion, since he hasn’t reappeared – and the other is part of a group hallucination inspired by Bettenou. I’m assuming the fact that Kazamori should, in theory, prove immune to Bettenou’s sorcery will prove vital in the resolution of the case. Inga’s situation is the most interesting wild-card, in that we don’t know his state of mind or even if he’s under his own control. The preview isn’t much help – to me it has “troll” written all over it, and my suspicion is that we’re going to see next week’s penultimate ep end in a vicious cliffhanger with one or more main characters appearing to be dead.