That was the best episode of “Fam” for a while, because it was focused squarely on what the show is best at, by far – the machinations of Luscinia and the Ades Federation, lots of big space battles, and the ugly side of global power politics. When the series uses the wide-angle lens, in can be solidly good as it was this week – and, happily, it still looks darn good for the most part.
What all the above means is less focus on dialogue and on the nominal trio of lead characters, which is a very good thing. Luscinia has probably been the most interesting person in the cast from day one, especially in the context of the complex power structure inside his Federation. What looked obvious last week indeed turned out to be true – he was sacrificing the provincial fleets to test the Glacien defenses, and to soften them up. And indeed he succeeded at that – while the provincial fleets were wiped out, the main Ades fleets moved in afterwards and virtually destroyed the Winged Priestesses of Glacies.
But there’s more to Glacies than bishoujo pilots, as it turns out – and Glacies proves “no country for old men” doesn’t apply here. The ones pulling the strings are a bunch of bearded octogenarians who look suspiciously like Russian Orthodox priests, and they have a powerful contingency plan at their disposal – their very own Exile. Problem is, of course, that Luscinia has one too, and in Lilliana also the trigger – and she seems to have pretty well jumped the shark when it comes to morality (“My hands are already dirty, so screw it”). So the result is we’re set for some red-hot Exile-on-Exile action, with the Glacien ground-based Exile “fortress” technology against Ades’ air-based “WMD” technology. I don’t know who wins this, but lots more people are going to die – and a lot have died already. There’s more to the story, of course, with Ades possessing a “secret” weapon that can attack in high-enough altitudes to wipe out Sky Pirate bases, as the trio find out when they are forced to refuel at a bombed-out encampment. This means Kartoffel is in danger too, of course, and the trio are headed back there when they encounter Lilliana’s Exile en route to Glacies – which I suspect is going to lead to a tough choice about where to go next.
I sincerely hope the focus stays on the war and that wide-angle lens stays on the camera, because this show doesn’t do nearly so well with close-ups. The chessboard is the interesting part of “Fam”, both as reflects the nations and the people within them – especially the corridors of power within Ades. And we really haven’t done more than skim the surface of what Anatory-Disith – potentially the most interesting nation of all, especially for fans of the original series – is really like. With Glacies and Ades likely to be decimated pretty badly by their coming clash, it’s only a matter of time before Anatoray takes a more active role at the center of the story.