The most chill coup in history seems finally to be upon us.
There’s a funny, Matrix-like quality to ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka, almost as if the events are moving in slow-motion. It’s like someone fires a gun and everyone turns and stares as the bullet slowly burrows its way through the air towards its intended target (in this case Nino), but no one actually moves or does anything but talk about it in a slightly bemused way, smoke cigarettes and fantasize about sandwich bread. To say I’ve never seen a political thriller quite like it would not be an exaggeration – though perhaps the use of the word “thriller” would.
For all that, I do like this show an awful lot – especially as its finally embraced the heart-driven side of the story in the past few episodes. But that precedent does lend the series a somewhat disjointed feeling now that stuff is actually happening, and almost quickly too. Again there’s that disjointed sense – as if the characters seem to be moving at a different speed than the plot. Shouldn’t everyone be a bit more, I don’t know… worked up? About what’s going on here?
What is going on here? Well, our first trip to Furawau for one thing, and it seems to be the epicentre of everything that’s taking place in ACCA. It’s the economic opposite of Pranetta, a land rich in resources (namely oil – it provides 90% of Douwa’s supply). There’s a clear parallel with the Middle East here, with a huge gap between the oil-rich Gulf States like Dubai and Qatar and the poorer countries without oil. Furawau is a land full of flowers and smiles, but to Jean the smiles seem painted on after the genuine good nature of the people of Pranetta.
Art is imitating life here, as oil is really at the heart of this whole conspiracy. Furawau may be comparatively wealthy but they still, in effect, had their oil stolen from them when they were annexed by Douwa – they weren’t given a choice in the matter. As the old District Chief in Pranetta mused to Jean, would the elite in Furawau really be satisfied with that arrangement? There’s no question Furawau supports the coup – hell, they’re (in the person of Chief Officer Lilium) basically behind it. But his plans run much deeper than saving ACCA from being dissolved.
If we’re to take the series at face value, Lilium’s (his brothers seem to run everything in Furawau) plan is pretty straightforward – to install Jean as a puppet leader and through controlling him, exert control over all of Douwa. I suspect Jean would not be the pushover than Lilium suspects, but that’s for a later time. For now there remains one huge unanswered question – what hold does Lilium have over Grossular to make him bend the knee? Sure, being in control of 90% of the oil gives Furawau great power and influence – but this clearly runs deeper than that.
I think it’s probably safe to assume the disturbing events in Furawau were a surprise to the Lilium brothers – after all, if Jean is assassinated their plan rather loses its focal point. But the situation with the royal family is complicated – Jean’s aunt is taking her last shot with this assassination attempt (after it fails, the would-be assassins kill themselves), and Prince Schwan will be in no mood to voluntarily cede the throne. As Schwan struggles to keep his own people in line, the assassins take their shot – literally – at Jean. But Nino intervenes (in slow motion) and takes two bullets for him. This, I think, will have disturbed Jean more than anything else – that anyone (never mind a friend) would have to perform such an act on his behalf.
Nino will survive, it seems, but Jean’s resolve has clearly been hardened by the trauma. I believe him when he says he doesn’t care whether he sits on the throne himself or not (I suspect he’d prefer not to) but he seems to realize he more or less has to now. Does Jean suspect that it was Schwan’s assassins rather than his aunt’s who’ve come after he and Lotta? Either way he’s made his decision. But I must say the entire scene where the assembled ACCA staff discussed the coup (Warbler is the lone dissenter) was one of the most surreal examples of this series’ odd personality yet. This is a coup, for crying out loud – but Warbler is the only one talking with any sense of urgency or anxiety. To thine own self be true, I suppose – and ACCA is unfailingly true to itself, even now.