…Why else would Isaac Newton, fresh after discovering gravity, start research on destiny and its properties if it wasn't for some rogue apple knocking his noggin? Or maybe this entire series is all just a dream, a fever dream of a dying scientist who never figured out how fate works? If it is a just a dream, how is he including 20th century Japanese high school girls in it, nevermind also speaking Japanese, hell why is he imagining himself as a Japanese product meant for television in the particular year of 1996?
So, fresh out of their existential funk, our main trio suddenly become pilgrims in an unholy land. It seems Dornkirk has finally managed to get his Fate Alteration Engine working and teleports our heroes, as well as Escaflowne, to the heart of Zaibach. It’s a sound development given the revelations shared in the last few episodes, for it not only allows Dornkirk to fill in the gap about his past as ‘Isaac’, it gives our heroes a fuller picture of who they are up against, and strengthen their resolve to stop him.
It is to this show’s credit that it doesn’t really belabor how our villain is Isaac Newton. Had it been an American show, the Hitomi stand-in would be incredulous toward the idea of fighting the guy who found gravity because he saw an apple fall from a tree. Thankfully, it isn’t the case and we’re given some prime insight into Dornkirk’s life on Earth, a flashback with themes based on history as well (Newton dabbled in theology and alchemy). Finding himself in Gaea moments after his apparent death, Isaac utilizes his expertise to turn Zaibach, then a backwater agrarian country, into the massive empire we now see. Yet, what was once a single individual’s curiosity on what drives the machinations of fate becomes a desire to master it, so conflict can no longer exist. Thus we now have the crux of the future conflict: a fight to stop people from playing God once again. This is good stuff, finally giving a raison d’être echoing Folken’s earlier declaration to the cause (Episode 6), as well as explaining why people like Dilandau are in Zaibach’s ranks, and why Fanelia and Freid fell.
Hitomi, Allen, and Van though get good moments, not just during the conversation with Dornkirk but also when they’re imprisoned. Hitomi, taking heart of the dangers of Atlantis’s power, the warnings of Van’s mother, and the advice of her own grandmother, is more than supportive in sharing Van’s pain when it comes time in the episode to dismantle Escaflowne. This seems like a logical next step in Van’s merging with Escaflowne, if he can feel its pain, he can also sync his thoughts and control it from afar. Of the two guys though, Allen has the more surprising development when it comes to character. It seems he has also noticed Hitomi’s latent interest in Van, and even indirectly confronts her about it as they wait for a pick up by Van at the top of Zaibach HQ. After her little confession, never mind the awkward moments after, it is no surprise Allen is curious about where she stands. Since it has been a while since my last watch, I’m curious on whether Allen’s behavior in the last bit of the episode, especially when he carries Hitomi onto Escaflowne instead of letting her clasp Van’s hand, is out of some form of envy.
Either way, now that he knows about it, we shall see how it all turns out next week, as we see them in one another’s arms in the episode preview, and Dornkirk at episode’s end informed of her power when linked with Escaflowne. Get hyped.
…Just don’t get hyped about seeing more of Zaibach. This ground-level shot is pretty much the only time you’ll ever get to see it. Disappointing.
Revenge – Ah the music at the tail end of Hitomi, Van, and Allen’s escape from Zaibach. This has quite a John Williams style in it thanks to its very striking bombast. To hear the mellow Escaflowne chant played in an orchestral flourish instead of choir is of exceptional quality, and helps to bookend a pretty darn good episode.
Notes of Escaflowne:
- So how did that chicken contribute to Isaac’s fate experiments perchance?
- I wonder if all these Mystic Moon artifacts would’ve been expanded upon had the show been more than 26 episodes.
- Savour that Deus ex Guymelef when Escaflowne got jet boosters and flew like a bat out of hell. Pretty much the only time it is used.