Backstories galore, Garfiel takes the dramatic lead in the latest episode of Re:Zero - Starting Life in Another World Season 2 Part 2. Past traumas go head-to-head with crushing realities. Will Natsuki’s “emotionally and literally beat them with the truth” method help?
Minor spoilers ahead!
Lizzo said it best in “Truth Hurts” when she sang, “truth hurts, needed something more exciting.” This is the entire episode in one sentence, for better or worse.
“I won’t understand until you speak up!”
The episode begins with a flashback to a Young Garfiel beating himself up over for his failure. It’s the major theme of the day as the scene shifts to the present of him against Subaru, where he tries to struggle with facing the past and the present that wants to catch up with him. It becomes clear that he, like literally every single character in the show, has hang-ups with his past. And it’s the greatest obstacle to the happiness of everyone.
The newest episode is a rollercoaster of angst. Fans of the angst will be pleased, even if it isn't centered on Subaru for once. It would seem like the entire point of the arc is shifting the perspectives and roles on the angst, finally shining the lens on the other characters. First, it was Otto, then it was Emilia. Then we finally reach Garfiel.
Subaru shows off his new “therapy jutsu” skills once again. And once again has the nuance and gentleness of an out of-control Earth Dragon. Subaru means well but his method of making people see their own problems is the typical shounen trope of “beat them up with the power of friendship”. And it isn’t really the best. Then again, it does make his character as a bumbling idiot with a heart of gold just more prominent. Nonetheless, it can get old very quickly, and 4 episodes of giving therapy sessions to different characters are getting a bit old. Garfiel pretty much sums up the biggest problem, or maybe the most characteristic thing about the show so far.
“There had to be a better way to say that.”
With the confrontation with Garfiel to the introduction of new elements, the show still has yet to solidify the narrative flow of some of the elements. It is interesting to finally see the perspectives of the other characters, but it’s all done in a way that seems too careless. Though the actual backstories themselves are interesting, they’re too hastily stitched in.
“We were in the way, weren’t we?”
Nonetheless, the episode manages to keep most of the dramatic weight since its story of the day really is heavy. A few revelations at the end makes a rewatch of Garfiel’s story even sadder. Once again showing how therapy is important, Garfiel’s trauma really takes its toll on him and the people around him. His choices are all based on his personal trauma and the trauma of his species. Compounded together, it makes for a surprisingly complicated character if handled well (and the answer is that he really wasn’t but they tried). It can easily make anyone a Garfiel stan if you aren’t already.
“Talk about a bad first impression”
And then Re: Zero does that thing it always does where it introduces things and sequences with not enough warning. Or didn’t even develop the thing enough before introducing it. Or worse, actually develops the twist or new idea but took a path that didn’t really develop characters or storylines properly. Many of the twists and surprises of the episodes are like this. They’re interesting enough but at the same time feel like they were just plastered unto the story.
Even the final, and undoubtedly most substantial and well-planned twist, feels off. It’s really shocking but also makes a lot of sense in the retrospect. But at the same time, there’s a way that the twist and characters involved could have been developed more. Hopefully, in the next episodes and seasons, the show finally gives better substance to the narratives that it keeps dropping. Especially since the final twist promises a bounty of stories and drama.
“Find out with your own eyes”
Stream Truth Hurts by Lizzo
Always get professional help.
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Re:Zero - Starting Life in Another World Season 2 Part 2 Episode 4 will be released on Wednesday, 27 of January 2021 at 10:30 PM (JST).
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