Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Steins;Gate - Episode 21

To say that Okabe's realisation at the end of last week's episode of Steins;Gate gives him a small dilemma to ponder would perhaps be the biggest understatement ever to grace this 'blog (well, that or "Star Driver is rubbish") - but never mind that, just what is our resident mad scientist going to do about this new predicament?

Quite simply, the answer is "he doesn't know".  While Okabe's immediate reaction is to put a stop to Daru's cracking which would remove the final D-Mail and return the world to its original timeline, the fact that doing so would also result in Makise's death leaves him unable to do so.  Thus, Okabe ponders and formulates, trying to find a solution to the problem alone with no input from Makise for fear of telling her what will become of her... as a result, he has to face up to Mayuri's death once again.

Another time leap later, Okabe has even more time to ponder his next move - again, he tries to go it alone, but eventually there's nothing else for it but to tell a visibly shocked Kurisu what the future in the changed timeline in question will mean for her.  We don't really get any particular feel for her thoughts about such a scenario beyond that immediate reaction, instead continuing to focus upon Mayuri as she worries about Okabe's readily apparent suffering while mulling over what she can do to rectify the situation.

While recent weeks have seen Steins;Gate hold a very tight focus, this is perhaps the first episode in quite a while that has slowed things down somewhat - although this is slightly frustrating from the point of view of eager viewers desperate to see where the series goes next, it does give us time to really soak up the emotional impact of what's going on.  In particular, at a point where Mayuri has had diminished screen time in deference to Makise, all of a sudden we're hit hard by how impossible Okabe's current situation is in heart-rending fashion as Mayuri delivers perhaps some the saddest, most heartfelt monologue of the series so far.  As I seem to be saying every week at the moment, I have no idea where the series is headed from here - all I know is that this week's instalment left me with a bit of a lump in my throat.

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