Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Steins;Gate - Episode 22

Although the choice between Mayuri and Kurisu has become crystal clear to Okabe, with no means to escape having to decide the fate of these two individuals, that doesn't exactly make life any easier for our protagonist as decision time looms for him once again.

As we enter episode twenty-two, this leads to some frank and forthright conversations between Okabe and Makise as they shelter from an unexpected rainstorm - while Kurisu admits to finding herself holding vague memories of her death in the beta worldline, together with fleeting recollections of Okabe's struggles throughout, she seems to have accepted the inevitability of her death and how, ultimately, it's more important for Okabe to save Mayuri than anything else.

For his part, Okabe is still determined to find another solution, even if it means seeing Mayuri die in front of him over and over again as he tries to do so - a decidedly unhealthy state of affairs, as Kurisu rightly points out.  As Makise's philosophical take on existing in multiple world lines clashes with Okabe's rather more literal interpretation, it seems that there is at least one thing the pair have in common, bringing us to the conclusion of a not entirely surprising but still hugely touching love story, if only a fleeting one.  From here, it's time for Okabe to make his painful yet necessary final move towards the beta worldline... that isn't the end of the story though of course, as an interruption to the ending credits for this episode reminds us.

Although I tuned into Steins;Gate from the very start while expecting many things from it, I have to confess that I wasn't quite ready for this - love, passion, and some touching and genuinely heart-rending moments as the episode progressed; you'd have to be a man of steel to watch Okabe trying badly to hide his raw emotions beneath his "mad scientist" without letting your own emotions run out of control.  As with the half-way point of the series, this episode expertly made use of the time its spent ensuring that these characters and their unique foibles grow on us, to create an intense and touching instalment that might not have been what we were expecting from a series promising time travel and pseudo-science - but boy am I impressed with what it's achieved.  Let's just hope the show's big finale over the next couple of episodes live up to everything that has come before.

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