Monday, 10 June 2013

Flowers of Evil - Episode 10

Kasuga keeps on digging within the deep hole he has found himself, in that most typically teenage of ways, as we enter this tenth episode of Flowers of Evil and watch him and Nakamura choosing to "make a break for it" and skip town.

With no change of clothes, no money, and nothing to show for their snap decision but Kasuga's bicycle, it's pretty obvious that this decision to journey beyond the mountain which separates their town from the rest of the world is a figurative road to know - a realise that perhaps even Nakamura presciently understands as she talks of the world beyond that mountain as perhaps simply not existing at all.

As our two "escapees" find their progress halted by a mixture of Kasuga's exhaustion and a rain storm, they have somebody else hot on their trail - Saeki, who makes her excuses before heading off in pursuit of the errant pair.  Eventually she catches up on and discovers the two of them, and the results are explosive; a noxious mixture of all of the emotions that have built up over the course of the series acting as a powderkeg of a catalyst to the situation before them.  Ultimately, all eyes fall on Kasuga, and a simple choice for him to make - does he choose to follow Nakamura, or return to Saeki's side.  Even at this juncture it's a decision he simply can't make on account of his own self-deference to the idea that he is anything other than an empty shell - ironically, it's a show of indecision that might well leave him with nothing ultimately.

Although I've had plety of positive things to say about Flowers of Evil as a whole, this week's episode tops the lot - it's simply brilliant, both in its depiction of Kasuga and Nakamura's escape, and more specifically in the tempest of emotion which comes about once Saeki is adding in to the situation.  The result is almost a perfect distillation of the teenage condition - self-doubt; an over-riding desire and need to be loved and appreciated by someone, anyone; an insistence that you and only you are the freak in a world of normal people who you can never hope to be.  It's a powerful and affecting tale that, for all of its intense drama, still has moments that bring back intensely personal memories of an awkward youth of uncertainty and opportunities wasted by self-conscious indecision.  It's a love letter to puberty written in mud and excrement, but it nails adolescence better than any typical saccharine high school drama since Grange Hill.

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