Orka, the commander of Skylos, is put on trial for his failure, but instead convinces the council of his country to stay his execution with a dramatic speech. Shortly thereafter, he petitions for a new warship to go to the Mud Whale again, this time to capture its most powerful thymia-users, now referred to as daimons. On the Mud Whale itself, the ability to choose a direction for the ship creates new opportunities (as the visitors from Siderasia offer to take the Mud Whale under their nation’s protection) and new problems (as a pair of rebellious Marked youths start making the case for rule by the Marked instead of the Unmarked council).
As the show crawls towards oblivion, I feel blessed that for once my episode didn’t have even a single sighting of the shrieking sadism fairy. Additionally, credit where credit is due – this episode, while still a mess, isn’t all that bad. Finally, we get explanations for why the Clown Around Empire exiled the Mud Whale, a sense of where the different factions in the show are located, and the secrets behind the Mud Whale’s nous.
Granted, some of this would’ve been nice about 10 episode ago, when it actually mattered, but it did give some context for what’s been going on so far. It’s also a slower-paced episode, and the show does a lot better when its characters don’t have to move around a whole lot, since you get to appreciate the nifty art instead of the often sub-par action.
Unfortunately, the reason the episode is slow-paced is that it’s almost 100% people talking. The first 6 or so minutes are Orka giving a speech (which, admittedly, they try to jazz up by having him make a lot of dramatic gestures), followed by the Siderasians explaining where things are on a map, and ending with the Trouble Twins giving a speech calling for a coup.
It does set everything up as we roll towards the end (though I doubt the show will have time to adequately pace the many things it wants to resolve in the time that remains), but it does it in just about the most boring way possible. Still, given the lack of visible clowns or pink-haired psychopaths, it’s about the most pleasant episode we’ve had in a while.
Down to specifics, then. Although Orka’s speech does answer some questions, it asks so very many more, and leaves crucial questions still unanswered. We know how the nous work and why the Mud Whale’s is special but we still don’t know where they come from. The Jester Imperium exiled the Mud Whale so its citizens’ emotions could be used as a demonstration of why emotions are bad… but how would anyone from the Imperium be able to watch and learn that lesson?
Orka’s plan is to capture the daimons and use their power to either a) purify the world, b) protect the empire from God’s purification of the world, or c) just take over the world, but there’s no indication of how he would do this, or what his original reason for attacking the Mud Whale was.
The whole thing feels like the writers are desperately flailing to somehow retroactively create a coherent world, but instead it’s ever more apparent that the show’s plot was not well thought out when it started.
Then there’s the Twin Rebellion which is brewing on the Mud Whale. The show was going to be complicated enough with the Mud Whale racing to get to Siderasia while being pursued by Orka’s new warship. I don’t know that also having a revolution kick off on the Mud Whale in the meantime is what the end of the show needs; there’s plenty of drama to go around already.
I forsee some more episodes with truly abysmal pacing. At least it’s almost over.