What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 6.
So, does the streak of excellent episodes continue? You know it’s funny, round the half-way mark of this episode I was getting this kind of creeping dread that the show was starting to falter, nothing massive just that maybe it was beginning to spin it’s wheels a little.
How do you mean? Well it was all very light and ~seemingly~ inconsequential, they talk about New Year’s, and then go to a shrine for a celebration where a bunch of the cast are helping out as shrine maidens, and the American side characters continue their broken-English comic relief shtick. And it’s all very entertaining to watch, it’s like being with old friends again, but I was kind of like “shouldn’t we be doing something more important?” and then they have a New Year’s party back at the lab, which if you’re keeping track that’s three parties in the space of six episodes.
You’re sounding very negative all of a sudden. And then shit gets real. First the others discover Amadeus on Maho’s phone and they’re all quite interested in this AI, even if Mayuri gives Okabe a look that lets on more than we know. Then, as the AI disappears from the screen a group of gun-toting masked men crash the party, their motifs unknown and Okabe is once again confronted with the very real possibility that someone he cares for deeply could die. History is repeating itself, just slightly off-kilter.
So the dramatic ending saved the episode? No, not at all. The more I thought it over—and this show has me thinking more than any other show this season—the more absolutely brilliant I realised the first half of the episode was!
What the “inconsequential” stuff? Ah, but see, that’s where I was wrong! Or rather missing what was right in front of me! More than being about time travel or artificial intelligence or orchestrated high-stakes drama involving people being held at gun-point. This is a show about the cunning and insidious pervasiveness of grief and trauma, it’s always there, just waiting to pounce, lurking beneath the surface of Okabe’s face. Even in the most joyous and carefree moments, where everything seems ~fine~ something as simple as a bridge or a face or a phrase can trigger the grief and it all comes flooding back like a wound torn its stitches.
Is this new information though? I thought you were well aware this show was about Okabe dealing with his grief. I believe you mentioned that in the first episode review? That was me rationalising his character, how he was as a man. It’s only now that I realise that it’s more than just that, the loss of one’s self through the loss of a loved one and the continued anguish that puts on one’s soul—that is what Steins;Gate 0 is about. Not science and technology and government plots and future wars, it’s about how grief affects everything and everyone it touches.
Fair enough then. So the boundless praise continues then? As if there was any doubt.
Previous Steins;Gate 0 Reviews:
Episode 1 Review
Episode 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
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