“…dispersed in clouds of narrative language”: R-Really?! For Beautiful Women, “Canon” is the Keyword to Escape (With Love from the Lovely Angels Part 2)
One consequence of subverting the stock Big Epic Season Finale plot four times over means that any attempt you do actually make to close your filming block off with a bang is sort of by necessity going to be unsatisfying. Somehow I think I’ve heard that somewhere before. The sensible solution would be, of course, to not do a Big Epic Season Finale plot for your season finale.
Regrettably, Sunrise do not adopt the sensible solution.
We have a hostage situation where the head of 3WA security, a painfully generic megalomaniacal villain, takes over the research firm (which is in a gigantic volcano for some reason), kidnaps Gooley and threatens to blow up Elenore City with a big-ass Lazer Cannon if he’s not given some exorbitant amount of money. The plot is bog standard “we leave nobody behind” military fueled science fiction: Kei and Yuri go against the 3WA’s board of directors to rescue Gooley and they positively leap at every single opportunity to sacrifice their lives for each other, which is supposed to cut against them bickering throughout the episode’s entire runtime. Kei gets a big, dramatic speech at the end when she thinks Yuri is killed that is meant to be a parody of such speeches, but it feels stilted, goes on way too long and is nowhere near as effective as the subtext in “Something’s Amiss…?! Our Elegant Revenge”. The episode tries to rack up tension with exasperating pulp stalling, and the villain even gets a speech of unfiltered misogyny (yielding the story’s one good line when Kei responds with “For a young guy, you sure are old-fashioned”) in an attempt to force some strangled moral out of the past 26 weeks.
This is, in point of fact, a perfectly straightforward demonstration of what it looks like when a show tries to artificially inflate its stakes to do something self-consciously “big” to wrap up the filming block: It makes everyone and everything explode in a desperate effort to send the series off on an “epic” note, and it’s tragically unaware you can’t do this with Dirty Pair. The humour is back to feeling forced and inappropriate, it’s once again a story that isn’t really about anything except its po-faced epicness, and it has other problems too. As has become frustratingly the norm for late-period Dirty Pair, while the story is on the one hand trying to make a point about how special the Angels and their bond is, it still can’t resist the temptation to make Yuri the hero. Kei bumbles around as the comic relief, sticking her foot in her mouth, and making silly melodramatic speeches with Yuri as the consummate, quick-witted foil. Then there is, of course, Gooley himself, of whom I’ve spoken far too much lately. I’ll just say that it’s probably a bad sign that the episode had me agreeing with the board of directors’ plan to cause the volcano to erupt with him in it.…