Zankyou no Terror Episode Review: 1×07 “Deuce”

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The game is officially on. Last weeks airport chess game played out this episode, with Nine, Twelve, and Lisa racing to stop their new-old nemesis Five from detonating a bomb and pinning it on them. This episode marks a departure from the slower-paced episodes, and evolves into a show that I didn’t expect it to be.

“Deuce” transitions Five from a morally questionable character into a full on villain. No longer does she seem content to call Sphinx out on their bluff (if she ever was in the first place). She’s looking to straight-up murder some folks. Five attempts to capture Nine and Twelve, but they hack the system while Lisa provides a distraction, and manage to overcome her. However, Lisa is captured in the meantime and put on a blame with the actual bomb. The plane is remotely driven by Five toward the airport, with the evident intention of blowing it up.

The plot is a little muddled, with Lisa’s damseling being the most negative factor. Poor Lisa is nervous throughout the entire episode, and her brush with death certainly doesn’t make her feel better. I admire Lisa’s determination, but I was hoping that Nine and Twelve would talk her through disarming the bomb or something. Her character development has thus far been incredibly subtle and I’d like to see more overt instances of confidence and strength from her. At least she’s not being treated as expendable by Sphinx anymore. And now that Five has discovered her identity, she may find herself in more dangerous situations that she’s going to have to get herself out of.

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Ugh, as if Lisa didn’t have enough going on in her life already.

While Nine and Twelve entertain Five, Shibasaki attempts to figure out whats going on. He rather quickly comes to the conclusion that Five and her FBI goons are the ones who set the bomb, and when he receives a desperate call from Nine asking him to stop the plane from crashing into the airport, his suspicions are confirmed. He manages to stop the plane in time, but his insubordination will undoubtedly get him into massive trouble.

“Deuce” marks the first time Shibasaki and Nine have spoken directly, and their temporary truce could be a hint at a more long term team-up in the future. Sphinx are undoubtedly terrorists, but their moral code is more or less in line with Shibasaki’s. With Five being set up as a common enemy, it’s possible that they’ll work together for the greater good.

Five is clearly a part of a corrupt system, but the idea that the police would allow her to crash a bomb-armed plane into an airport is baffling. Certainly someone in on the plan had objections. It can’t just be Shibasaki. The deeper we get into this collaboration between the Japanese Police and the FBI, the more I wonder if Five is actually FBI after all. I’m willing to bet that the looming scandal is a lot bigger than expected.

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Smile while you can, they’re probably going to send you “on vacation”.

I miss the quieter moments of the early episodes, and while I appreciate the escalation of the stakes and the introduction of a new challenger, I can’t help but feel like Zankyou no Terror might be going in a direction different than I expected, and it’s throwing me off. I had expected Five to be a protagonist, like Shibasaki, but there’s not much there to redeem her. Her dramatic personality is at risk of overshadowing some of the other aspects of the show. I had also expected to see Lisa begin to thrive as a terrorist, but she’s still the same sad, sweet girl she has been.

Things are turning out differently, but Zankyou no Terror remains one of the most intriguing shows on the air right now. I’m sure it’s going to maintain its mystery in a satisfying way, and I look forward to next episode.

Images are copyright of MAPPA.

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