Tide-Line Blue – episode 9

October 2, 2005 on 9:01 pm | In Tide-Line Blue | Comments Off on Tide-Line Blue – episode 9

“The globe – the new map”

Ostrich angst doesn’t work quite as well in this episode. The rest of this show is really firing on all cylinders, now, so that damned bird is forgiven. It’s a large mercy that the last few episodes of this series have been so good, because there are only three episodes left!

After recovering from the dilemma that befell him at the end of episode 9, Keel manages to convince the crew of the repair ship to take him to France. The path to that conclusion is fraught with danger as we are given a clear indication of the difference between Tean and Keel.
Meanwhile, Aoi is forced to reveal the existence of the new map to Satoyama and several key members of her army. Naturally, they are upset at the lack of trust exhibited by their leader.

What I was surprised to learn was that, in all of the scenes set in the past, it was Keel who was the violent one. In episode two, I thought that Tean had beaten him up, but it turns out to have been the other way around.
Tean was clearly a quiet child, who therefore did not earn “demonstrative” love from his parents. How this made them into what they are now can be vaguely inferred, but it is quite convenient that Keel was allowed to roam free in society while Tean was stuck in the rigidity of submarine command: from one constriction to another. I’d like to know what a 14 year old blonde kid from space would actually do on a submarine if they had the discipline.
Through the two characters, even Joze gets some sympathy: she understands both of them better than they understand each other, and it throws Tean off when she favours Keel on some of the decisions made. This is a pretty well represented relationship that is going to, in the remaining episodes, give quite a bit of drama but also, judging by the ED, comedy.

Now I actually know the characters, I appreciate the use of “power play” in this series. In hindsight it’s easy to see that the New UN is Aoi. She’s just like Gould, taking complete control of all of her operations and commanding a semi-vast army. What works so well is that each of them has their charisma and their proper motives, but now even Aoi’s actions seem shady, untrusting and pessimistic. What is her real goal?
She wants to unite the world, sure … but she uses just as much leverage as Gould.

Besides all of the Tean and Keel stuff, the best part of this episode was plainly the short exchange between Isla and Gould.
“He smiles so easily … I wonder why he wages war?”
It was nice to see that Isla understands everything that is going on in relation to this. In fact, I daresay that she has a better grasp on matters than Keel did up to a little while ago. It would not be fair to say that Isla is entirely clued – anyone who just unbuttons her top anywhere to breastfeed her child has a sense of priority but not exactly propriety.
(Please note, as that might get me in trouble, I have no problem with public breast feeding, but I don’t think that doing it while standing at the dining table after giving your shipmates their clean laundry is the most appropriate place to do so. Isla could have at least sat down.

The final note is about execution: this series is mildly schizophrenic. The “Let’s hang Keel!” scene was borderline insane in its representation, from “Let’s kill him! Grrr!” to “Arr, you lovable scamp!” to, a few seconds later, “Let’s kill him! Grrr!” to “Wait on a second, guys, let’s gamble!” to “Grr! Let’s kill him!” to “Do anything and I shoot the child!”(!) to “You done good, kid”.
If that summary of events sounded confusing, imagine what it’s like during the actual show to see the tone lurch so much over the space of just one scene. Tide-Line Blue generally remains in control of its facilities, but sometimes it really drops the ball on tension and approach.

When the staff realised that this series has to work based on characterisation and that a simple concept won’t fly by itself, Tide-Line Blue became not exactly great but certainly more worthwhile.
Next episode to follow soon.

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