Endless Eight, except actually good.
I just made beef udon and it tastes so good I could kill someone. I just thought you’d like to know. But wait, you’re not here to hear about my culinary creations. At least, that’s what I would assume unless there’s some mythical meal called “Steins;Gate” that I’ve never heard of. It’d probably just be beef soaked in Doctor Pepper or something. Wow, I might actually try making Doctor Pepper flavoured rice if I get bored one day…OH GOD, LOOK WHAT I’VE DONE.
But seriously, let’s get back on topic people (yeah, how dare you distract me). If it wasn’t clear by the last episode, episode 14 makes it crystal that Mayuri is destined to die in this timeline. No matter what Okarin does, Mayuri is resigned to the same fate. Still, Okarin is unwilling to give up on her and decides to try something a bit different. In his latest timeleap, he calls Moeka and asks to meet up with her alone before the party.
Okarin holds Moeka at gunpoint with his toy laser, but quickly abandons it once he manages to frisk her gun off of her for a more threatening form of self-defense. He questions her about FB and SERN, telling her that he knows all about her since he came from the future. Before Okarin is knocked out by someone else and dragged off, he manages to squeeze some useful info out of her. 1. She’s part of a group called Rounder who want to get back the IBN 5100 and 2. She’s doing all of this for FB, under their orders.
After all his hard work, Okarin still didn’t do enough to stop Moeka from busting into his lab and killing Mayuri. This time, he’s just tied up in the back of a car as Moeka breaks in to shoot Mayuri. She asks if he’s Titor before she leaves, but otherwise ignores Okarin’s presence. He pleads for her to stop, eventually breaking free from the bodyguards and running back into the lab. Once again, he’s too late to save her and had to timeleap. Again.
Okarin nearly destroys the time machine when he timeleaps again. Kurisu manages to stop him, obviously confused at Okarin’s sudden outburst. After he has a mini freak-out session with Ruka, Kurisu finds him and tries to calm him down. Always the intuitive one, she knows when Okarin is being genuinely crazy and not just acting the part. In other words, she knows he time leaped. Kurisu promises to help him save Mayuri and even flashes a quick Mad Scientist pose to cheer him up. The scene is absolutely adorable and has won me over (yes. me. the heartless one) to actually root for this pairing.
KURRRISSSSUUUUTTTIINNNNAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!! THEEE ZOMBBBIIIEEEE!!!!!!!
The two of them decide that since Rounder is after them because they made a time machine and want to publicize it, things might turn out a lot better if they never actually finish the timeleap portion of the time machine. Kurisu says to go back in time and explain everything to the “past” Kurisu so they can act accordingly from then on to stop Mayuri death. Kurisu seems convinced she will believe him, but tells him a special secret about herself that only she would know just to make sure.
Ironically enough, Kurisu doesn’t believe him at first. However, once he brings up the keyword, she finally caves in and starts helping Okarin once again. Their main goal is to find the real cause for Mayuri’s death and stop it. For now, Rounder seems to be the proximate cause, but something else is most likely causing THAT first. After toying with some possibilities such as it just being Mayuri’s lifespan ticking to an end, Suzu steps in.
Time for some more explanations! Suzu takes them to the building where the satellite crashed to explain how they would have to alter events enough to save Mayuri. With a helpful rope metaphor, she explains that each timeleap is essentially just a jump to another thread in the rope. They’re all individual strands, but they all go to the same place at the end of the rope. In other words, they all lead to Mayuri’s death. Okarin would have to switch to a strand in an entirely different rope thread to save Mayuri. This is called crossing the 1% divergence number, and it’s measured with a device that the Okarin of the future created.
The real metaphor here is that Okarin has ropeburn because he’s stupid
Whew, okay, mini science lesson over. After Suzu climbs the rope and gains access to the place where the satellite crashed into, she opens the door for the other two to enter more normally. Suzu reveals that the satellite is actually a time machine, and she used it to come here from the year 2036. The episode ends with the words “I am John Titor” leaving her lips.
Hey, I’m Suzu and we’ll be taking a tour of my crib this week. Pretty sweet, am I right?
“Wow, your hand is so cold…you really are zombie-like” “…I’m not helping you anymore.”
Don’t mind me, everyone. Just taking a nap. Keep on moving.
Okarin is utterly TERRIFIED of close up shots.
End Thoughts: I almost wish I could have watched episode 13 and 14 in one go, because it was hard to get back into the desperate atmosphere that was carefully set up from episode 13. The entire episode was a very emotionally-charged one, and I think I would have been affected by it a lot more if I watched right after seeing Mayuri die so many times. Nonetheless, it was another great episode with Okarin frantically trying to save Mayuri. You have to hand it to Mamoru Miyano – that man can act. Okarin’s utter misery and helplessness wouldn’t have been done justice if it was anyone but him.
The funny thing is, this episode is just as much about helplessness as it is about finding hope. Last episode, I think quite a few people were perplexed that Okarin could be surrounded by so many smart, capable people and not ask a single one of them for help. By finally trusting Kurisu, he’s making steps in the right direction to turn this around and get a happy ending. Amongst the suffering, sobbing, and pleading were some really beautiful moments where Kurisu opened up and bonded with Okarin. Once again, I can only think that the contrast is intentional, which leads to me applauding the excellent directing once again. I love watching these two develop as much as I enjoy watching Kotetsu and Barnaby develop in Tiger & Bunny.
I’m glad the pacing is staying the same and that questions are gradually being answered. There’s no sign of this intensity letting up any time soon, and I love it. This episode uncovers some new dirt on Moeka: she’s not exactly part of SERN, she’s working for a group called the Rounders. She’s also doing this all under FB’s orders, because FB is important to her. This is making me start to think that FB is a single person as opposed to an organization even more. Whatever FB is, Moeka is emotionally attached to it. It’s a lot easier to be attached to a singular person than an organization. Although, FB could be a leader in a certain organization.
Secondly, Suzu jumps in and really changes the ball game. We all suspected she was a time traveller, and she finally confirms it. Not only that, she’s John Titor and came from the year 2036 in that satellite that crashed into the building. I was sold on the fact that Titor was a man, and probably Okarin, but as if Steins;Gate would ever be that predictable. I thought for sure with the manly narrative voice they gave Titor that it would at least be male…way to throw us off the scent. At least we know Okarin is a decent scientist in the future, to have created a meter to show the divergence number from worldline to worldline. He’s…doing something alright. I guess Suzu went “back in time” to try and get Okarin to be the messiah and that’s why she’s been so protective of him, always remaining close by. I must say, I’m starting to like her more as time goes by. No longer do I mentally call her “rabid squirrel girl!” I’d say that’s a step in the right direction.
Oh boy is there ever a lot that could happen in the next episode. I almost wish this show gave previews at the end. Until next week, lurkers and commenters! El Psy Congroo.