Another one of those “I don’t even know where to start” -posts. We thought that episode 12 was painful to watch but this was even worse now that we’ve gotten even more invested to the characters and so many bad things are happening. This episode had two major points: Kotetsu and Barnaby’s unsteady partnership, and the revelation of what really happened on that day 21 years ago when Barnaby’s parents died.
19. There’s no way out.
First, I’m just gonna say: we called a lot of this stuff in our speculah. Anyway…
Barnaby is having a legitimate breakdown. I feel really bad looking at it from this angle, but the way he’s just falling apart is realistic and well written (and I’ve witnessed some real-life breakdowns). Considering all the crap he’s been through already it’s almost a miracle it didn’t hit him even harder. And if the beginning of the episode looked bad for him, things only got worse. In the span of a day he learns that he’s spent 21 years chasing a lie, his partner (and maybe the only friend he’s ever had) wants to quit, and that Maverick has been messing with his memories and is responsible for killing his parents. I’m surprised he didn’t go temporarily insane from all that.
Barnaby has spent enough time around Kotetsu that he’s learned to tell when Kotetsu is avoiding something – which truthfully is most of the time when it’s something that concerns himself. I’m getting the impression that Kotetsu actually suffers from low self-esteem when it comes to things that concern him as a person and it also plays a bit into his style as a hero. I feel like it’s hard for him to get that someone might appreciate him for who he is. If you think of how his decision to quit came to be in episode 17, you’ll notice that a part of his reason was that he thought Barnaby doesn’t need him. He’s running away, not just from his diminishing power but also from rejection. It’s easier to deal with it if you’re the one rejecting, not being rejected. We think there’s something more to why he’s acting the way he is, something that we’ve not seen yet. It might have something to do with how he grew up in a time when NEXTs were still shunned, and he’s experienced what it was like before Hero TV made them accepted. He might have gotten used to people other than his family not giving a damn about him, and now he’s got Barnaby who trusts him and wants to be his friend – and that can be pretty scary for someone who’s made avoidance a lifestyle.
Despite being so dense, it seems that Kotetsu might finally start realizing what exactly he’s doing, not just to himself but also to the people around him. The unfortunate overheard phone conversation was the worst possible way for Barnaby to find out about Kotetsu’s plans to quit and Kotetsu made things much worse trying to avoid the issue, even when Barnaby called him out on it he tried to cover up further. Barnaby doesn’t want just to be able to trust Kotetsu – he wants Kotetsu to trust him too. In the end they both reacted in a logical way: saying and doing hurtful things to protect themselves, using what defense mechanisms they could and Barnaby managed to rile Kotetsu up to a point where he actually retaliated. They both overstepped the line, but we have to say that the fault lies mostly with Kotetsu this time. Barnaby’s sanity was hanging by a thread, he was merely trying to hold himself together. Luckily Kotetsu saw the interview after their fight, and that seems to have gotten at least part of the message through: Barnaby thinks the world of him.
But the bad thing is that right now, Barnaby is alone. And a lot of our Maverick speculah came true…
- Maverick is a NEXT
- Maverick killed Barnaby’s parents
- Maverick brought up Barnaby specifically to become a hero
- Maverick altered Barnaby’s memories
- Hero TV has more staging than just Mr. Legend’s case
There’s one thing missing from this list that you might have noticed. We’ll get to it, and why it’s not there. Just keep on reading.
Maverick turned out to be a far bigger bastard than we ever expected. He’s totally unfazed when he talks about the things he’s done. What’s even worse is that he’s a NEXT that can alter people’s memories. He’s already successfully messed with Barnaby’s and Samantha’s memories, and it’s very likely he’s done so several times to Barnaby when he’s gotten too close to the truth. We don’t even want to think about how many times it might have happened, locking Barnaby in a cycle of finding out and getting his head messed up again repeatedly. This time he got so far because he had Kotetsu, and now even Kotetsu is in danger. However, altering Barnaby’s memories again won’t be enough and Maverick will have to do something to the other people who know about it – Aunt Samantha and Kotetsu. His memory altering ability has its limitations, and he needs the victim to be weakened and alone without anything interfering. That’s why he killed Barnaby’s parents, he couldn’t mess their memories in the situation they were in.
And this leads to Hero TV. We talked about the fishiness around Hero TV for example in the episode 16 write up, but things turned out to be even worse than we expected. To boost the falling ratings, Maverick teamed up with “a certain organization” to stage crimes and make the arrests more entertaining. In return he gave some of the technology Barnaby’s parents had used to help with making the hero suits to that organization to be used for weapons. The Brookses found out about it and confronted Maverick – and since he couldn’t alter their memories he shot them. He spared Barnaby to bring him up as a hero. It should be noted that Maverick doesn’t define the organization as Ouroboros, but Barnaby assumes so. In fact, Maverick never mentions Ouroboros at all. So either this means that Ouroboros is something else, or that we are being led astray and made to think there is more than one organization. (I’m betting we’ll be returning to this topic later, right now… we’ve kinda got our heads spinning still.)
Maverick will probably attempt to alter Kotetsu’s memories, but he won’t succeed if the spoilers we’ve seen are legit. It’s been easy for him to control Barnaby who he’s kept mostly isolated, but the more connections people have the harder it becomes to alter just one thing. It’s likely someone will notice something is wrong sooner or later. Kotetsu poses the biggest threat for Maverick at the moment – he’s close to Barnaby, and it’d be impossible to change an entire year of Barnaby’s memories involving him. The most logical option is to dispose of Kotetsu in some other way.
We have so many mixed feelings about this episode. On the other hand, we absolutely love the writing and characterization. The voice acting is amazing and we got our minds blown by Morita again – he needs an award for his role as Barnaby. But then… there’s so much pain and suffering (and personally I don’t want to see Barnaby cry ever again – but he was crying in the preview). We just wanna shake these guys a bit, get them to talk it out and give each other a hug. Lord knows they need it.