Lisa desperately wants to find a place that she belongs, so it isn’t surprising that we find her doing the boys’ laundry at the start of this week’s episode. When Lisa later asks if there’s anything she can do to help them, Nine is incredulous: “Blow things up? Kill people?” Yes, he and Twelve have blown things up, but it’s odd that he’d mention killing people. Neither him nor Twelve can kill people either. It’s not about whether or not they’re physically able to. If they can make bombs, it’s plainly obvious that you can physically kill people as well. But the two boys risked a lot at the end of last week’s episode just to prevent the bomb on the train from killing anyone. Therefore, I’m suggesting that they can’t kill people on a more meaningful level: they are mentally and/or morally unable to. So when Nine wonders if Lisa can kill people, he is perhaps projecting his own insecurities onto Lisa. At the same time — because he sees himself in her — he is trying to push her away. For whatever reason, he can’t save himself. The two boys know something — something very big and earth-shattering — and with this burden of knowledge comes responsibility. They have to complete this mission that they’ve given themselves, whatever it is. Lisa doesn’t have that burden, so Nine doesn’t want her to get involved. He’s trying to save her from having to go down the same path; he’s protecting her in his own way. And hey, for what it’s worth, they still haven’t kicked her out of their apartment yet.
We later see Lisa again on the rooftop, where white sheets are drying on some clotheslines behind her. White sheets on a rooftop often symbolize death in anime, e.g. Mawaru Penguindrum and Sakamichi no Apollon. I thus believe Lisa is strongly considering suicide during this scene. Hell, the thought of suicide must have crossed her mind at least once when she was out on the streets. The morbid thought perhaps subsided when the two boys had taken her in, but after the way Nine had rejected her, she is likely considering it again. As a result, she now stands on the rooftop, gazing out at the sky. Not only that, she’s clinging to the chain-linked fence as if it’s the only thing separating her from certain death. Lisa then asks Twelve what he thinks: “It’s better if I’m not here, isn’t it?” The key thing to consider, however, is where would Lisa go if she is not here. The truth is that she has nowhere else to go. She can’t return home, so her only other option is to return to the streets. The last time she attempted this, however, she fell ill, so you can imagine her body might not survive a second go-around. The problem is that Nine is pushing Lisa away, thinking she’d just return home. He and Twelve might not realize, however, how close to the brink she is. To be fair, he knows nothing about her domestic situation. He also has far weightier things on his mind at the moment, so you can’t really blame him for not considering Lisa’s feelings. Nevertheless, I wonder what Lisa would have done if Twelve hadn’t extended some comforting words her way. In fact, he crosses through the white sheets just to talk to her face-to-face.
Lisa is jealous of the bond that Nine and Twelve share, but not in a malicious way. She just wishes she had someone she was close to. Twelve replies, “Well, we’ve been together for a long time.” He then looks wistfully off to the side. The anime immediately cuts to those white sheets swaying in the wind as Twelve continues to say, “Just the two of us.” We don’t get to see his expression. He sounds resigned as he says it, too. The anime then lingers on the white sheets for a short moment. It almost seems as though Twelve has accepted his and Nine’s eventual deaths, but on the plus side, they’ll die together, i.e. “Just the two of us.” Just earlier in the episode, there’s a peculiar scene where we see Twelve just standing alone on the rooftop, looking to at the sky as white feathers float up around him. There’s something angelic about the scene, almost suggesting that he’s looking forward to the peaceful release that accompanies death. For now, he and Nine have a mission to accomplish, but when they reach their destination, they will be free. In a way, he and his partner have always been prisoners. They were imprisoned at that institute, and even now, they are imprisoned by the memories of their past. For example, Nine frequently suffers from nightmares. As a result, the two boys — Twelve, specifically — may see death as a solace. What’s clear, however, is that Nine and Twelve are always prepared that they may die anytime they go out.
Once again, Five intends to lure the boys into a trap and force them to play games with her by planting a bomb at the international terminal of a big airport. Nine notes that there are 1500 surveillance cameras at the international terminal alone. They are thus walking into Big Brother’s own lair. More importantly, how can you beat your Big Brother? If knowledge is power, how can Nine and Twelve compete with Five? What can the two boys do? Twelve thus suggests that they use Lisa. After all, Lisa is truly the wild card in the story. Lisa is the one person no one on the other side can expect. Five thinks she’s going up against two masterminds like herself, and she isn’t necessarily wrong. When you are that confident in your own predictive abilities, however, you end up developing blind spots. After all, the prediction game is not about looking at the whole picture. Rather, the prediction game is about eliminating from the whole picture unnecessary information. Lo and behold, Lisa’s specialty is that she is no one special. She is just an average girl with average looks and average intelligence. She’s even clumsy to boot, perfectly incapable of cooking even a simple meal. The only rare thing about her that we’ve learned so far is the “color” of her voice. To most people, she is unnecessary information. She is thus the perfect pawn to sneak into the enemy’s backlines.
Of course, Nine initially refuses to include the girl in their plans, but when she personally appeals to him by voicing her desire to become one of them, he finally relents. He doesn’t really have any other option. Hell, Nine initially felt as though there was a good chance their mission could go very wrong: “We just have to move on the assumption that we’ll be caught.” But between that and allowing hundreds of innocent people to die, the two boys have no choice but to act. With Lisa in the mix, we don’t know if Nine feels as though their chances have improved, but it must have if he’s willing to finally take her with them. As for Lisa, it must be frightening and perhaps even irrational to get yourself mixed up with a pair of terrorists, but again, she has nowhere to turn. All she can do is either join the two boys on their mad quest, or go back out onto the streets. And again, considering how her first attempt to survive on the mean streets had gone, the second go-around might’ve spelled death. The problem right now, however, is that Lisa doesn’t know anything. She thinks they’re still playing with bombs and blowing stuff up. She might even think she will have to take a life. The boys have moved past that stage, though: “Isn’t it weird for us to go and stop the bomb?” As a result, even though Lisa is now a provisional member of the team, she still looks lost and isolated. She must be wondering what she has gotten herself into.
Throughout this week’s episode, Terror in Resonance isn’t shy about comparing Five to Big Brother. In Five’s message to the the two boys, she even says, “VON voyage.” This just goes to show you how well Five knows the two boys, a fact which Nine confirms: “She’s telling us that she’s seen through everything.” The anime then cuts to Five as she stands motionless before a wall of monitors. The more important question, however, is who’s more dangerous here? The two boys playing games and blowing things up? Or a government willing to take on such a Big Brother-esque role? The anime is thus toying with appearances and expectations. The two boys appear to be terrorists on the surface, but deep down, they do not wish to kill anyone. On the other hand, any government will always claim it’s acting in its citizen’s best interests, and this is why it will do whatever it needs to do to protect us, even if this might include all sorts of unethical actions such as limitless surveillance. Not only that, the government here is prepared to suffer countless civilian deaths. Yes, Five is calling the shots, but the higher ups are condoning her actions. Hell, take the following exchange between Nine and Twelve. The latter can’t help but wonder if there’s really a bomb at the airport. Nine replies, “…she can just let it blow up and let the police say it was us.” The anime isn’t completely cynical about the government, though.
Rather, the anime feels as though there are special individuals within the government who can still turn things around. Once again, the investigation team is stymied. Once again, the higher ups claim that a different bomb disposal team will take care of the situation, but after last week’s fiasco, we know that they won’t. Even so, the director adds: “It’s an order from the superintendent general. I shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t do anything on your own.” You expect, of course, for Shibazaki to ignore this warning. After all, as this scene is playing out, Shibazaki is transfixed on the riddle on his phone the entire time. In the past, he had to hold back because he had a family to consider. But nowadays, what does Shibazaki have to lose? He appears to be estranged from his own family, and his career is going nowhere. He only joined the investigation out of Kurahashi’s respect for his talents. Otherwise, Shibazaki would still be toiling away in the archives. Ironically enough, Shibazaki ends up not even having to act on his own, because several members of the investigation team ends up joining the old man on his way to the airport. And hey, technically, the director warned them not to act on their own. With a team of five, Shibazaki and company are hardly on their own. But on a more serious note, the anime feels strongly that we can trust the police, even if Nine and Twelve have outwitted them from start to finish. The police apparently have their heart in the right place. At the moment, Terror in Resonance seems to suggest instead that it’s the politicians we can’t trust,
— At the start of the episode, Five asserts, “That’s why I’m the only one who can catch you, Nine.” She’s smart enough to know that Twelve is there with Nine. It seems, however, she’s only focused on Nine. I wonder why she’s so obsessed with him and almost thinks nothing of Twelve. Later on, Nine has a nightmare of the time he and Twelve escaped from the institute, but Five was left behind. This time, however, the Five in Nine’s dreams starts to cackle evilly as an unnatural light pours out of her orifices. It appears that Nine fears Five’s retribution, but what’s peculiar is how even though Twelve has his own concerns about Five, he is not traumatized by the memory of her. According to Nine, Five could’ve escaped too, but she didn’t: “At that time, if she wanted to run away, she could have.” Is this really true, or is he just telling himself this to assuage any potential guilt he might feel from having left her behind? After all, if his conscience is spotless, then why the recurring nightmares? Why he is he so hung up on her if both he and Twelve had done her right? Could it be that he could’ve helped her escaped back then, but willingly chose not to?
— Here’s the big question: “But why is the FBI sparing their esteemed personnel to work on a domestic incident in Japan?” The official response from Clarence is that America is personally invested in what had been stolen from the nuclear reprocessing facility, but there has to be more to it than that. Did certain important members within the Japanese government request for help or is help being forced upon them? I only ask the latter because this is what Kurahashi noted when he entered the room: “All the higher ups were sitting in a meeting submissively.”
— So Five isn’t an actual field agent of any sort. Rather, before she came here, she was working as a researcher in America. She’s nevertheless been called to Japan… likely due to her past connections to Nine and Twelve. Someone out there is pulling the strings, but who?
— Shibazaki fears that a cornered Sphinx might use the stolen plutonium in their possession as a last resort. While this is a contingency worth considering, knowing what we know about Nine and Twelve, I don’t think they would go there.
— Twelve tells Lisa that he has synesthesia, the strange ability to associate colors with your other senses. And apparently, Lisa has a rare “pale yellow” voice. Does she symbolize a golden ray of hope or something?
— Shouldn’t the investigators find it odd that the latest message from Sphinx isn’t a video? Only Shibazaki finds the latest situation peculiar, but for other reasons: “It’s too practical. It doesn’t feel like there’s an underlying message.”
— Twelve always has a goofy smile on his face no matter what he’s doing.
— Gah, Five’s English accent is distracting. It can’t be helped — I mean, I don’t expect Japanese voice actors to speak English naturally — but it’s still taking me out of the viewing experience.
— When Nine and Twelve reach the international terminal, they learn that Five wishes to finish a high stakes chess match that she and Nine had never finished. Lisa, then, truly is the pawn that everyone, including a lot of people in the audience, seems to underestimate. Let’s see if she will manage to become a queen by the end of the series.