Sophie thinks she’s found a nice, comfy motel in the middle of nowhere, but Sword and Gina know better. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. The motel owner appears to be a disgraced former president of a notable company. For reasons we’ll never know — and it isn’t really relevant anyway — he lost his bigwig job and went into financial ruins. His family had to flee Russell City and make a living all the way out here. Naturally, his despair allowed a Horror to possess his soul, and he now has a sweet gig hustling wayward travelers. He fed guests to a man-eating water Horror, and in return, he got to steal the dead’s belongings. Slowly but surely, he was going to earn his way back to the big city. It’s not an honest living, but… ah, I’ve got nothing. Matthew Cranston is obviously an evil, wife-beating murderer.
This episode almost feels like an homage to Psycho, but it’s possible I’m imagining things.
You even have the guy going down to the basement every so often to talk to someone. Of course, that “someone” is actually the Horror, but since Horrors are born from man’s negative feelings, he is talking to himself. The cellar is where the climactic moment takes place in Psycho.
And maybe Matthew’s screaming wife is reminiscent of Marion Crane. Ahhh, probably not.
Certainly, the original Psycho was never this bloody. I can’t speak for the remake with Vince Vaughn; I’ve never seen it.
In any case, Sword and Gina both do their thing, and the Horror dies. Afterwards, Gina tells Sophie that she’s rewritten the survivors’ memories. They know thing Matthew simply died in a freak tornado accident. The Makai Organization has a very cavalier approach to fucking about with people’s minds. I know they think that this is for the better, but it still doesn’t sit well with me.
There are a couple of cringey moments like Sword’s oppai speech, but I nevertheless found this week’s episode somewhat interesting overall. For one, there’s no eye-rollingly lame message to wrap everything up in a nice and tidy bow. This is a sharp contrast from last week’s ending. Remember how San Del Dios got completely destroyed, but Sword was like, “Well gosh, as long as those people have each other, they’ll be just fine!” You don’t get any of that overly saccharine nonsense here. Instead, you get the feeling that George and his mom’s lives are completely ruined. Yes, Matthew was abusive, but now what? Where are they going to go? How are they going to survive? Sword puts his shades on all cool-like at the end of the episode, and our heroes leave the survivors in their wake. That’s the reality of the situation. Gina reiterates to Sophie that she and Sword are limited in what they can do: “We can only protect the lives of people by eliminating Horrors. Even if doing so leaves behind a harsh reality. It’s impossible to remove all the pain.”
They can’t stop domestic abuse.
They can’t stop rampant inequality from tearing cities apart.
And oftentimes, the survivors are just as bad off now as they were before. Who’s to say despair won’t overcome George and his mother and draw forth even more Horrors? And that’s really something interesting to ponder about. Sure, the Makai Order can’t fix mankind’s problems, but mankind’s problems are often what leads to Horrors. I mean, look at the screenshot of the broken, lawless city full of hungry vagrants and violence. That has to be a breeding ground for Horrors, no? Gina even says it herself: “The hearts of people with no other place to go continue to darken.” The implications are obvious. And I understand the idea that mankind’s problems are out of the Makai Order’s scope. They barely have enough people to keep Russell City from completely falling apart. This whole El Dorado business has sprung up out of nowhere, and they barely have any information about it. So it’s natural for Sword to think, “We can only eliminate Horrors. We can’t save the hearts of man.” They’re only capable of treating the symptoms and not the disease. Cut down one Horror today, but hundreds more can appear overnight.
Logistically, this is a lost cause. There’s no way the Makai Order can keep up with human population growth. In Garo – Vanishing Line, we get to see Sword and company be the heroes and try to save the day. And they probably will. They’ll probably march into El Dorado and kick the King’s ass. But if the situation here is already this bad, you can’t help but imagine what a hellhole the rest of the world must be. And it can only get worse.