For once, we get an episode in which the two main characters are nowhere in sight. And unfortunately, it’s a sad one.
— The episode opens with Lyde looking up at the “leaden sky,” thinking to himself that he has no future in Londinium. The Earless suddenly attack, but luckily, he and his friend are saved by Jimi. Of course it’s Jimi. The legendary Player has certainly been around the block.
— When we fast forward to the present, Lyde has ditched the bowl cut and suspenders. Good call.
— Also, Nir’s back! And she has a fat stack of cash! I can’t help but wonder how she got all that money. It wouldn’t surprise me if she got them through unscrupulous means. In any case, her amp needs a tune-up, and Lyde is the man for the job.
— When Nir is taking a look at her newly-repaired Equipment, it almost sounds like a version of Nirvana’s “Lithium” is playing. I don’t listen to much music, but I actually did own the album Nevermind in middle school. What can I say? I was beginning to go through that phase as a teenager.
— Nir decides to take Lyde on a joy ride, so we get a bit of world-building. Londinium is controlled by folks in this tower, and the layout kinda resembles a panopticon. If I had to guess, the government probably used the constant Earless attacks as an excuse to enforce martial law.
— We also get to see Lyde’s best bud Ritchie try over and over to woo some girl to no avail. This mini side story goes nowhere for obvious reasons that we’ll find out later.
— When Lyde gets back to the shop, his boss gets on his case. I mean, I can understand being mad at an employee for leaving the store without a word, but this guy seems to take special pleasure in bullying his workers. Maybe living in this hopeless city made him this way… or maybe he’s just naturally a miserable bastard.
— Nir, however, steps in and defends Lyde. He still gets fired from his job, but he’s not too worked up about it. More importantly, he and his best bud suddenly decide to refer to Nir as “aniki” from here on out. Huh, I wonder if they think she’s a boy just like Echo. Sure, she uses “boku” and her voice is pretty deep for a girl… but I dunno, I still think she looks pretty feminine.
— The boys take Nir back to their home that they share with their adoptive mother. Like a lot of children in Londinium, Lyde and Ritchie were orphaned by the constant Earless attacks. This is why it’s hard to truly empathize with the Mystics’ message of “love and peace.” Sure, they can be all buddy buddy with the Earless on their secluded island, but the rest of the world doesn’t get that luxury. I’m actually very curious to see how this conflict will play out. Who’s truly to blame?
— Anyways, Lyde shows off to Nir what he and his buddy have been working on: an Equipment that had been discarded by the government. In his own words, Lyde wants to “stick it to the people in that tower.” Hey, if you wanna rebel, I guess there’s some poetic justice in using a fascist’s weapon against them. Still, what exactly were they hoping to accomplish before Nir came along? Neither of them are Players. Even if they did manage to repair the Equipment, they can’t pilot it. This eventually changes later in the episode, but Nir is still the catalyst. If she had never shown up, what would they have done? Maybe there’s a group of insurgents that they could’ve donated the Equipment to?
— At the end of the day, Nir still thinks about Echo. I guess one meeting can leave a lasting impression.
— I’m also curious as to why the city seems to be run by a bunch of kids.
— Eventually, the boys do manage to fix up the Equipment, but Nir can barely control it. Why? I’m not really sure. She suddenly remembers the time she tried to commit suicide when riding Echo’s Equipment. Maybe it’s a compatibility thing. Maybe the Equipment is tainted and gives her suicidal thoughts.
— The next thing we see is Nir trying to buy Christmas presents for the boys. She eventually settles on snow globes. That doesn’t really seem like something I’d give to a teenage boy (especially if they think of you as their aniki), but whatever. It’s not like the presents will matter in the long run, because…
— …the Earless are suddenly attacking again! But this time, they’ve congealed into one massive tornado-shaped glob known as a “Queen.” The powers that be quickly jump into action, but their plan involves “scrapping” the West End district. This involves firing lasers at said district, which predictably leads to innocent people dying. This government straight up doesn’t give a shit about its citizens.
— Not only is Lyde outraged by the injustice before his very eyes, he takes Nir’s words to heart. She had told him that they’ll eventually activate their Equipment if they have passion. Welp, ain’t nothing more passionate than righteous anger, so outta nowhere, Lyde becomes a Player.
— Imagine a metal plug just emerging from your body. That’s like body horror, man.
— With his newfound talent, he and Ritchie go straight for the huge mass of Earless. They even manage to blow a gaping hole through it. But here comes the plot twist: at the center of the mass is none other than Jimi and his Equipment… or is it?
— Upon closer inspection, Jimi seems to have undergone quite a makeover. So maybe it isn’t Jimi. Last week, Roz had told the Mu and Echo that Jimi was originally headed for the Mystics’ island when he was intercepted by Londinium forces. Either they gave him a sex change, or they’ve been using his DNA to create clones… and perhaps Mu is one of those clones. She might have been a previous iteration that they ultimately decided to discard. But then again, just throwing a valuable clone away — defective or not — seems kinda careless.
— Someone in the tower says that this attack is just a test run. “Mu” then fire a huge laser at the boys. Unfortunately, what we see next is a funeral for the two boys. We just barely met them and they’re already dead.
— Nir is already prone to depression, so she predictably blames herself for this tragedy. She feels that if she had never met the boys, they never would’ve tried to ride the Equipment. But more importantly, she doesn’t know anything about how Jimi was essentially kidnapped by Londinium, so of course, she assumes that Mu is responsible for killing her friends. I’m sure those two will be clashing in the near future… perhaps even the very next episode.
— What a bummer of an ending. Hell, I don’t think that girl that Ritchie liked even bothered to attend the funeral.