Kamen Rider Drive
Who Does The Warrior Fight For?
Before we start, let's just refresh our memories of last week's bingo:
This week was definitely one of the better episodes of this series so far. I'm not going to talk too much about what actually happened, because the plotting was incredibly dense this episode and this review would be about eight-thousand words long if I did. I have about as much inclination to write that as you have to read it.
Dense plotting is good, though. At the close of the last episode, we were left with several looming problems: A group of criminals creating and smuggling an illegal explosive compound, the meddling of the Public Safety Bureau, Chase doing his thing, a powerful Roimyude addicted to said illegal explosive compound (and his mate), and perhaps most importantly, Shinnosuke poisoned with a deadly neurotoxin.
For all that my opinions of this episode are mostly good, it does begin with two things I absolutely hate: The cliffhanger resolved within the first few minutes, and Deus ex Machina. Specifically, after escaping Chase and Brain with the help of Dream Vegas and a river (checking that off the bingo), Shinnosuke is almost immediately healed through the use of the Mad Doctor shift car. I'd warrant that we're never going to see it again, either - and quite possibly that we'll never see Brain's deadly neurotoxin again either.
|Friendly reminder that we never saw the Medical Switch used again|
We did get a nice scene in the hospital afterwards though, where Mr. Belt tells Shinnosuke about a scientist who created something for good reasons and had it used as a weapon instead - prompting Shinnosuke to surmise that Belt was the scientist, only to be rebuffed with 'Nah, his name was Nobel. Gave his name to the Nobel Peace Prize.'
Which is sort of true. Alfred Nobel created dynamite to use in mining work and clearing debris, not to be used as a weapon, but he was involved in several armament companies, and he was certainly aware that it could be used as a weapon. He was, however, so bothered by people's totally understandable concerns that his dangerous invention was dangerous - remember, while much, much safer than just using nitroglycerin on its own, early dynamite would still explode if subjected to physical stress, and in heat would 'sweat' nitroglycerin (which isn't good for you) and then explode (which is also not good for you) - that he considered naming it 'Nobel Safety Powder'.
From there we move straight into a plot about the Public Safety Bureau shutting down the Special Crimes Unit to protect the evil explosives-creating company, who they're in cahoots with. It's not a plot that lasts long - it's a twenty minute episode, after all, and they have to spare time for fight scenes - but it's pretty effective, as we get to see the Special Crimes Unit actually doing some police work, along with the reveal that Rinna was a double agent for them all along, subtly slipping them information that they could use in their investigations.
I even liked the Chief in this episode, even though I normally despise him. He played the role of eccentric but ultimately competent leader of a group of oddball detectives to the hilt this episode, and I'm interested to see the inevitable episode where he actually does some detective work of his own and (presumably) reveals how surprisingly adept he is at it, since that's how this always goes.
|Also, the Chief is very tiny.|
We didn't have much villain time this episode, but what we did have was good, establishing Brain as the angry tantrum-y hot-blooded one of the Evil Power Couple, and Heart as the calmer, more calculating one. With Chase as their slightly weird best mate who they just want to set up with that nice Kamen Rider boy.
The fights were actually pretty good, too. I've been a bit leery of the Drive fight scenes as a whole - they don't tend to be very well choreographed or paced. But the Type Wild fight scenes were actually pretty great. Shinnosuke vs Chase was a lot of fun (and now that Chase has been rather decisively defeated, I wonder what's next for him - because usually a decisive defeat in Kamen Rider means that you're done doing villainous stuff, even if you don't actually die, since there's little actual conflict left in you facing off against the protagonists), and the Bad CGI fight between a giant snake and a ... dune buggy? Is that what that car is? Anyway, that was actually pretty fun as well.
I watched Kiva. I remember how bad CGI fights can be.
|Also, nice suit design. I prefer it to Type Speed.|
As the episode ended, we discover that actually Rinna was in on the Kamen Rider schtick all along, and was their chief mechanic. It makes sense, someone had to be - and I'm wondering now if actually the entire Special Crimes Unit is in on it, and Shinnosuke just doesn't know, and one by one they're all going to be revealed as having been involved all along.
Shinnosuke's reaction is hilarious, though. He's so sulky. I actually am really starting to like Shinnosuke, between the last episode where he was basically a one man snark machine, and this episode where he's kind of petulant and sulky. Also, I like tall characters, and they keep juxtaposing him against people who only reach his chest. I'm shallow.
Next episode, we have the standard 'a journalist wants to know about kamen rider' episode, including a bitter, angry journalist who may end up turning evil.
In the meantime, here's this week's bingo:
Less spaces filled in than last week, but still, we're making good progress. See you all next week.