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Monday, 1 December 2014

Kamen Rider Drive E8: What Is The Secret That Dwells In The Heart?

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 8
What Is The Secret That Dwells In The Heart?

Alarmingly, this isn't an episode about Heart hiding something from his fellow Roimyude, like a surprise party for Brain or something like that. I know, I was upset too. It's very upsetting.

Anyway, here's last week's bingo:

Last week's episode was a bit of a disappointment for me, and I was hoping that this one would be better. Picking up from a cliffhanger in which Chase had shot an energy arrow at an unprotected Kiriko, this episode has the triple plotlines of Shinnosuke and Kiriko trying to protect reporter Takasugi so that he can talk fellow reporter Kusaka out of helping an evil machine monster; Shinnosuke and Kiriko's own conflict with each other; and Chase wondering why he can't bring himself to kill Kiriko (and also sometimes hallucinating her).

The episode is a pretty even split between 'people talking about things' and 'fight scenes'. The talky sections are good but could use work, I think, with some good interactions between Shinnosuke and Kiriko, as Shinnosuke is angry at Kiriko for putting herself in danger and Kiriko is distant with Shinnosuke because she's upset that he didn't want to take her to visit his old partner (and given the theme of partners in this episode, because it makes her feel that he doesn't really value her as his partner). The conflict between Takasugi and Kusaka is also set up pretty well, albeit through the medium of flashbacks, which I usually rather dislike.

As is often the case in Drive, though, these storylines aren't explored to their full potential. Take Double's Xtreme arc as an example of this: The second episode of that arc has Shotaro and Philip separated, and despite only having twenty minutes of episode time and a fight scene of considerable length to fit in, the show still has time to explore that separation deeply, showing Philip seeking a new partner in Ryu and being rebuffed, Shotaro working on his own, and an eventual reunion and reconciliation. Not only that, but it's woven into the mystery plot of the episode, both overtly (Shotaro's solo investigation reveals the identity of one of the two monsters-of-the-fortnight) and in subtext (the monsters-of-the-fortnight are 'partners' in the sense that they're a literal married couple.)

In Drive, Kiriko and Shinnosuke's conflict is solved by Mr. Belt pointing out some flowers and Shinnosuke having a flashback to his being unintentionally dismissive at her earlier a day or two prior. 

That's a really nice blanket.

The Takasugi and Kusaka plot is wrapped up a little more to my satisfaction, with an actual conflict between the two as Takasugi attempts to shake Kusaka out of his bitterly villainous quarter-life crisis, but even that seems a little abrupt, as Kusaka's betrayal by his camera monster friend seems to instantly render him deeply regretful about putting many, many people's lives in danger and outright attempting to murder two people. Why? Did the Roimyude actually have him under some kind of mind control? Because mind control was never mentioned. Did being suddenly but inevitably betrayed remind him that murder is wrong?

The Takasugi and Kusaka plot also doesn't seem really applicable to the Kiriko and Shinnosuke plot. Shinnosuke hasn't destroyed the police station and tried to murder Kiriko, after all, he's brushed her off while he goes to visit an injured friend, and in so doing devalued their friendship. They aren't long-time partners who have separated because of a traumatic event, they're recent partners who are still feeling out their new working relationship. There's not a gigantic amount of overlap between these two partnerships.

(Also, this episode has more Special Unit shenanigans. Ya-a-ay.)

That microphone doesn't even have a wire connecting it to anything.

As for the Chase plotline, I actually can't really fault that. The writing is good, the acting is good. Having a character hallucinate someone in the middle of a fight has been done before, often, in Kamen Rider, but it's still pretty effective, especially the implication here that Chase struggles keeping Kiriko in his mind (the whole symbolism of the fire obscuring her face and all). So that's really good. A++ there. 

10/10 would be weirded out by fiery hallucination Kiriko again.

The fighty half, meanwhile, is mostly composed of two fight scenes, one between Chase and Shinnosuke, and one between Shinnosuke and Camera-y Roimyude. The Chase vs Shinnosuke fight is - pretty uninspiring, to be honest. It suffers from the same problem as their very first fight, that being that the tension gets completely sucked out of it by several phenomenal pacing blunders. As much as I did like Shinnosuke questioning Rinna about why the Door Gun had to be opened and closed to reload it, it did pretty much destroy all the tension and suspense of the fight. 

The Shinnosuke vs Camera-y Roimyude fight is a lot better, though, with a surprisingly enjoyable Bad CGI Chase Scene and some good use of the Door Gun, as well as a very flashy finisher. It also had the advantage of being a lot shorter than the fight scene preceding it - short enough that it didn't outstay its welcome, so to speak.

The episode ends on a pretty nice note, too, with Hayase and Kiriko meeting for the first time, and the two of them pretty much immediately forming an alliance for mocking Shinnosuke. I won't be surprised if I see people writing Hayase/Kiriko fics in the next few days.

Okay, let's look at the updated bingo for this week. I'm counting the opening as a crossover, since it does include characters from multiple series interacting:

Next week, we have a new body type for Drive. We only just got Type Wild, so that seems a bit quick, but okay.

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