“Overlapping Footprints in the Distance”
Lilium questions Jean about Suitsu and reveals that Jean is being shadowed by someone he knows. While on assignment in Birra Jean confronts Nino about watching him, though Nino assures him it’s not for the reason he suspects. Upon returning to Badon, Jean asks Nino watch over Lotta while he’s away on his next assignment in Rokkusu District. Once there, Jean is surprised to run into Chief Officer Grossular.
Playing a guessing game of what Jean knows or doesn’t know has been kind of fun so far, as each possibility raises questions along one line or another. Still, it seems that Nino had been genuinely beyond suspicion before this episode, as Jean reveals to Lilium that he had no idea he was still being watched. Though for being so unaware beforehand, he certainly does figure things out quickly once he catches on.
There is a rather interesting conversation with Birra’s district representative about their desire to thrive in the event that one of the other districts becomes more powerful that reminds viewers that the country’s peace may be rather tenuous. The highlight of Jean’s visit to Birra though, is when Jean finds out that Nino has been watching him.
Nino’s confidence in always being able to remain in Jean’s blind spot is crushed almost right away, and the next time we see them in the same place he’s hiding behind a tree whereas Jean confidently stands in the open and asks why he wasn’t invited to eat. Their simple conversation, with Jean only requesting Nino explain all this one day and Nino assuring him he’s not doing this for ACCA, seems to be all either of them need to quell their concerns. Nino is seemingly being used against his will, after all, and doesn’t seem to want his friend hurt.
Regardless of whether or not Jean holds anything against Nino, he cleverly sidelines him before his next audit by demanding that Nino take Lotta out to dinner every night he’s away. Rokkusu district doesn’t seem to have anything that mysterious about it, so the reason for Jean to keep Nino busy isn’t clear until Jean’s car passes Chief Grossular casually walking in a poncho (common for men in Rokkusu, I guess?). The cliffhanger of their meeting in the episode’s final moments raises so many questions that I’m practically counting down the days until the next episode. Either Jean and Grossular aren’t really at odds, as hinted at earlier during his conversation with Nino, or he’s planning to confront the Chief Officer about his suspicions. In any case, it’s sure to be good.
– Jean may be taking a more active part in his situation now that he knows about Nino.
– The mystery keeps building, and even without a lot of answers it’s fascinating
– It doesn’t hurt the series greatly, but some scenes pass without the viewer having much chance to absorb them. Eg: the two second scene with Mauve.
Every week I mention the slow pacing of ACCA. This late in the season, it is doubtful to change. With that said, I am beginning to consider that Jean’s monotone responses are actually adding to the narrative, rather than hindering it. It seems that I am constantly trying to deduce his motives, thoughts, and actions; coming up short after each attempt.
What I do realize is that the scenes unfold in such a natural way, with no real exaggerated gestures to distract viewers from brilliance that lies within a simple, well-executed scene. Similarly, the small, subtle information garnered from interactions between characters hint at bigger conflicts to come. Take for example the scene where Jean and Nino finally meet in the quiet, snow laden forest of Birra. This is the definitive moment where Jean confirms that his long time drinking buddy has been tasked with tailing him. Despite the absence of raised voices, angry accusations, and other attributes that indicate a confrontation, the scene still managed to be tense and dramatic.
Amid the web of lies and betrayal, Jean reaffirms their friendship in the end. Respecting the position Nino is in, Jean states “You aren’t the kind of guy who’d get me into deeper trouble. So just tell me about this someday, when you can.” After their confrontation in Birra, the pair of old friends are shown dining together with Jean’s sister, Lotta. It is during this meal that he asks Nino to essentially look after Lotta while he is away on his next assignment. So not only does Jean still value Nino’s position, but he continues to entrust his friend with the safety of his sister as well.
During the tense meeting in Birra, Nino also gives credence to the idea that both Director General Mauve and Grossular are not the suspicious antagonists viewers may have considered them to be. To be fair, everyone in this series is painting in various shades of gray; with not even Jean escaping suspicion. Nino casually mentions that Mauve respects Grossular and that he agrees with her. This has essentially become a chain of trust without knowing who, if any, of them are a weak link.
– Realistic drama without relying on exaggerated actions.
– Narrative is far from predictable.
– Jean… that is all
– Subtle foreshadowing may go unnoticed due to the repetitive use of monotone dialogue.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Part