Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Death Note 4

Blah blah blah. "Last time on Death Note" runs longer than before. We get sizeable chunks of conversation this time. Then it's off to the Death God realm for... nothing of import, really. Not a complete waste of time, but all in all a slow start to the episode. But we ended on a cliffhanger last time, so let's see how that turns out... Light summarily declines. No Death God eyes, on account of he wants to live a good, long time. Okie doke. Things only start to get interesting when Light lectures Ryuk on the promptness with which he provides information, which further flags up the fact that Ryuk may have ulterior motives. That or his cluelessness isn't an act.

Light's still claiming to have humanity's best interests in mind, and encourages Ryuk to better his own world as Light is doing with Earth. I'm sure Light remembers that Death Gods can't kill each other using their Notes, so apparently he believes that what he's doing is akin to non-violent change. He's like Gandhi, only with killing instead of fasting. Same difference. After pontificating, Light goes back to his familiar, calculatingly evil ways. A test of his powers, and then, a trap. L sees what he's planning, generally, and moves to block him, but his suspicion of the police has not led him to take any measures to prevent an information leak, so Light's test succeeds and his trap, unforseen, proceeds as planned.

A curious thing happens this episode, and although there are followups in future episodes it is never definitively explained. Light makes one of his victims leave a note before he dies. Light claims the note is meaningless, yet it contains a secret message, which L finds. It begins "L, do you know," and in later episodes we get "Death Gods only eat apples." Not important information, or true (Death Gods eat more than just apples), but not exactly meaningless. So, is it, as Light claims, only there to mislead L? All signs point to yes, except... why reveal the existence of Death Gods at all? The notes themselves already mislead without the added message, and he could have chosen any number of less incriminating ways to lead him further astray. Of course, L takes much greater risks himself. I suppose Light considers this the sacrificing of a pawn to move closer to checkmate.

Light the ladies' man makes his first appearance, waking girls at the crack of dawn for a booty- er, innocuous date. Seriously, Light has no sex drive. He can get dates with ease, and if he couldn't, he could use the Note to manipulate women into liking him, loving him, or simply performing sexual favors for him. He wouldn't even have to kill them shortly after. There's no rule saying he can't write the time of death as "forty years from now" or further. In fact, I'm not sure he can't extend lifespans beyond their predestined endpoint. Smart as he is, he isn't very creative. His is a mathematical mind, as we see on Light's "date."

Special Agent Ray Penbar notes that Light isn't the least bit suspicious, thinks to himself "this'll be the last day I tail him," and then boards the same bus as Light, stepping into what is now a needless trap. Oops. I guess we shouldn't schedule Light vs. Deep Blue just yet. For a scant few seconds, I wish I were watching a romance show instead of this. In the former, the bus would actually make it to its destination, an amusement park called Spaceland, Light would actually want to be there, and there'd be lots of happy fun frolicking and cheery music. Instead we have a hijacking, a dangerous maniac, and lots of fear and cringing. Light's still happy to be there, but in a sick, twisted way.

I'm a little disappointed in how Light manipulates the hijacker to his death. He pushes the nutjob a little, but only so far as he has to in order for his directions to be fulfilled. The Death Note does all the work. Sure, it's perfectly believable this way, and safer for all but the hijacker, but it would've been nice to see Light win out using only his wits, rather than relying on godly power. Now Light has his shadow's name, but for the first time his shadow suspects something. One wonders how differently the series would've gone had Light not outguessed his opponent. Maybe the investigation would be resumed, since all other suspects would inevitably be cleared. But then couldn't Light act as unsuspicious as he usually does? And what if L went down a different avenue, finding this one bare, and the relief in pressure allowed Light to discover his opponent's name and face? Ah well, that's what you get with actions: consequences.

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