Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Death Note 7

"Justice will prevail!" So says KIT (Kira Investigation Team). Meanwhile, Justice is off falling in love with Sidney Poitier, who she firmly believes will rescue her from a dreary life of selling handmade bead necklaces. How convenient! Now there's no one to stop Light but Light himself. And that would just be silly. L, oblivious to the Light/Penbar subplot, conducts his little test, clearing all members of KIT from suspicion of being Kira. Sorry, no "Is Afro Dude Kira?" subplot. That's one of the drawbacks of revealing things like "Light is Kira" and "this guy is L" to the audience. Even if your characters would logically jump to wrong conclusions - not that L would in this case - taking them down that path would bore anyone who knows it's a dead end. So we get no innocent suspects, and the investigation moves that much closer to Light.

Thirty Death Gods agree: watching Light try to kill someone who's given him a fake name is high-larious. Light is confused when Miss Penbar resists his Awesome Death Powahs, but quickly puts two and two together to suss out why. Problem is, how the hell does he get her to give up her real name now? As if asking for it the first time wasn't suspicious enough. If he didn't have the Death Note, he'd have no reason to suspect she hadn't been honest with him, so he has to think up a convincing cover story. At this point, if L had made public the fact that Kira needs a name and face to kill, Light would be sunk. Of course, that was indirectly covered last episode under "if news outlets stopped reporting actual names/faces of criminals, Kira would kill innocent people." Still, he might've told the FBI, saving all those agents and preventing us from ever meeting Miss Penbar, precluding our caring what happens to her. Ow, paradox.

Watari revealed! L's mysterious liason shows up unmasked (what does he wear that so shields his face? It just looks like he's in shadow all the time, but that's not it), and presents KIT with shiny new police badges. Complete with shiny new names. Somewhat belatedly, L decides his operatives need some sort of protection from a guy who can kill you, as far as they know, with a look and a name. L's chosen few are so moral that they take a moment to debate whether it's ok to use fake names. It's a short debate, but damn, these guys are by the book. "Gee, do we really have to deceive people just to avoid having our hearts asploded by Kira?" Yes! Yes, you do! Oh, they also get high-tech belt buckles. Matsuda approves!

Miss Penbar decides they'd better head back to police headquarters in case someone has shown up. So, wait, they were just going for a walk? Um... ok. Light's panicking, and when Light panics he gets really, really dumb. Mesomorph dumb. He has to think before concluding that turning his cellphone off would prevent having to let her talk to his dad should the elder Yagami suddenly decide to call. His next thought is to use physical violence to acquire his would be victim's legal name. Because that wouldn't have any consequences. With Light cycling through his options, desperately searching for one that doesn't suck, Ryuk brings up the eye swap again, apparently because it amuses him. Light isn't so desperate that he'll consider it, a point in his favor. And then the person who's about to unwittingly expose Light as Kira tells him she can make it the rest of the way on her own. D'oh! Now, not only does he need to explain how he knows her name is fake and why he needs her real one, he has to make up a reason to keep following her. After panicking a bit more, Light's confidence returns. And with it, a plan.

Knowing that he can't allow her to reach headquarters, he endeavors to change her mind about going, using lies that are closer to the truth than he knows. He tells her KIT's membership is secret, that they can't be found at HQ, and that he knows because... dun dun dun! He's part of the team. She seems to buy it, but continues on to HQ nonetheless. As if psychic, L chooses now to suggest that someone from KIT be present at HQ at all times. Then we cut back to Miss Penbar, who reveals she worked with (and is a huge fan of) L before. Light flatters her, invites her to join KIT, flatters her some more, and through a surprisingly simple ruse, gets her real name, Misora Naomi. It's disappointing that he panicked so much when the solution was 90% smooth talk, but the ending makes up for it. Right up there with the Ray Penbar scene. In seven episodes, Light has cemented himself as a legendary villain. And there's plenty more to come. Next episode: Voyeurism and the potato chip as an accessory to murder.

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