The Fall 2022 Preview Guide
Spy×Family Part 2
How would you rate episode 13 of
Spy×Family (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.5
What is this?
Agent Twilight, the greatest spy for the nation of Westalis, has to infiltrate an elite private school. In order to do so he assumes the identity of psychiatrist Loid Forger, adopts an orphan girl, and marries a city hall employee. Unknown to him, his daughter Anya is a telepath and his wife Yor is an assassin. The three learn to become a family while working to complete Twilight's missions and maintain world peace.
How was the first episode?
I'm a simple man, okay? Spy×Family's season premiere is all about the Forger family adopting a dog, and that was always going to make for a good time. You make that dog into a big ol' Great Pyrenees that says “Borf” and can freaking see into the future with his clairvoyant powers? Well, then, you've got yourself an episode of television that I will be legally obligated to love and respect. As if there was ever any doubt.
Now, I won't go so far as to say that “Project Apple” is as pitch-perfect a premiere, and that mostly has to do with how much the “Spy” half of the equation takes over the proceedings, while the “Family” stuff plays second fiddle. Don't get me wrong, I love the way that Spy×Family can balance out its sitcom shenanigans with genuinely thrilling capers, but I just didn't find the plot to assassinate Foreign Minister Brantz with bomb dogs to be especially interesting. The bad guys in question were fairly generic, and while I have always appreciated Sylvia Sherwood's design on an aesthetic level, the serious-business scenes she shares with Loid are the ones that I was waiting to be done with so we could get back to Anya and Yor's dog hunt.
Granted, once Anya and her new canine bestie are stuck together and on the run from the assassin thugs, Spy×Family is at least able to exploit the generic setup for some great action and chase scenes. Studio Wit and CloverWorks are putting in the good work, as always, and the results are consistently fun, frantic, and memorable (I had to rewind and applaud Yor's Pinball Death Kick a few times before I could properly sit down to write this preview).
So, yes, Spy×Family is back, and it's as good as it ever was. Hell, once this dog becomes a central part of the cast, I can see the show surpassing its previous run, simply by virtue of doubling the already potent Adorableness Quotient that Anya and the Kid Crew have been carrying on their shoulders up until now. I'd tell you to make sure to add it to your Fall Watch List, but let's be real: We were all of us always going to be tuning in for Spy×Family, though it's never a bad thing to have your assumptions confirmed so early in the season.
How can you make something better? Add a dog! That's what Spy×Family is up to in this first episode of the second half, and given the pup's performance, I think we can nominate him for best boy – he's not even the Forger family pet yet and he's already saving children and doing his absolute best to keep Anya alive. Naturally he's also won my heart by being a rescue dog; while we don't know a lot about him yet, we do know that he was probably part of the mysterious Project Apple, which was experimenting on animal intelligence to use for governmental ends. That could explain the dog's precognition, which makes him even more perfect for Anya, given the strong implications that she, too, gained her telepathy via a shady, unethical government project.
It also means that the dog and Anya have complimentary powers, and that seems to be working out for them so far – the pup thinks something and Anya picks up on it, and if his flashforwards aren't all that detailed or clear, they do still give the dynamic duo an edge, as we see when the dog realizes that the bad guys will be distracted by the phone ringing long enough for him to take the girl and run. He's also apparently had a vision of the entire Forger family looking down at him, which hopefully will mean that he'll figure out that Yor is on his side once he gets over being freaked out by her amazing display of badassery.
Speaking of Yor, this is already a much stronger start for her than almost anything we saw in the first season. Yor's at her most deadly when protecting someone she loves, and even if she's wrong about why the K squad (anyone else notice that their names all begin with K or a hard CH?) have Anya, her intervention is very timely and impressive – her movements are great in the whole episode, from her springing into the ceiling to coming in like a deadly whirlwind to save her daughter. Loid's missing most of the action (taking a long time to “shit on the shitter,” per his daughter), but since it gives Yor a chance to shine, it's hard to object. And given the number of potential terrorists and their bomb-equipped dogs, it may take both Yor and Loid to ensure a happy ending – for everyone.
Needless to say, this is a fine return, with everything we loved about the first season firmly in place: good action scenes, slick animation, and Anya being Anya. And hey, it's even got a great message – adopt, don't shop, because you never know when your rescue dog may be psychic and able to save your child from death at the hands of villains while thwarting an international terror plot.
This episode of Spy×Family is all about introducing us to the soon-to-be newest member of the Forger family: a dog. Of course, this being Spy×Family, the dog can't be a normal dog. No, it has to have some hidden skill the rest of the family (sans the mind-reading Anya) can't find out about—like, say, having precognition.
The dog is honestly a great character. While we see it do heroic things, the fact remains that it is a coward at heart. After all, it's easy to act brave when you have seen the future and know what danger to avoid. It's those times between flashes of the future where it's much harder to show courage. And the fact that the dog is much smarter than your average dog lulls you into forgetting it is still a dog. Anya can tell it to take her to the police but it's not like he knows where that is—or maybe even what that is. I can already tell this will be an endless fount of humor going forward.
On the other side of things, the dog is also an important foil for Anya in the dramatic sense (as well as in the comedic sense). While the first season established that Anya loves Loid and Yor and cares deeply for them as her family, it's important to remember she is fundamentally different from them. Sure, in terms of their profession they are special, but all their abilities come through training. They're just normal humans in the end. Anya is not. She is quite literally superhuman. This is why having a dog with mind powers in her life is so important. While they are not the same species, the fact that they share psychic abilities goes a long way to show that she's not alone in the world—that she's not a freak. And for a girl that has been as lonely as Anya has in her short life, this is something vital.
Quick and dirty review: if you liked SPY x FAMILY before, you will continue to like it. If you disliked it, you will continue to dislike it. If you haven't seen it at all, well, episode 13 is kind of a weird place to start, don't you think?
I've enjoyed SPY x FAMILY since episode one, nay, chapter one, and this episode offers more of the same very good thing. It's a touch formulaic, since we've had episodes that follow this story almost beat for beat before: Loid is trying to play the role of father while out with Yor and Anya but gets pulled away for spy business. Anya and Yor get separated. Yor searches frantically for Anya while her imagination gets away from her, but Anya is in a completely different kind of trouble than she's thinking of. When it looks like this is it for Anya, Yor finally finds her and uses her super-strength to take out the villains threatening her.
The difference here, however, is that there is about to be a new member of the Forger family: a big Great Pyrenees mix whose precognition powers tell him that he is about to go from just another misfit to being loved and treasured. His and Anya's bond is instantaneous as the two connect through their psychic abilities and their mutual need to love and be loved. I'm a sucker for a good dog story, especially in the rare case where the child in question is a girl, and I might have teared up once or twice during the episode. There's a reason I don't watch dog movies – no matter how cloying and hackneyed they are, I'll still cry, and I prefer to save my tears for things that deserve it. Like thinking about Laika, the first dog in space, or Budweiser commercials about horses set to “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.
Sorry, what was I saying? I had to get up and go find some tissues.
Anyway, SPY x FAMILY is the same show it always was, and that's a good thing. Plus, we have a couple of shiny new theme songs, including an opening by BUMP OF CHICKEN, which always makes for a happy Caitlin.
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