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Black Butler: Public School Arc
Episode 5

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Black Butler: Public School Arc ?
Community score: 4.4


I did wonder how this episode would deal with the fire Ciel set. In 1889 (a date we get confirmation of this week), there were organized fire brigades and horse-drawn fire engines; they had to be pumped by hand—but things were far from the old bucket brigades of earlier centuries. It would have taken time for them to get there from the closest town, of course, so the boys running for buckets still made some sense. I did not anticipate that Soma's elephant would perform both of those firefighting methods, which, upon reflection, was very silly of me. Also, that poor elephant. He was not made to be moved at the speed of Sebastian while loaded down with his weight in water.

The more important issue is that Ciel's plan to smoke Derrick out didn't work. None of the five boys who “transferred” to Violet Wolf House came out of the building, which means that Ciel's base assumption about the case was wrong. More tellingly, Sebastian says he doesn't “sense any souls” inside the building once it's been evacuated. It's an interesting choice of words: it implies that if Derrick and the other boys are still in there, they're not exactly alive, although Victorian mysticism varies on whether or not a soulless body could still be technically alive. Violet's genuine look of fear when the other three houses prepare to go into his to fight the fire may imply that he's got their soulless bodies stashed somewhere—most likely at the Head Master's behest. His drudge's furious reaction to both the proposed entry and his prefect's eventual agreement to it suggests that Violet Wolf House has something more to hide than messy rooms.

That makes it even more imperative that Ciel finds a way to meet with the Head Master. The most likely option right now is to somehow distinguish himself at the upcoming June 4th cricket match but he notes that he's not exactly gifted in that arena. Luckily, he still has Sebastian posing as the master of his house, so “pulling strings” really shouldn't be something he's worried about. But the visibility of being in the cricket game comes with other issues, namely that he's about to become much more visible to the outside world—who may or may not already be aware that he's at Weston and why that is.

Naturally, this is an excellent opportunity to bring Lizzie in, which is, in my opinion, a mixed blessing. Yes, this is where I'm about to get historic costume pedantic—because, from the neck up, Lizzie is glaringly inaccurate. Pigtails weren't a style (or at the very least not something you'd wear in public if you were nobility), and her silly tiny hat is more Goth than Victorian. (She also wouldn't pick up her skirt to curtsey—hands followed the shape of the skirt belling as you dipped; to lift the skirt is both gauche and crass.) Fortunately, most of the other outfits, including her military-style bodice, are more appropriate—although Clayton's sister Adela's neckline is jarringly modern; they could be that low, but then the sides would have formed more of a sweetheart shape rather than allowing the cleavage to be visible through a narrow slit.

Still, Lizzie and her family showing up is probably important, even if her voice is like nails on a chalkboard. Having one person on campus aware that Ciel is putting on an act is one thing; adding Soma was mildly dangerous. But now there are five people present who know that Ciel is up to something and that increased number means that there are more people who could inadvertently screw things up for him—or put the pieces together about Derrick and the queen being involved. Since it's looking very grim for Derrick, having these extra people risks whoever is behind his disappearance getting nervous. It's a good thing that Sebastian is there—as he says, he's one hell of an educator, and whoever is disappearing boys is badly in need of an education.


Black Butler: Public School Arc is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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