by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 142 of
Black Clover ?
One of the unfortunate but fundamental truths about humanity is that evil can perpetuate itself simply by establishing a chain of violence and retribution, a chain that can only be stopped when either a neutral party steps in or there is no longer anyone to continue it. That was a core underlying theme behind the whole arc with the demon and the elves, and as this episode shows, it didn't end with the elves passing on. It has only taken on a new form.
When Damnatio cast his accusations back in episodes 121 and 122 and that newspaper story about Asta went out, I figured that there might eventually be consequences for it, but except for some brief discussion during Asta and Yuno's trip home in episode 131, the matter has been almost entirely ignored. The episode “Those Remaining” picks up that thread by focusing on the impact that the attack of the elf-possessed wizards had on a typical Common Realm town. Whereas episode 140 tackled the matter from the angle of helping people recover physically from the aftermath of that death and destruction, this episode more emphasizes the psychological impact.
A lot seems to be going on here even before the attack, with some implication that the young woman Dazu might have both been in an abusive marriage and had mutual feelings for the female doctor; will be interesting to see if those elements come back into play again. Regardless of the truth of those matters, the attack of the elves is devastating, and drives both her and the doctor to seek vengeance on the devils responsible – in other words, going after Asta and Nero, as well as the more vulnerable targets among the formerly-possessed (i.e., Marie). They find a willing ally in an assistant of Damnatio who also lost family in the attacks, and thus the masked Devil Banishers are born.
What makes this story remarkable is how straight and serious the matter is played. These are not maniacal villains or buffoonish incompetents; they are just ordinary people who plan and gather information carefully and execute their plans with as little fuss as possible. No contrivances are required to put the protagonist on the ropes, either; for all his physical toughness and anti-magic ability, Asta's weak point is having no real way to defend himself from non-magical poisonous gas, and they went after Marie when the nun was away. (Bad move, as now they have Gauche highly-motivated.) Noelle simply gets thwarted at first by an older and more experienced person acting faster, though she does at least manage to save Asta from being carried off.
Though Damnatio is clearly still miffed about having to wait to pass judgment on Asta and Nero, he is so firmly committed to doing things with proper procedure that I cannot see him being very pleased by this turn of events; he looks to be playing a more integral role next episode. This is hardly one of the biggest threats that the Black Bulls have faced, but in some ways it could be one of the toughest, since their ordinary tactics of just beating the crap out of foes or winning through cleverness and teamwork will not work here. The root of this problem has to be addressed, or it will just keep coming back. The willingness to deal with this matter is what makes this a great episode, but I also liked how the episode used its normal prologue to segue into the issue.
As a final random thought, Dazu's magic is really quite interesting. She does not seem able to use magic herself but can borrow it from others and even mix magic from multiple sources. This could make her a great utility player, and I hope this arc is not the last we see of her.
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