Code:Realize -Guardian of Rebirth-
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Code:Realize -Guardian of Rebirth- ?
Now that it's been confirmed that the queen is indeed meant to be Queen Victoria, I have at least forty issues with her depiction. Fortunately for all of you, I'm going to be a good little Victorian buff and remind myself that if Victor Frankenstein and Abraham van Helsing can be working together in a steampunk version of the 19th century, Queen Victoria does not have to be historically accurate. In fact, should such a world exist, her efforts to preserve the British Empire might have looked a bit like they do here – manipulating the available technology to keep the Empire in its most powerful state. To that end, her use of the deadly poison Frankenstein developed for her own (i.e. Britain's) purposes makes sense. She sees the vampires as a threat to be dealt with, and this poison is the best way to do it, no matter what its inventor thinks.
Perhaps that's why she still seems to have a soft spot for the alchemist. Her refence to “that boy” when she talks about taking Cardia away from her current group of protectors seems to be about Finis at first, but by the end of the episode, it looks as if she might be thinking of Frankenstein instead. She clearly hasn't failed to notice how important Cardia is to his so-called gang, and Cardia being with him when he shows up at Buckingham Palace also doesn't escape her watchful gaze. It's also likely that she knows Cardia's Horologium is based on Frankenstein's poison, so it could well be that he's the one she's interested in toying with, not Finis. With the added information we get this week that Victoria's forces and Twilight are not working in perfect concert – they failed to stand down on Leonhardt's order, and he's the person with more authority in that situation – it's looking less and less like Finis and Victoria are working toward the same goals.
While this episode is primarily about poor Frankenstein and his tragic past, over which he still feels enormous guilt (he waits to explain it until Dracula is outside playing with Sisi), it's also a good outing for Cardia. Last week's train escapade was clearly the boost in morale she needed to start becoming herself, and the fact that she not only sneaks out after Frankenstein when he leaves the mansion but also brings a weapon to save him when he's attacked by the police shows an impressive growth of agency and character. Cardia is clearly no longer willing to just be an observer in her own life; she's not going to be the coddled and protected princess. If she can return the favors these men have done for her, she absolutely will, and she'll do it using her own skills. It would have been incredibly easy for her to just take off a glove or roll up a sleeve and burn the man with her poison, but instead she bashes him over the head with a pole, indicating that she's not willing to rely on that which makes her “monstrous.” Cardia is well on her way to becoming human, which is driven home further by her wish to Frankenstein that she someday feel his warmth with her own hands. It's a plea to become a regular person, someone who is allowed to live normally. More than Lupin's romance-based promise to Cardia, Frankenstein's promise to make that happen is a reassurance that she has a right to exist for her own sake.
Next week looks to be Impey's episode, so prepare yourselves for his not-as-unique-as-I-hoped habit of only wearing one sleeve – this week gives us a clear shot of Saint also having a hard time putting both arms through his sleeves. That seems a little too much to be coincidental, and I wonder if it's an ill-advised attempt to carry over that same style in period pieces set in Japan, which we do see relatively often. Whatever the reason, hopefully we'll get to know Impey a little better next week so that his fashion sense becomes less of his defining feature. Maybe he can also help Cardia find more ways to be human.
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