Dr. Stone
Episode 17

by Andy Pfeiffer,

How would you rate episode 17 of
Dr. Stone ?

It's to be expected that after two big episodes we'd have to slow back down, and that's exactly where we are this week as we spend more time fleshing out the Stone World. The majority of the episode picks up right where it left off last week, with Byakuya and the space crew showing their survival chops. It's a nice idea on how to reestablish the pace of the series, but honestly it's spending quite a bit of time with little to no new information.

Personally I didn't need to see everyone paired off into nuclear families and have various hair-colored children running around to understand that their descendants are the current denizens of Ishigami village. That's not to say I'm completely against how this played out though, as some of the character work here wouldn't land without that time investment. Byakuya and Senku's thoughts and line deliveries lining up was a strong moment that really did manage to convey how alike they are. What makes this even better is how well it establishes their differences as well.

Byakura's love of learning and optimism have passed to Senku, but he makes it clear that his son is his own person, and that person is much better suited than he to fix this messed up world. So in the end he does the best he can. He lives out his life. He watches others live out theirs. Together they create Ishigami village and the Hundred Stories and they pass away into the history they've created. Some in better ways than others, as we see a parallel to Ruri's situation with some of the astronauts succumbing to illness. For as much as I expect from this series I hadn't actually expected it to show the ultimate fates of the astronauts, and I very much respect that it did not shy away from the hard and young deaths that can come from such a life. It's easy to forget that thousands of years have passed waiting for Senku's arrival, and plenty of the villagers have met similar ends before he managed to save Ruri from illness, and whoever else from this point on.

Of special note is Shamil. Though we see only this small snippet of his life we are witness to his original disdain for frivolity, to choosing to sacrifice himself as someone with nothing to lose, and so on as he grows closer to the crew. Then we stay with him as he loses his wife, and soon follows as he loses his own battle with pneumonia. It was a difficult life, but, as he tells Byakuya, he had fun. It's a sobering moment, but is pretty explicit about where our story is and where it can go, and while we haven't got back to eating ramen in space just yet, I'm sure he'd be happy to hear that Senku already accomplished part of that.

Jumping back to the present, Senku now has to face the reality that his dad has truly tasked him to save all of humanity. The fate of all 7 million in his hands. However, he first has to come to terms with the fact that there is someone he can't save. I'm sure that he put those pieces together immediately upon hearing the name Ishigami, but it's another to face those feelings in front of your father's grave. To know what is expected of you and want so badly to live up to those expectations, all while knowing the person you'd want to see it never will. As cliche as his single tear is it's a wonderful reminder that yes, Senku is logical, but his logic is based on the honesty and reality of human emotion and there is no shame or disservice in that. Caring for others, working together, and having fun while surviving are the logical things to do. That's the belief of Byakura, and the purpose of his final gift to Senku. It's going to be a hard road, and the only logical thing to do is make sure Senku has plenty of friends on it. This is going to have to hold true now more than ever as we learn that Tsukasa is on the move. Gen's deception could only last so long after all, and what better way to show Senku and Ishigami village's new unified drive than to pit it directly against the strongest obstacle in its way.

Rating:

Dr. Stone is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.


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