by Andy Pfeiffer,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Dr. Stone ?
Last week's episode didn't give me much to dig into, due to its transitional nature, but now that we've fully moved from escaping Tsukasa into Senku's attempts to rebuild a brave new world, hopefully things will begin to accelerate.
“There's always an idiot that will try anything.”
One of my initial complaints about the core group of Senku/Taiju/Yuzuhira was that Senku was the only one with much motivation. I get that they're trustworthy friends, but their secondary goal of being together had already been met and didn't give much room for growth. So while it seems odd to immediately dismiss two-thirds of the main cast so early on in the show, I applaud the choice now that we have a taste of what's currently replacing them. The stone world villagers all have their own ideals and ways of life, which finally gives Senku something—or someone—new to bounce off of.
While the quick friendship with Kohaku is nice enough (though I could do without the standard insecure strong woman gags), the real star of this episode is the interaction between Senku and the village sorcerer, Chrome. It starts as a one-sided contest, where Chrome does what looks like some basic snake-oil charlantry to impress, only to be immediately deflated by Senku's dull reaction compared to the other villagers. It isn't until the contest is over and Senku gloats over how easily he bested those elementary parlor tricks that he catches himself and the entire tone of the scene changes. He switches from punching down at Chrome's basic skills and turns to admiration for managing to develop them at all in the stone world. It's rare that this type of self-reflection and humility is highlighted rather than simply glorifying the protagonist's overpowered-ness, and it immediately positions Chrome as a more relevant and receptive vehicle to Senku's scientific explanations than Taiju was. That Chrome has also pushed himself in order to save Ruri also conveniently fills Taiju's role of striving to save Yuzuhira, thus making his replacement easier.
The biggest point in favor of this character trade is that it's a much stronger base to showcase Senku's ideals. While Taiju and Yuzuhira had a high school education from their time, Chrome is proof that no matter how hard Tsukasa tries to stop scientific progress, in the long run it's a fool's errand, since science doesn't just come from those that already know it. It comes from curiosity and effort, and as long as there is a goal or a dream, some will seek ways to achieve it. For Senku's new closest allies, Kohaku and Chrome, that means healing Ruri, so rather than Senku's companions aligning to his plans, we've reached a point where Senku has to work towards theirs. This mutual progress is another hallmark of the series, as Senku's recruitment plan isn't as simple as forcing domination or making them pay back debts after he uses his knowledge of modern science to fix their problems, but rather to completely incorporate science into their lives and improve their civilization as a whole. It's grand and audacious, but that's exactly what we need, and I can't wait to see how his influence transforms this future.
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