by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Fairy gone ?
“Powerless Soldier” brings us to the end of Fairy gone's first cour. With the series set to resume in October, you'd think that this mid-series finale would give the show the narrative propulsion it so badly needs, and maybe set up the threads for the second arc in a manner that renews the audience's interest in Fairy gone's woefully undercooked cast. Unfortunately, this episode doesn't accomplish any of that, but this shouldn't be a huge surprise to anyone.
Like last week, almost this entire episode is devoted to powering through basic plot points and checking in on an action scene now and again, so as to keep the excitement level at an absolute bare minimum. Beevee continues to wreak havoc with his Cerberus-looking Fairy, Free and Marlya do their best to stave off the coup, and Duke Diese and Wolfran skulk their way toward the throne room. There are some decent cuts of animation, such as the glancing blow that Free lands in his big fight with Beevee, and it's clear overall that some effort has been made to improve the action compared to the past few episodes, helping the perfunctory action scenes to at least pass quickly. Unfortunately, Beevee is such a painfully generic villain that this undercuts the coup's potential dramatic tension. As he cuts through nameless soldiers, Beevee spouts horribly corny battle dialogue such as “Now, time to raise the curtain!” and “Are you…dirt!? Or are you pebbles?”, and he's grinning the whole time, so you know he's crazy. As a villain-of-the-week, Beevee might have worked well enough to kill some time with a fight scene or two, but he's way too lame to function as one of the story's main bad guys.
The poor dialogue hurts the heroes as much as the villains. Fairy gone has always struggled with developing its heroes in ways that don't involve just having everyone spout off their backstory and emotional conflicts, and this week is no different. The closest thing we get to any kind of character arc would be in Maryla's struggle to balance her hatred of violence with her desire to avenge Ozz's death. Never mind that Ozz getting killed was never going to be a strong enough hook to hang Maryla's growth on; it's near impossible to take the script seriously when it's putting so much weight on lines like “fighting is always scary”, which is all Marlya has to say when she sees the dozens of bodies Beevee has left in his wake.
So outside of fighting, none of the episode's main characters have anything interesting to do, which leaves us with Wolfran Row and Duke Diese. How does their grand coup play out? With a betrayal, of course! When the Duke arrives to claim the vacant throne, he's greeted by Ray Dawn, who skewers the noble on his spear for his troubles. It turns out that Wolfran was a double-agent the whole time, and he led the Duke to his doom on behalf of Ray Dawn and the Empire. This is supposed to be some kind of climactic twist, but it falls completely flat because we've been given absolutely no reason to be invested in any of this. Wolfran is hardly a character at all – he's been given the most cliché tragic backstory around, and outside of mourning his dead family, he's had maybe a dozen lines of dialogue since his introduction. Are we supposed to be shocked that he's betraying the Duke, a bland villainous politician that we don't care about, for Ray Dawn, an only slightly less bland villainous politician that we don't care about?
If anything, the Duke's death just makes this whole coup feel even stupider in hindsight. After weeks of hullabaloo about the malfunctioning Artificial Fairies and the Duke's nefarious plot, Fairy gone ends its first cour by essentially resetting everything back to the status quo. The day is saved, the villains are dead, and the only thing we got out of the journey is that Ray Dawn will probably have a bigger part to play later in the series. Oh, and Ozz died, can't forget that. The biggest example of Fairy gone's shortcomings lie in these final moments, when you're supposed to be wondering what crazy twists the show will come up with in its next twelve episodes, but the only thing I could feel was vague irritation that the show wasn't over for good. With all of this Duke Diese nonsense concluded, at least the show will have a chance to start fresh come October. I don't know if Fairy gone is capable of redeeming itself after wasting so much time and potential in twelve weeks, but I've gotta hold out hope if it gets voted into the review roster again.
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