Episode 5

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 5 of

It may be true that no two head holes are the same, as The Perforator says this week. Certainly he, Hondomachi, and Haruka are all reacting to their head traumas differently, although I feel we don't truly know, or at least understand, what Hondomachi's deal really is yet. But perhaps the statement is better taken less literally – what The Perforator may really be saying in a metaphorical sense is that no two cases of psychiatric trauma, or just psychiatric condition, are the same. Two people with diagnoses of anxiety may react very differently to the same stimulus, and while Haruka's head wound appears to have altered his impulses towards love and murder so that they cross paths inside his brain, that's clearly not the case for The Perforator, nor is it for Hondomachi. We may lump all three in the same category, but that's beginning to look like we're making a dangerous assumption.

Granted, it's kind of a tortured metaphor, and the more nit-picky among us are likely wondering why the hell there are three people with open wounds on their heads just walking around like bacteria isn't a thing. (Okay, we saw Hondomachi rip her bandage off, but still.) It's also a sign that ID may be trying to tackle a few too many crime show themes all at once – brilliant detectives and profiling and serial killers and rogue cops and psychoanalysis? That's a lot for any story, and this one seems to just keep piling things on with each passing episode. There's no certainty that it won't be able to pull things together – episode four, the strongest thus far, absolutely made good use of most of them – but the foray into more focused psychoanalytical content this week doesn't feel quite as balanced as last. That may be due to an increased focus on telling rather than showing – in episode four, we could draw our own conclusions as to why it was so important to who Sakaido is as a person that he desperately needed to save the little girl. Episode five is much more about Hondomachi talking out her theories before launching them at the suspect, which just isn't as effective in terms of storytelling.

That's certainly not to say that it doesn't work at all, though. The slow build towards the reveal of who The Gravedigger really is is definitely effective, from the way she can't stop looking at the blood from Hondomachi's wound (both on the body and on the tissue), the implication that she's still clutching the bloody tissue in her hand when she sits back down (note her clenched fist where the other hand is relaxed), and the shots of the house that let us see how totally impersonal it is are all very nicely done, as is the small detail of three cups of tea being out for two people, Hondomachi's partner never having entered the house in the first place. When this show is at the top of its game, it really knows how to play.

This is also evident in the links back to the first two episodes. Not only is one of the Gravedigging Duo a victim of the first serial killer explored, but two of the visuals from that case also make a return. The first is the dapper gentleman Jack, a man in vaguely 19th century dress with a pixelated face, while the second is the fact that victims who appear in an ID well may be somehow disguised. In the first case, the killer had melded with Kaeru, becoming whole, while in this case all of the victims appear as a single person with morphing features. Both of these depictions speak of the way that the killer sees his prey, either as no one person worth remembering, or as incomplete human beings made of interchangeable parts. Jack is a little more nebulous, as the name in English and American folklore is a sort of everyman placeholder. But his clothing may link this Jack more to the 19th century legend of the monstrous Spring-Heeled Jack, a sort of evil Batman figure often said to be a gentleman in his everyday life.

It'll be worth watching to see how and if these two themes continue to recur in the series. Even though this is the fifth episode, I feel like the show is still trying to reach firmer ground. That may be deliberate; only time will tell if that's a storytelling method that's going to manage to pay off in the end.


ID: INVADED is currently streaming on FUNimation.

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