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Jellyfish Can't Swim in the Night
Episode 10

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Jellyfish Can't Swim in the Night ?
Community score: 4.0

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I'm of two very differing minds on this episode. It's pretty good by the standard Jellyfish has set for itself. There are funny moments with Mei, complemented by the energetic direction that goes the whole hog on its punchlines. It's got some great dramatic moments—including the wonderfully awkward climax. It even offers some important moments for characters you wouldn't expect. This all-around well-done episode achieves everything it sets out to do. Yet by the end of it, my faith that this show would deliver on any of its big emotional ideas became more precarious than ever.

Let's start with the stuff that works. It's a great idea to focus on Mei. While it might make sense to jump straight into Yoru and Kano's headspaces after their falling out, JELEE's other two members need to play a part in all this drama too—and Mei needs meaty material. She also exists in a unique position within Kano's life—the one companion who's known both “Nonoka” and “Kano” and come to love both. Having her be the catalyst for yanking Kano out of her shame spiral is great and I especially love how viciously cringe her climactic song is. It's positively painful to listen to which is perfect for the raw and sincere declaration necessary to break through to Kano. It's such a powerful sequence that I don't even want to question the logistics of Kiui somehow getting from Shizue's apartment to Kano's place in less than two minutes, motorbike be damned.

Similarly, I enjoy a lot of what we get from Kano. While I'd have appreciated more time inside her head, framing the conflict from Mei's perspective still works. There's a big whirlpool of conflicts inside her right now, but the part that she's most fixated on is how she hurt Yoru the same way her mother hurt her. It's also forced her to confront why she started JELEE. Was it to show her worth to her mother? If so, what's the point of keeping on when Yukine just sought out Yoru instead? With all those feelings knotted up inside her, it makes perfect sense that such an earnest declaration of love from Mei, the one person who's seen and accepted both versions of her, would get her to come back. It certainly doesn't solve everything, and there's a lot to patch up with Yoru, but it's a good start.

Speaking of Yoru...well, that's where my worries start to bubble up. We get very little from our resident artist this week, which isn't necessarily bad, but it doesn't help the lopsided focus from last week. We more or less know what Kano's thinking through this whole episode, and she gets something resembling a resolution, but Yoru has maybe 60 seconds of combined screen time—and it doesn't exactly paint her in the best light. She knows enough to understand Kano is going through some crisis but does not attempt to talk with her. The generous interpretation is that she's still hurt by what Kano said, or feels guilty about the situation, but then we see she was watching the livestream at the end of the episode and she's... smiling. Like, what? Your music collective nearly broke up in your absence—partly due to a personal conflict involving you—and you're not upset or surprised or even slightly conflicted about it? You'll just get back to work like all's well ends well, I guess?

I'm not asking all that to judge Yoru as a person but rather to highlight that I have no clear idea what she's thinking, and that's a massive problem when so much of the emotional stakes revolve around her relationship with Kano. Without that emotional clarity, I worry about where the show is going. I can't help but imagine some twist where Yoru ends up dedicating the SunDolls' performance to Kano or making some other grand spectacle to “fix” their relationship rather than having the important conversations this story needs. It wouldn't be the first time the show skipped critical steps for a more traditionally dramatic conclusion but it would be the most disastrous.

I hope I'm wrong about that. Jellyfish is dealing with potent, intimate emotions that deserve equally intimate exploration—but half of the equation is missing. As we enter the final episodes, I can't help feeling anxious about how it will all shake out.

Rating:

Jellyfish Can't Swim in the Night is currently streaming on HIDIVE.


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