JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 28 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
Doppio and the boss may have succeeded in defeating Risotto, but their body has seen better days and Team Bucciarati is right around the corner, ready to pounce. Even with Bruno and Narancia investigating the scene, the boss' most dire problem is actually Abbacchio. If Moody Blues can replay the moment when the boss took a picture of Trish's mother fifteen years ago, it should be able to imitate his face and reveal his identity. Fifteen years is a long time for Moody Blues to rewind back, so the rendering time offers a race against the clock for both our heroes and our villain.
Long story short, this episode is about Abbacchio's death, as the boss manages to sneak his way around the cliff (and even trade places with an innocent child who gets disfigured in the process) to punch a hole through our hero's chest before he can finish preparing the replay. There's a ton of dread and buildup since we know the boss has to get away to fight another day, but I wasn't prepared for the consequences of this little excursion. There's some real class to the way this revelation unfolds (we've seen Bruno survive this same injury, so for all we know he's just wounded), and then we cut to a monochromatic scene where Abbacchio discusses his life choices with a police officer in what we can briefly assume is a flashback.
But obviously, it's not a flashback. It's an illusory moment in purgatory, and the man he's talking to is the officer who got killed because of Abbacchio's moment of weakness on the police force. The crux of their philosophical conversation is about truth vs. results. Abbacchio has a hard time grasping why somebody would pursue a case endlessly, even if they weren't getting anywhere, which starts to feel like the seed of his deepest regrets. There's a ton of emotional compromises being made here, where Abbacchio never got to feel happy with his life's vocation, envying those who could keep pursuing the truth after he gave up, but by virtue of his time on Team Bucciarati and trying to learn the boss's identity, he probably got much closer to that truth than he ever got to appreciate in the mortal world. The ghost of his old partner—beaming with pride over Abbacchio's actions—represents a type of closure. This is the point where Abbacchio should be allowed to forgive himself.
So his final call to action before passing on is to leave his team with one final message: a print of the boss's face in stone, because Moody Blues finished the replay in its last moments and used all of its energy to leave behind a "death mask." From my point of view it just looks like a generic face, so I guess we'll have to wait and see how they use this to move the investigation forward. JoJo's has given the Passione bunch more second and third chances at life than past ensembles, so it didn't feel like a guarantee that something like this would occur, but I also wasn't surprised by this outcome because consistently raising the stakes is important for this cast of characters. I remember at the beginning of Golden Wind that I thought the timing of certain characters' backstories was odd (like we got Abbacchio's flashback during a Bruno-centric fight), but the further we go along, the more I like the organic way these people have developed before our eyes. We don't know who's going to make it out alive or even who's going to end this series happy, but there's a truth and a poetry to their journeys regardless.
If I have one minor caveat, it's that this episode is notably conservative in its direction compared to last week. Everything feels much more flat and by-the-numbers, and only the final few scenes with Narancia crying and the gang discovering the death mask felt like the production itself was contributing to the emotional rollercoaster of the story. But this is a good episode and an undeniably important checkpoint in our heroes' adventure. Things won't feel quite the same after this.
Rest in peace, you grumpy VHS man.
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