Lupin the Third: Part 5
by Rose Bridges,
How would you rate episode 22 of
Lupin the Third: Part 5 ?
Episode 22 further deepens our understanding of Enzo and PeopleLog. While the Elon Musk comparisons remain obvious, it turns out Enzo has a more sympathetic motivation for creating PeopleLog after all; he wants to use it to find his long-lost kidnapped daughter. That doesn't keep him from being the most imposing adversary the Lupin gang has faced, forcing them into absolute hiding to keep them away from the app's tracking power. What's more, Enzo even exploits the app's shortcomings to try and drive Lupin away from his allies, starting with Goemon.
First, let's talk about that whole "missing daughter" plot. As soon as it was revealed that Enzo suspected his daughter was trafficked into child porn, it was obvious said daughter was Ami. That background is just too specific not to draw the connection. What's more, Ami's mysterious past and her super hacking skills would make her an obvious choice of family for a tech mogul. It also establishes why she insists on being referred to as "Ami," not "Amy," if her mother was Japanese—because that was likely the name she gave her, and now that her mother is dead, it's become their only connection. Ami's backstory turns out to be even more tragic than we expected. But seeing as Lupin has become her replacement father figure/crush, this reveal could serve to really shake up the story going forward, as everyone's loyalties are tested.
Goemon is distraught by the information available about him on PeopleLog, listing him as Lupin's "underling." As longtime Lupin III fans know, Goemon's never been just a loyal servant; he follows Lupin of his own will and frequently clashes with him. This episode even includes flashbacks to old classic episodes to remind us of this dynamic. It's the most direct way this season has played into viewer nostalgia, presented in a really cool way. And like all of this show's nods to the past, it's also an Easter egg that won't confuse new viewers, only better illustrating the pair's convoluted history.
Lupin has to explain to Goemon how the app works, with the "underling" info given an "E" grade, meaning it's unreliable. Unfortunately, Enzo later gets to him by pointing out that the app does give a high grade to a statement that Goemon is an "item" that is "part of Lupin's collection." This enrages him and leads to the old frenemies dueling. It's a thrilling bit of action, even if, as Ami points out, this maybe isn't the best time to be fighting. The face-off ends with Lupin seemingly dying, although this is now the fourth time this series has relied on this fakeout for a cliffhanger. The next episode preview doesn't even try to deny it this time.
Meanwhile, Fujiko and Zenigata are both lingering around the edges. Fujiko is interned at Enzo's estate in a literal cage, but she still seems to be able to live in her lavish way, using her conversations with Enzo and his underlings to gain information about them for her own aims. (This is where we first learn about Enzo's daughter.) Later in the episode, she does her usual routine of standing back out of feigned disinterest as a way to "show her love" for Lupin. As she explains to Ami, if she holds Lupin back, he won't be satisfied. That makes sense, although she seems strangely blasé about his injuries at the end. Maybe it's because she knows as well as the audience that he'll bounce back from it. Zenigata's role is a bit more interesting, considering that he seemed to be allying with Lupin last week out of mutual concern about Enzo. But he's ready to arrest Lupin again this week, and his lieutenant Yata even calls him out for giving Lupin too many chances and obsessing over this case to the detriment of everything else. (Come on, Yata, you must know the reason why.) So they end up using the advantage PeopleLog gave them to corner Lupin, though Zenigata might not be completely happy about that. His shifting loyalties reveal just how complicated this new app makes his way of life.
This episode is mostly setup for the final two, so it focuses on plot/character stuff more than last week's spotlight on social commentary, but there are still a few moments worth discussing. We see more of the international conference Albert is attending, where everyone is concerned about the implications of PeopleLog on national security. The group in question seems to be the EU, and there's a bit of realism in how the EU's specific set of Internet regulations comes up with respect to PeopleLog. through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU has much stronger protections for individuals' privacy and information-sharing than the United States. The GDPR enshrines the right to control how one's personal info is used and shared as the "right to be forgotten." There are already concerns about search engines like Google in light of this, and PeopleLog would take that several steps further. I liked this bit of real-world reference, and I hope it also means that Albert gets more involved in the main conflict by season's end. Plus, Shake Hands having a shadowy island lair for its HQ rather than existing in a major city or tech mecca like Silicon Valley is explained by that island being a "tax haven." Of course!
There's a lot going on this week to set us up well for a tantalizing final pair of episodes. All our characters are drawn into the action, from our core cast to the Part 5-specific characters we've grown to love across these 22 episodes. Ling is even starting to pull the testing-loyalties trick on Jigen, who seems to be taking it better, but we'll see how that plays out. Enzo finally has a compelling motivation beyond just being a parody of idealistic Silicon Valley tycoons, and it comes with a connection to the main cast. Part 5 is putting all its pieces into place for a thrilling checkmate.
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