My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X
Episode 11

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 11 of
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X (TV 2) ?

Among the many other things that happen in this episode, including the conclusion to the “Kidnapped Keith” storyline, we get a very firm reminder of why Catarina is so beloved. Geordo basically encapsulates it when he says that one of the things he loves about her is the way that she'll just jump in feet-first when someone needs saving. It was Keith this time, but we saw her do it for Raphael too, and she barely knew him at the time. Catarina is kindness and good intentions personified, and that allows her to even tame the dark familiar that Evil Lady was using Keith to generate.

Yes, our dear heroine has acquired dark magic without having to murder anyone, which honestly says a lot about her. We don't know precisely how she did it, or what the magic item Geordo bought her has to do with it – mirroring or reflecting back the power seems to be somehow involved – but it's looking like plain-old good intentions managed to imbue the dark familiar with something light. Or it was simply trying not to get beaten up any further; shortly before it takes on its new puppy form, Catarina does say something about how she would have been nicer if it had been something cute, like, for example, a puppy. (This, you may have noticed, is a bit of contradiction from early in the series, where Catarina remarks that in neither life has she had good luck with dogs.) But whatever the case, Catarina can now add “dark magic” to her list of those charmed by her.

It really is reflective of who she is as a person. While she did manage to wait until morning to go to the mansion pointed out by Alexander, she firmly puts her foot down when Larna announces that they'll wait for backup from the Ministry before venturing in. She's right that there's no guarantee that Keith can survive another two days, though Larna seems a little surprised by her vehemence. If this was a test run for Catarina joining the Ministry, her insistence on charging in could have backfired, although given Larna's personality, it may also have earned her an enthusiastic recommendation. (The new puppy pretty much guarantees Catarina a place, though.) Whether it's her seeing the sense of Catarina's words or the fact that Geordo backs her up isn't clear, but Larna does agree to just go in, which I have to say was probably a good idea. By the time they find Keith in the center of a virulently evil dark magic circle, Larna's barely trying to stop Catarina anymore; knowing her, she's probably just interested to see what will happen to the girl actively ripping dark magic “snakes” off of Keith's body.

Is it her lack of fear that allows Catarina to break through Evil Lady's spell? Is it the ever-popular Power of Love? I suppose that depends on where you fall on the suitor scale, although there's certainly no denying that Keith is in love with Catarina or that she loves him in one way or another. I think it's probably a combination of diffrerent types of love, because what really helps to bring Keith back from the brink is remembering that he does have a place to go back to, that he is loved and wanted. Evil Lady's magic was trying to get into his head and feed off of his insecurities; no wonder it manifested as snakes, because those fears were constricting him before swallowing him whole. The change into a puppy shows Catarina's answer to Keith's fears: warm, loving, and loyal with an abundance of energy and an appetite that won't quit. (My late dog was basically a stomach on four legs. Actually, almost all of my dogs have been.) She is able to transform the familiar because of her own and Keith's feelings, and that's really lovely.

Of course, she's also now been smooched four times without her consent this season. Geordo gets another one in this week, and Keith also manages to plant one on her as he's coming out of his fugue. That's not great, but I suppose allowances can be made for the time period (19th century-equivalent) she's living in. Things are really going to heat up between at least two of her suitors now, though. It's a good thing she's got a nice dog living in her shadow to help her out.


My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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