by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 702 of
One Piece ?
Let's take a break from last week's flashback within a flashback in favor of a different flashback within a flashback! Yeah, the lives of troubled children is just kind of what this show does.
In this episode we jump back another few decades to explore the lives of the Donquixote family, fresh off of their departure from the Celestial Dragons' holy land. Doflamingo's father, Homing, has elected to remove his family from the lavish lifestyle of the world nobles in favor of a more “humble” living among the hard working regular folk. I really like Homing. You can tell how well he means and how much he just wants to see his family happy and healthy and full of character. He does not deserve all the awful stuff about to happen to him.
Unfortunately, living as a former noble is a lose-lose situation. It turns out the regular folk have nothing but grudges against the Celestial Dragons, who have historically hurt and killed a lot of people over petty, selfish reasons. No one wants to listen to Homing or believe that he's one of the good guys, and the Donquixote family of four find themselves the victims of lynching and their home destroyed. In a fit of desperation, Homing makes a call trying to get his family back into the holy lands, but is rejected under the condition of his family now being seen as traitors of the royal bloodline. Things really backfired for the man just trying to do the right thing, and it's really tough to watch as the situation gets worse and worse.
This is an episode that's just interesting, wall-to-wall. We see Doflamingo and Corazon (whose real name we learn is Rocinante, continuing the Don Quixote references) as children and, more importantly, we get to see a bit of an arc between who they were as kids and who we know they grow up to be. Considering the noble lifestyle he led, Doflamingo being a precocious, spoiled child makes sense. He's never once been given a reason to believe he should accept anything less than the most lavish. There's a scene in this episode where he's confused as to why his family is no longer living with slaves, which is pretty spooky coming from the mouth of a little kid. We know that Doflamingo as an adult is a pretty smart guy, which only furthers how dangerous he is as a man who grew up to have his hatred and resentment of the world go unchallenged.
But Corazon, on the flip-side, appears to have been a pretty shy and cautious child. He's young enough for new things to make an impression on him. Between Corazon and Homing (the mother of the family isn't given much presence), Doflamingo and his sociopathy definitely make him seem like the odd one out.
Back in the present day (not the present-present, the past-present) our little Law is being fully embraced as a member of Doflamingo's pirate crew. We montage our way through two years as his disease consumes him more and more. This episode would have been interesting enough as is, but it eventually leads to a pretty gnarly twist: Law's real full name is “Trafalgar D. Water Law.” What “Water” means is still a mystery, but any One Piece fan knows that the middle initial “D” is no small detail.
This is gargantuan. Law is officially in the company of people like Luffy and Gold Roger, a type of end-game chosen one. This is a pretty intense reveal because it changes everything and rewrites the rules for what we know is possible. This definitely feels like the kind of storytelling decision that was figured out by Eiichiro Oda after Law became an absurdly popular character, but that doesn't take away from how dramatic of a surprise this is.
This revelation also stirs the pot in Law and Corazon's relationship, as upon hearing about this Corazon nabs Law off to the side and speaks for the first time, breaking the mute illusion. “If this is true, you need to get out of here!” he says. It turns out Corazon might be hiding a few secrets of his own...
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