by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 21 of
“In which our hero loses the battle but wins the war.”
After leaving the rest of the group behind at the end of last episode, Jail makes his way to the capital to meet with his father. But this time, the Jail that stands before him is far different than the one who reluctantly left on his mission to capture Licht—lest his men be executed for protecting civilians during the helicopter attack. At that time, Jail was a soldier who had just realized that the government he served was evil and was unsure how to fight back.
Thanks to his time in the past, Jail now knows the truth of the world: that his country and people are sustained by the suffering of others. Licht's approach to solving this is an anarchist one—kill the rulers and crash the floating continent, come what may. While Jail agrees the status quo is indefensible, he doesn't want the innocent people of Althea to suffer any more than he wants those in the Abyss to.
But before any meaningful strides can be taken to peacefully reincorporate Althea and the Abyss, the evil government responsible for everything must be toppled. But there is one major roadblock in that plan: his own father.
What's interesting is that Jail could easily win his fight with Alex. His entire time in the past, Jail conditioned his father to believe that he had a fatal weakness—that he telegraphed his moves. This lures Alex into a false sense of security and gives Jail one guaranteed hit. While Jail could use his phero-kinetic abilities to make this strike lethal, he does not. This is because Jail decides to believe that his father is still the good man he always knew him to be. And his faith is rewarded.
Even when Alex uses his explosion powers on Jail, it's not fatal—nor even enough to fully incapacitate him. All it does is leave Jail to be forced to listen to Alex's motivation. He tells Jail about the hell that the world was before Althea—about how a man murdered Alex's children in order to feed his own starving baby.
Everything he did was to create a world where this no longer happened—even if it is built on the suffering of another world endlessly living a similar tragedy. He knows what he helped do was evil but he believes it better than what came before—he has to in order to continue living.
While this story is meant to force Jail to back down, it does the exact opposite. It proves to Jail that he may have lost this fight with his father but he will win the war. Alex can't kill Jail. Killing his son would destroy him—it would topple the foundation he has built his immortal life on.
But Jail's willpower isn't built on such a flimsy base. While it was once built on fighting evil, it is now built on doing good—standing up and being the hero the world needs. Nothing can change this conviction—not after his time with Nana and his adventure through time. You can break his body but not his will. Therefore, as long as you let Jail live, you can never truly defeat him.
Alex realizes his loss—and while he can't turn back from the path he started down 300 years before, he can free Jail from the constraints that bind him. He discharges Jail from the army—just as Jail himself wanted—effectively making Jail subordinate to nothing but his own sense of right and wrong. Yet, at the same time, Alex leaves Jail a fresh uniform—a connection to his past and a symbol of hope for the future of both Althea and the Abyss.
• Doan is not the same high school bully from the past arc. It's clear his experiences in the war changed him greatly. The only way he can find meaning in the hell he went through is by making sure it doesn't happen again.
• I honestly question whether this is actually Schmerman at all—and not something controlling his body or the like. While he may claim in this episode that the no-killing army was a lie to weed out the weak, we know better from seeing his arguments with the other officers 300 years ago.
• It's interesting that people remember both the old timeline and the new—though it seems to be that only those who were alive 300 years ago do.
• As she is the child of an Ace, I really wanted to see what would happen if Hina took the Ace drug.
• Want to do something interesting? Go back and watch Pele's face in the second half of the episode. His reactions don't tend to match Hina and Lynn's.
Plunderer is currently streaming on FUNimation.
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