by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Psycho-Pass 3 ?
Psycho-Pass 3 has been a strong outing for the series from the get go. This has largely been due to the series' willingness to explore all the various facets of Sibyl's dystopian world. I mean, in this season we saw a subprime loan scandal, the attempted murder of a pop-star-turned-politician, and a religion that literally worships the “A.I.” that controls society. And behind all this is the exploration of a crisis that the real world Japan faces even now: how a homogeneous country deals with immigration.
All the while, we've had an almost entirely new main cast—a cast who's proven to be both interesting and enjoyable. Then on the other side of the coin, we've had a new group of villains who are both intelligent and easy to hate due to their despicable way of gaming the Sibyl system by getting innocents caught up in their crimes. Honestly, it's some of the best “hard” sci-fi I've seen in a while…which is why it's so disappointing to see it limp over the finish line.
In last week's review, I worried about the difficulties of tying up all the loose ends in a single 45-minute episode. I needn't have worried: The episode didn't even try. Rather than a season finale, this episode felt like the start of just another arc.
This is doubly disappointing given all the major plot threads left hanging.
- What really happened to Akane?
- What happened to the two detectives Kei and Arata replaced?
- What is the full extent of Sibyl's newest nefarious plan?
- What exactly is Bifrost?
- Who are Azusawa, Shirogane, and Homura—and what are their motives?
Giving us the answer to any of these would have at least given us a climax of sorts—both a reward for getting this far and a way of raising the stakes for a sequel. In absence of these answers, however, and without a completed plot, we're left with a question of our own: what is the TV series Psycho-Pass 3 really about? If we look at these eight episodes in a vacuum, who's story is it? It's not Akane or Sibyl's. It's not Frederica or her team's. It's not about Mika nor is it about the enforcers on her team. It's not even about Arata (despite the revelations that surround him).
In the end, this TV series is Kei's story—the story of how he lost his way. From the start, Kei's been a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. He's acted straight and serious but the injustices in his world—the xenophobia and social ostracization—ate away at him. They caused him to lash out at first enemies and later friends. The events of last episode, the torture he received and the pain of seeing his wife in danger, have all but broken him. Then in this final episode, he's given his final push.
Kei desperately wants to solve the murder of his brother—to expose all those involved and see them brought to justice. But he sees his wife's involvement in the last case as a betrayal on Arata's part. Of course, there was no way Arata nor anyone else could have suspected, much less stopped, her kidnapping. But Kei's out-of-control feelings have caused him to doubt Arata and everything they've done so far. At this point, Kei feels he is alone in his mission. Thus, when given the chance to get the answers he so desires (and to free his wife from detention) he barely hesitates—betraying Arata, his coworkers, and everything he has worked for so far.
That is the real climax of the show. When it comes down to it, Psycho-Pass 3, as a TV series, is not about a mysterious shadowy organization or a system made up of human brains that decides your fate on a daily basis: It's about the battle inside one man's heart. And it's a battle which the better part of him loses.
- While I have no doubt the punch last episode was real given all that Kei has been through, there is always a chance that all the arguments after that are part of a trick—that Kei and Arata decided to act like they were having a falling out so one of them could go undercover and infiltrate the foxes. (Though given how that would destroy Kei's season-long arc, I hope I'm just overthinking things.)
- Kei's not the only compromised member of the team. While Mao may have come clean, I have no doubt she's so rage-filled that she could very well betray the team if the foxes promised to help her kill the man who killed her husband.
- Yayoi interviews each member of Mika's squad about the meaning of justice and gets a telling response that drives to the heart of each character:
- Mika: “Human justice has no value. Doubt not God, test not God. Sibyl's justice and values are beyond consideration.”
- Todoroki: “I mean, it's kind of an embarrassing word to say. But those who use it in earnest really shine.”
- Irie: “It's a word losers shout a lot. My dad died believing in that word.”
- Mao: “Risking our life to protect others. I've realized recently that that's what justice means to us.”
- Sho: “Everything I know about justice I learned in CID Unit One from Inspector Tsunemori.”
- Arata: “I honestly don't know what justice means to me personally. But I can't control the truth. I won't run from the truth so that I won't go wrong.
- Kei: “It must be upheld. That's why I live without self-deception.” (Says the guy now consumed by it.)
- Heading into any sequel, we basically have five forces working
- Homura and Kei
- Azusawa, Shirogane, Chiyo, and the two elderly soldiers
- Mika, Unit One, and Sibyl
- Frederica and her Ministry of Foreign Affairs strike team.
- Akane, Yayoi, and her allies spread across the other teams.
- I won't actually believe Yayoi is dead till I see her body in a coffin—and maybe not even then as holograms exist
- Look, I know the scene between Kogami and Akane was pure fanservice but it was still great to see them playing off each other in a conversation filled with both emotion and hidden meaning.
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