Space Dandy Season 2
by Miles Nelson,
Like some previous episodes, Space Dandy Season 2 Episode 11 “Dandy's Day in Court, Baby” is an example of the show trying its hand at a particular genre: in this case, the courtroom drama. The premise is great; Dandy has been accused of murder, and all the evidence points to him being guilty. Unfortunately, while the central mystery of the killer's identity is engaging and clever, it severely under utilizes the main cast. Despite being the accused, Dandy remains effectively uninvolved with the trial for 99% of the episode, and the characters that should pick up the slack (the judges, prosecution, witnesses), while not poorly written, are simply not interesting enough to justify Dandy's absence for nearly the entire episode's runtime.
At least the set up is excellent. Dandy, bound in handcuffs, sits silently as the prosecution tears into his character, painting him as an unscrupulous opportunist, willing to go to any lengths to earn a bounty. Dandy's case isn't helped by the fact that he has indeed treated people poorly in the past, including his own crewmates. QT and Meow's turns in the witness chair are hilarious, (“Yes, I always thought it wouldn't be strange for him to commit a crime” says the beleaguered robot). Their testimonies, combined with what we already know about Dandy, make the notion that he could have killed someone disturbingly plausible. Unfortunately, Dandy's silence during the trial means that we never get to hear him defend himself. Instead, the episode focuses on the alleged victim Guy and his wife Rose (who works at Dandy's favorite restaurant, Boobies,) as well as several key witnesses. These characters actually touch on some mature themes, such as the difficulty of finding employment for the middle-aged, and the nature of friendship in the modern social media landscape. While none of these subjects are examined with much detail, they are all (briefly) explored in a funny and interesting manner, and serve to spice up the otherwise by-the-books courtroom drama.
The conclusion of the trial is satisfying and makes sense, wrapping up the mystery and providing closure for the episode-specific characters. The most exciting part of the story, however, comes immediately afterwards, in the form of what might be the best cliffhanger Space Dandy has ever done. This final twist is foreshadowed by an earlier mention of the fictional Pyonium particle, which has been linked to Dandy many times over the course of the series. Space Dandy seems to be implying that the connection between our eponymous protagonist and Pyonium will play a major role in next week's finale, and that for once the “to be continued” message at the end of this episode is meant to be taken literally.
In the end, episode 11 is a bit of an odd duck. While the courtroom drama at its center is well done, it wastes a tremendous opportunity by not having Dandy play a more active role in his own trial. While the twist ending is great, it would have been more effective if the episode before it had been just as engaging. “Dandy's Day in Court, Baby” is by no means bad, or even mediocre, but as the penultimate episode of the series it falls short of the high standards set by earlier entries. However, it is those same earlier entries that give me faith for next week's finale. With everything that has come before it, I can't help but think that Space Dandy will go out with a bang.
Space Dandy Season 2 is currently streaming on Funimation.
Miles Nelson has been watching anime since 1997, and writing about it since 2013. You can read some of his articles at My Geek Review
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