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Episode 20

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 20 of
Spy×Family (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.4

The most surprising thing about this episode is easily Anya's school assignment. “Interview someone whose job you think is neat” is an assignment I remember having in elementary school, although I admit to taking the Becky (and Anya) route and just going to work with my dad and picking a random radio station employee to talk to. But then, my dad wasn't hiding a secret profession as a spy, nor was my mom an assassin masquerading as an office worker, so my options were in no way as exciting as Anya's – and she's hoping to take full advantage of that. Or, well, partially advantage of that, thanks to Yor's intense imaginary scenario of training her daughter in the way of the assassin (I don't think we're going to see the spin-off series “Briar Princess, Starlight Anya, and the Bloody Daggers of Doom” any time soon). That Yor barely sees anything wrong with her fantasy of taking her daughter to work is what really makes the scene, though – we can guess from the pixilated intestines (?) that she's concerned that it'll be too gory for a little girl, but apparently assassin training is a-okay otherwise!

It's a good thing Anya's psychic, because that extended bit of terror is what prompts her to choose Loid, or rather, Twilight. Not that that goes much more smoothly – by the end I'm pretty sure Loid is wishing he'd taken his (fake) colleague up on that psychiatric test she offered Anya. Anya aside, the whole thing does raise an interesting question we haven't really had space to ponder before: is Loid actually working as a psychiatrist in between missions? The answer appears to be yes, which is at least a little alarming, because if he is in fact an acting psychiatrist rather than a psychologist, that means he can prescribe meds. Sure, his spy life has probably made him better than the average bear at assessing people's mental states, and Sylvia clearly wouldn't have sent him in without any training whatsoever, but the thought that he's seeing patients at all is a bit alarming.

It may, however, help him in his role as a father, even if he doesn't realize it. When he comes back into his office after talking with the woman from the ending theme, whose role will significantly expand next week, Loid sees Anya's last-minute toybox mess and freaks out. Psychologically speaking, the box to him signifies that her psyche is in utter turmoil, the disaster to end all disasters, which – when he thinks about it – makes a lot of sense given the upheaval in her life. (Her comment about the lack of operating room equipment and brain machines in his office is a chilling little reminder of what her life was like before, not that Loid gets it.) But his first thought is that he's a failure as a spy for not dealing with her mental health sooner, which is significant because he is failing, but not Anya: he's unable to realize that he's afraid that he's doing a bad job as a father. Yes, he needs Anya for his mission, but all of his inner-voiced concerns are parental in nature, as is his offer to swing by the bookstore and buy Anya her favorite series. If Loid's failing at anything, it's understanding that the Forger family is much less of a forgery than he thinks it is – for all four of them.

This storyline is the stronger of the two that make up the episode. The back half, where Anya becomes obsessed with a secret code from her favorite cartoon and goes wild distributing it to people, also has that ring of childhood truth; even today I see the same behavior when kids first read Louise Fitzhugh's book Harriet the Spy. (And yes, I definitely went through the spy phase after reading it.) The punchline – that only Franky takes it seriously when he's the one person who shouldn't be – is decent, but it doesn't really do much for the characters or the story. It's cute, but following on the heels of Sherlock Anya convincing a psychiatric board that ghosts are real and in their ceiling, it can't quite keep up. But that's okay – not every bit of every episode needs to knock it out of the park, and we've got plenty to look forward to when night falls next week.


Spy×Family is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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