The Millionaire Detective - Balance: UNLIMITED
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 7 of
The Millionaire Detective - Balance: UNLIMITED ?
There's something really satisfying about the moment when a purported detective show starts being about an actual mystery. This one has been leading up to that point for a couple of weeks now, but it's here in episode seven that The Millionaire Detective finally starts exploring the reason behind Daisuke's determination to be a cop. As we all likely suspected last week, that has a lot to do with the murder of his mother, Sayuri Kambe, nineteen years ago.
To say that the case is being set up like a Golden Age puzzler is probably overstating it, but the comparison more or less works. We've got the murdered wealthy housewife who had rented a separate home several months prior to her death, the mother-in-law who stonily refuses to answer direct questions about her son's marriage (or her son's whereabouts), the reveal that the son, who was naturally involved in the development of a potentially shady new substance, purportedly killed himself, and of course, the three cops: the one who took the fall for who knows what, the one who got promoted, and the son of the deceased. And of course we've still got the murdered Imura and the whole business with the Poliadorean embassy gumming up the works.
If we step back, the fictional South American country element is likely tied into the substance the elder Mr. Kambe was developing – its name even sounds a bit like the name given of the country. Since Daisuke doesn't have the clearance to find out anything about Poliador's tech or the funding his family provides, it implies that whatever his dad had been working on was something beyond top secret – and that in turn suggests that despite his suicide note, the man may very well have been murdered in order to keep that secret. It's almost uncomfortably similar to the death of Imura last week in that no one can find out anything about it beyond “it was probably ____.” In the case of the elder Kambe, the blank can be filled in by “suicide;” whereas for Imura's situation, someone's going to a lot of trouble to make it look like the blank can be filled in with Daisuke's name. Granted, he helped the mystery villain along by the way he got Imura arrested, but that may just indicate that his framer knows him very, very well.
Meanwhile we have to consider what we learned from the extensive sepia-toned and letterboxed flashback. One of the major details is that Cho's former partner is now the head of Haru's old division, the prestigious First Division, and that despite his protests in the past, he has always been ambitious – so much so that he may have been willing to give up on “cheap justice” if someone in a high enough place told him to. (That it doesn't sit well with him almost twenty years later says a lot about what he was willing to sacrifice in himself to get ahead.) Cho, meanwhile, hasn't ever given up on finding out the truth behind Sayuri's death, something he has pursued doggedly ever since he was first assigned to it. But perhaps the most important piece of information is that someone really didn't – and still doesn't – want the truth known.
At this point I don't think Granny has anything to do with it; her unwillingness to answer Cho's questions back in the day seems more likely to have stemmed from fear that something would happen if she spoke up, possibly to Daisuke. But it's also possible that she feared for her son, who may very well not be dead – I've read at least four mysteries where dental records were switched out to suit the corpse, so I wouldn't write Daisuke's dad off just yet. But from this point forward, we're going to need to see Daisuke and Haru (and Cho as their crusty mentor) use that friendship they established when Haru took Daisuke in and the trust they've built in each other. Money alone may not be able to fully get them where they're going – although it helped this week with their little VR trap – but solid detective skills alongside gadgets just might. I'm really hoping that the show can build on these past three episodes to create a story that relies more on mystery than the first few did, because while the rest of the series has been okay, this is the episode that truly made me say, “I'm hooked.”
The Millionaire Detective - Balance: UNLIMITED is currently streaming on Funimation.
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