The Millionaire Detective - Balance: UNLIMITED
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 8 of
The Millionaire Detective - Balance: UNLIMITED ?
If there's one hard-and-fast rule that has never let me down in my years of mystery consumption, it is this: until you (the detective) have yourself actually poked the damn body to make sure it isn't bleeding or breathing, never, ever assume that it is dead. Even without that being one of the major clues in the gold standard of modern mystery, Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, it's good advice if you ever find yourself stranded in any kind of mystery where someone's presumed death is a major factor. While in the case of Daisuke's dad there wasn't an actual body to prod, the mere fact that “disappearance” does not equal “death” really should have come up before this episode.
It's actually particularly surprising to me that it didn't, based simply on both HEUSC and Grandma's behaviors. Gran was clearly hiding something she specifically didn't want Daisuke to find out (and “your dad's alive and he murdered your mom” is definitely something you don't want to tell a beloved grandchild), but HEUSC is really the greater indicator of his continued existence. Daisuke is supposed to be the person with the absolute highest clearance in the Kambe family, so the fact that he was suddenly being denied access to very specific information should have alerted everyone to the possibility that the elder Mr. Kambe wasn't as dead as they thought he was. Even if that didn't ring any bells, Suzue noticing that someone using his identity was breezing through the mansion's security moments before all systems were shut down should have tipped his hand – but everyone so firmly believed that he was gone that it proved a blindspot of massive proportions.
Well, not quite everyone. Cho seems to have at least suspected that the man was still lurking in the shadows based on his final showdown plans. And since he's been trying to put the case of Sayuri's murder to bed for almost twenty years, he's one of the few people on Daisuke's side in a position to know what might be going on. The catch is that he couldn't get anyone to confirm it because of their own fear of the man – and if he was the boss who ordered the two deaths we saw a couple of weeks ago as well as the death of Takei's father-in-law mere weeks after the investigation into Sayuri's death was called off, then they had very valid reasons to be afraid.
But Cho doesn't seem to have gone into this situation thinking he'd come out alive himself. (Unless, of course, he still is based on what his current boss saw at the end of the episode. He could be, despite the apparent evidence to the contrary; as I said, until we actually see his dead body, it's wise not to call it.) This is the case that has haunted him from day one, the mystery he just couldn't let go because of all of the suspicious inconsistencies and roadblocks that kept showing up. It may not be an exaggeration to say that he's spent the last nineteen years trying to force Kambe out of the woodwork and that he somehow used Daisuke to facilitate that.
Daisuke himself seems to be increasingly off-balance as things go on. It makes sense when we consider that he actually saw his dad standing over his mother with a bloody knife, which makes the fact that he was clearly a very normal kid prior to that stand out all the more. He's been one step behind his dad all this time, and even Suzue seems to figure things out a little before him this week with her realization that HEUSC is doing more than just refusing to answer questions. Probably his one moment of glory is when he realizes that the key is in the background of the photo Haru unearthed rather than in the badges around his parents' necks. But even his vaunted blasé air can't hold up to realizing that he's been deliberately kept from the truth for all these years.
We're clearly in the story's endgame now, and while I'd like to see a little more character interaction, specifically between Daisuke and Haru, who seem to be back where they were before their little sleepover, the mystery part is finally pulling its weight. At this point that's more than enough to make me anticipate the coming episodes – especially if they learn to check the bodies.
The Millionaire Detective - Balance: UNLIMITED is currently streaming on Funimation.
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