to the abandoned Sacred Beasts
Episode 5

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 5 of
to the abandoned Sacred Beasts ?

So far, the case of each Incarnate that Hank must deal with has centered on some particular problem that a soldier faces trying to reintegrate back into society after a difficult war experience. That continues in this episode with the case of Christopher Keynes, the Gargoyle, whose situation is basically the polar opposite of the Minotaur. Whereas the Minotaur could not forget his fear, Christopher cannot forget his all-consuming drive.

In the Civil War, Christopher was the gung-ho one, the soldier who could inspire everyone with his strong sense of justice and righteousness. When it comes to fighting a war, such traits are both useful and admirable, as the conflict can be more easily boiled down to fighting on the side of justice against an unjust enemy. However, outside of a military setting, things aren't so black-and-white, which is something that Christopher is unable (or at least unwilling) to accept. The war so inured him to using deadly violence to promote justice that he unthinkingly resorts to violence to stop a child stealing food, then discovers that he finds that acceptable. In other words, he's basically what you would get if Javert from Les Misérables completely went off the deep end, but unlike Javert, his nature as an Incarnate assures that once he crosses that line, he will be unable to consider another way, leaving no internal conflict driving him to suicide. He's both unrepentant and unwavering until the very end.

This time, however, other parties are directly involved. Schaal is more integrally involved in this case rather than just being a witness again, and as Hank suggests, she has difficulty pulling the trigger against someone she has no feelings of vengeance toward. This can be seen as a weakness, but as Hank points out, the dirty business of killing the Incarnates should not ever fall to her; that is his responsibility. We also a greater sense of why Hank tolerates her presence; she reminds him of Elaine at a comparable age. The much bigger and more impactful intrusion is Cain Madhouse's entrance onto the scene. Gargoyle may not be working with him per se, but Cain is definitely using him to mess with Hank indirectly before confronting him, and now Schaal's caught in the middle of this. The next episode preview suggests that she is not imminently at risk, as the Spider Elizabeth does not harm her and seems more interested in talking with her, but she is serving as a lure to force Hank to play along with Cain's twisted game – whatever his short-term goal may be. It also looks like the youngish military officer seen briefly at the end of episode 2 may also finally enter the picture in the near future.

Then there's this episode's dose of fanservice: the boy who pulls Liza's top down to expose her was fulfilling an outcome that seemed inevitable since she first appeared in that ridiculous outfit. The scene is such a sudden switch to comedy that it creates a jarring tonal shift, though fortunately that does not last long. The episode otherwise plays things straight, and I don't see that changing soon. I am concerned about how Cain's introduction might shake up the format of the series, since it definitely looks to push the story further in the direction of an overall plot, but for now it's still a largely faithful adaptation exploring sufficiently compelling themes.


to the abandoned Sacred Beasts is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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