Twin Star Exorcists
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 48 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?
Man, if there was one thing I definitely wasn't expecting to see in this third-to-last episode of Twin Star Exorcists, it was a full-blown musical number about hope and love, sung by a demon to a flabbergasted Rokuro. Leave it to Suzu to spice things up in her own weird way, I guess. While I definitely appreciated the strangeness of Suzu's musical interlude, it clashed with the more solemn tone of the episode, and perhaps more damningly, it was this week's only bright spot. This wasn't as disappointing an episode as last week's, but it was definitely undercut by sloppy execution and half-baked ideas.
For starters, I still don't like the direction they've taken Benio's character in these final episodes. While I get that she was technically the first one to do the rescuing, having Benio turn herself into Abe's damsel in distress so Rokuro can be saved feels so lame. Even though Twin Star Exorcists has always indulged in clichés, this particular turn of events just feels out of place with everything that's come before. I understand that the show is just splitting these two up for them to come together again at the very end, but aren't there at least a dozen better ways to have done that? Having Rokuro save an unconscious Benio from the Evil Bad Guy's clutches just comes off as cheap and lazy.
Speaking of lazy, the group's final push on Abe's stronghold was a fun sequence in theory, but it was marred by rushed and lackluster storytelling. This kind of dramatic, no-holds-barred attack on an enemy base should take up at least half an episode, but instead it was all crammed into the last four minutes or so. Not only did this end up feeling anticlimactic, it really hurt the impact of the character sacrifices too. I'm fairly certain nobody has actually died yet, but the other Exorcists are definitely incapacitated. Having each of them take on impossible odds or fall to the enemy over the course of an entire episode could have been effective and emotional. Cramming it all into a single short scene makes the hasty dispatching of every single exorcist come across as almost comical.
Sometimes a bit of jarring comedy can work, it just has to be intentional. While Suzu's scene didn't quite pull that off, it still felt more purposeful than the rest of the episode. My only gripe with the out-of-nowhere musical number is that it only highlights how much of a mystery Suzu still is. She's been appearing on and off over the course of two dozen episodes, yet we still know absolutely nothing about her. Her motivations, her background, her allegiance, her relationship to the main plot of the story – all of these details remain firmly out of reach. With only two episodes left, it's hard to imagine how the show might address her character satisfactorily, if at all.
That's really the biggest problem I have, not only with these episodes, but with this final storyline in general. Despite some anomalous bright spots, these last ten or so episodes have easily been the show's weakest offerings since its rocky start almost a year ago. The conclusion of an epic, 50-episode series like Twin Star Exorcists should feel bombastic, climactic, and satisfying. Some weeks, such as Rokuro and Yuto's final showdown, we have gotten to see a glimpse of that unrealized potential. For the most part though, TSE has been underwhelming me. I still like this show, and I will defend it in spite of its numerous shortcomings, but I wish I wasn't feeling so pessimistic about it – not when we're so close to the end.
Twin Star Exorcists is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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