What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? (SukaSuka)
Episode 8

by Paul Jensen,

How would you rate episode 8 of
WorldEnd ?

While last week's episode set up the next big conflict for Willem and friends, this episode makes their upcoming rescue mission a bit more personal. In a meeting with a high-ranking officer, Willem learns that the surface expedition was headed to the ruins of his old hometown to retrieve a dug weapon. On top of that, the weapon in question might have the power to restore Chtholly's deteriorating mental state. As Willem prepares for the mission, his relationships with Chtholly and Nygglatho are brought into sharper focus. The stakes have also been raised for Chtholly, who discovers that she can still use her powers as long as she's willing to pay a high personal cost.

This feels very much like the calm before the storm. The stroll that Willem and Chtholly take through town is reminiscent of their first encounter, the kind of peaceful break that characters often get right before things hit the fan. SukaSuka is reminding us what the protagonists look like when they're happy, if only to make it hurt more when they're forced to face the reality of their situation. This should pay off in the long run, but it also slows down the episode's pacing. There's a noticeable lack of urgency, even though Grick and company are still stranded on the surface. That means the series will have to go out of its way to ramp the tension back up before the battle finally kicks off.

In addition to setting up some future drama, these leisurely conversations also clarify some important relationships. We finally get direct confirmation that Willem is harboring romantic feelings for Chtholly, and it looks like she's more or less figured this out as well. This is now less a case of “will they or won't they” and more a question of what Willem and Chtholly are willing to sacrifice in order to stay together. If it comes down to saving the world or saving his girlfriend, Willem may have some tough decisions to make. That progress is all well and good, but I'm actually more interested to see if anything comes of the frank exchange between Willem and Nygglatho. We essentially get a confession and a rejection as the two of them sip tea, though the whole process is almost too calm and rational for its own good. As much as I'd love to see Nygglatho throw a wrench into the works, I'm betting that we'll see her fade quietly into the background while Willem and Chtholly become official. It's a shame, as she's one of the more interesting characters in the show.

We also come away from this episode with a better understanding of Chtholly's situation. She hasn't actually lost her powers, but using them now comes with the cost of making more of her hair turn red and blurring the line between her and Elq even further. Since she's already claimed a spot on the rescue team, it's likely that she'll be forced to choose between watching her friends die in battle or sacrificing herself in a blaze of magical glory. Given that she doesn't think twice about using her wings to save one of the girls from falling off the roof, I think I have a pretty good idea of what she'll do when push comes to shove. The only real question is what Elq's role in all this will be. The outcome could change quite a lot depending on whether she's a malevolent spirit or just a lonely ghost girl. Either way, we're probably in for a lot of tragic self-sacrifice before this is all over.

This episode makes a clear tradeoff by stalling the progress of the main story in order to fill in some missing details. It loses narrative urgency and dramatic tension in an attempt to better define the stakes of the conflict, but it succeeds in getting that information across. The downside is that this period of buildup could have been dramatically shortened if SukaSuka had made better use of its time earlier in the season. At least we're (hopefully) done playing catch-up, and now the series should be free to go all-out in its remaining episodes.

Rating: B-

What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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