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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Canaan 11 - See Saw

The theme of this episode was love. Some shit does go down in this episode, but I felt that it was a bit of a transitional episode.

The episode begins right where the last one left off, with Natsume pointing a gun at Maria and Yunyun. Alphard comes to interrupt and lets them go, at which point Natsume and Alphard have a little chat about their motivations It ends with Alphard giving her some important piece of data. Natsume then orders the destruction of the lab, which happens throughout the episode by US soldiers who got helicoptered in.

Here, Alphard remains her ambivalent self. This is the third major character whom she was in a position to kill (the others being Canaan on 2 occasions and Maria) and lets go. In fact, she helps Natsume out willingly. This continues to give her that air of mystery and omnipotence; she's really just toying with everyone, but for reasons that are still unexplained.

But the big chunk of the episode is devoted to Liang Qi and her manic love for Alphard (and hatred for Canaan). Being the neglected little sister she is, even as she fights Alphard to the death, she perceives the injuries she sustains as expressions of love. But even as she's about to be killed (lovingly, in her view) by Alphard, Alphard ignores her and looks at security footage of, who else but, Canaan. This drives Liang Qi even more insane, leading her to destroy her body with experimental pills, all in the false hope that this will help her win Alphard's approval.

Ironically, in the end, as she's delirious and in constant pain from the pills, it is Cummings who performs the mercy killing on her while Alphard walks away. This leaves Cummings in despair, and he stays with Liang Qi as the building gets destroyed.

The sort of self destructive love that led to those two essentially killing themselves seems to have been the theme of this episode. Canaan, dispatched to find drugs for Yunyun and to rescue Hakko walks in on the latter nude in bed with the body of Santana. And like Cummings, she opts to stay there with her dead love as the building collapses, forcibly rejecting Canaan's urges to leave.

The episode ends on a bit of a down note, with Maria celebrating Canaan's return with a photo, but shedding tears at the same time. While some of those tears might be for Hakko, I'm thinking that most of it had to do with a realization she seemed to have in the middle of the episode; she can't be by Canaan's side any more. No matter what, she isn't and can't be in the world of Canaan, but must instead be a bystander, content to watch and take pictures. In this case, Maria's love for Canaan was cut short before it could become self destructive, but that theme remains nonetheless.

I was hoping for a good action filled climax to Liang Qi's story, but that scene finished essentiallly before it started. Not that her complete breakdown that followed wasn't well done or very satisfying to watch, mind you. Her facial expressions were priceless. But I feel like there was some lost potential there.

That's been my main beef with the show so far. It started off with some good action in the first episode, but it hasn't been able to provide the same level of excitement since. There have been brief glimpses here and there, and the climax to episode 7 was fun and intense in a
very 24-ish way. But for the most part, it's been a hodge podge of various characters' storylines, none of which I felt were shown with enough depth.

That's why I was glad to see closure of those two story threads in this episode, even though both left me feeling a bit sad. There are only a couple episodes left, and I feel like the main conflict hasn't received enough attention yet. I wish the show hadn't pushed so many side characters so hard - Yunyun and Hakko/Santana mainly - and focused more on the main story.

Then again, perhaps not touching the main plot too deeply was purposeful. There's still a lot of potential for surprises left in these last few episodes, and that greatens the anticipation with which I await them. A lot is going to have to happen and be revealed in the last two episodes, and I hope that it will be executed well. At the very least, it seems that when the producers want it to, it can be a very intense, fun show, so I'm quite hopeful.

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