Previously on Drifters, “Mystery CALL ME”
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: after a lackluster episode, Drifters flexes its muscle, nestling nicely into Nas rules, and delivers a knockout. After last week, I didn’t care what the Mystery was and I still don’t know what CALL ME was about. The longer I stew on it, the more I hate it, and after Serious Bomber, it’s only that much more frustrating. But I digress since we need to talk about Toyohisa’s assault on Gadolka not just freeing the dwarves, but also being his coming out party.
A Cowardly and Superstitious Lot
Normally, when Drifters bounces back, we’re usually treated to Nobunaga doing what he does best, but surprisingly, Toyohisa finally takes the reins of his own show. Nobunaga still gets his time to shine, but this week highlighted the group as a whole, with the head leading the way. As we were told for the past few weeks, our crew aims to free the dwarves next, which brings us to Orte’s largest armory, Gadolka. Their fate turns out to be worse than the elves, who threw in the towel well before the Dwarves did, leaving them to be crushed and enslaved within Gadolka’s walls. They too are on the slow grind to extinction, being worked to death and starved out, until explosions begin to rock the outer perimeter.
With all the ingredients in place, Nobunaga finally has the gunpowder he craved. Yet, in true Nobu fashion, he sees the value of his new arsenal past the explosions. The shock, awe, and terror of its power is the true weapon, a fact not wasted on Toyohisa. As the explosions ring out, his group of elves tear through the terrorized soldiers while also stoking the flames of hysteria by yelling frightened and panicked calls of defeat and hopelessness.
Hailing from Japan’s birthplace of their first firearm, Toyo is well versed in the many ways gunpowder and guns can be used, at least for his time. Yoichi and the elves, on the other hand, are learning on the fly but are quick studies with their arrows also equipped with explosives. Their overall philosophy isn’t that far from Batman’s, gain the upper hand using fear and theatrics, never taking your foot off the gas until you win.
No Roaming Charges
If Gadolka falls, it’s just a matter of time before Orte follows, so the heavy resistance gives two unlikely people the chance to shine. When the armored guard corps comes to the castle’s defense, Olminu of Stone Coffins gets the chance to live up to her name. Unmatched in her skill with the charms, the armored guards are encircled in pillars so the elves can lob their bombs in. Her second shining moment comes from an assist from Hannibal.
Nobu and crew are stumped how to get past the closed castle gates before Hannibal’s senility breaks long enough to give Nobunaga his plan in one hand gesture. Using Yoichi’s accuracy with Olminu’s charms, they form a stairway to the top of the walls.
While Toyo and crew hop the walls, Nobunaga isn’t as shocked by the feat that was just achieved as he is the way it all went down. In his time, you needed a messenger to run your messages to each front, but in this world he just spoke through a crystal ball with no lag time. Again, amazing as that is (minus the fact it’s no better than our smart phones now) Nobu is more floored by the fact the Octobrist magicians take it for granted, the same as the wall charms. They only saw them as a defensive tool until Toyohisa got his hands on it. Drifters fresh eyes on this world’s technology and problems can change it, not even counting their own technology and ideas they bring with them. It’s a revelation important enough to make Murasaki’s paper, where he confirms (to no one in the room) that he chose them for who they are and what that can do for the world. Still unclear, however, is whether Hitler was his choice or Easy’s. Octobrist keeps referring to Adolf as a Drifter which, if true , really makes you wonder if Murasaki knows what the hell he’s doing. Seems like bringing in some diversity is the least he could do.
You Hungry, Bebe?
The emotional anchor of the episode begins and ends with the dwarves. On the way in, the elves talk about how these big, proud warriors are so strong and ornery only to find the dwarves in the latter stages of their own holocaust. Broken down so far as to beg their sworn enemies for freedom, even the elves are taken back before Toyohisa steps up to speed up the process. Instead of taking the keep like Nobunaga wants, he raids the food storage and slaughters the surviving farm animals and horses to feed the malnourished dwarves. Luckily, Nobunaga gets word and begins taking steps to feed them right since eating too much could cause shock or death. As great and natural Toyohisa is as a prodigy on the battlefield, he still doesn’t possess Nobunaga’s greatest weapon, experience.
That being said, Toyohisa excels at the things he does do well. Although he’s committing the huge no-no of eating in front of the enemy, Toyo still manages to work the situation in his favor. Stepping back on the fear gas pedal, Toyohisa gives the remaining troops the chance to surrender until the dwarves finish eating. Reinforcements are over 12 hours away, and they know what’s next if the dwarves join in, so the Orte soldiers surrender. Toyo is a man of his word, but also his code, calling for the commander to commit seppuku, and beheading him when he refused to.
It’s that unflinching sense of honor and adherence to his warrior code, along with his charisma and sense of justice, that makes him the perfect leader for this rebellion, and the eventual king, whether he likes it or not. In this battle alone he managed to max out his respect points with all involved, including Nobunaga and Yoichi. What started as just something to do, the two of them not only take this war gravely serious, but they also loyally follow Toyohisa even though he is their junior in every way.
Over at the north wall, Doug, the adventurer, and an Octobrist magician have been sent to spy on the Black King, who has park his force just south of where the north wall they broke through. To their surprise, not only in the 6th ranked great dragon, Bronze Dragon, hanging out, but the monsters are also farming. The Black King isn’t here to destroy, he’s here to wipe out the humans and replace them with the monsters.
The seesaw is officially back up, so I fully expect another struggle episode next week. On some levels, I appreciate the attention to detail and the amount of information that is being shot our way, but there’s an old wrestling term called “selling on the run” that sums it up best. If you’ve ever heard Stone Cold talk about the Undertaker, he always talks about how ‘Taker doesn’t go down, he sells the blow but keeps moving. Drifters doesn’t do that. It goes down and flops on the ground for an episode before making a comeback. Worse yet, I wouldn’t enjoy Nobunaga if they didn’t know how to do it. He gets his monologues (or inner monologues) in but it’s done while things are happening. It’s a simple concept, only bested by “show rather than tell.” Regardless, a great episode that showed what this show can be, but I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I’m going to get my expectations too high from here on out even though I’m still waiting on my hobbits.