Previously on Tokyo Ghoul, “PresS: Night of Scattering”
Three weeks. Three weeks we waited to see where this big battle was leading to. Last week was easily this season’s high note, and then turn: In the End plopped behind it. After all the hype and anticipation they had built up, they teased us before bending over and farting in our faces. Three quarters of this episode are hot garbage baking in the sun, but thanks to editing, our one bearable storyline is over before the halfway mark. It’s never a good look to be wishing for more Shirazu over Sasaki / Kaneki vs Takizawa, yet here we are.
The Shook and the Pointless
In the midst of some truly bad writing this week, Shirazu and Nutcracker are the diamonds in the rough. The action was great with Nutcracker and her compound penis kagune traps darting and slashing between Shirazu, Saiko, and Hayashimura. To beat her, Shirazu shows some growth by strategizing after stumbling onto a trap and figuring it out. Learning from past mistakes, Shirazu even talks Saiko into helping. Too often, lovable meatheads like him aren’t allowed to grow, ending up stuck in comedy relief purgatory, but it was refreshing to see it just happen without other characters having to call it out and beat us over the head with it.
Nutcracker got a dryer sheet thick level of depth before dying to start setting up a crisis of conscience for Shirazu after her final words of sorrow shake him to the core. The thought that ghouls could be people seems to never crossed his mind, and why would it?
The ghouls he knows of are all murders, some more brutal and sadistic than others, and usually they’re locked in life and death battles. If only they could look at each other as people and work things out (MESSAGE!).
I couldn’t tell you whether I want to see where this goes or not. After this week, I’ve lost confidence with the silliness they pulled. Case and point, after deciding to finally do something , Saiko is building up to her big deathblow only for them to cut away! She’s supposed to be the strongest of the Quinx Squad and all we get is some ghoul eye and a view of all the windows she shattered. When we do get back a scene or two later, she’s spent and Nutcracker is down with no new wounds. Call it being coy or being a tease, but I call it bullshit. Just terrible.
Fails and Ls
In our second showcase, we have Urie in Big Madame’s mouth and Mutsuki mounting a feeble attempt to save him. What follows ground turn: In the End to a grinding halt. After freeing himself, powering up his kagune, and massacring Big Madame’s guards, he snaps. Crazed, rambling, and drunk on his new power, he goes on to catch BM’s hands and cry in the fetal position. He cries about how unfair his life is and hating everyone before hand-stabbing Mutsuki, who was coming to comfort him. In another important moment to fall flat on its face, Mutsuki pops her kagune for the first time (yay!) to hug Urie (oh god.) And yes, that’s all she uses them for, to hug this fool and then NOT. FIGHT. Even worse, Big Madame just stands there watching for a couple minutes of screen time doing squat. It’s a lame moment wrapped in a tortilla of stupid that some homeless dude used for socks.
The next payoff to fall flatter than a pancake ass belongs to the long awaited reunion of Juzo and his adoptive mother, Big Madame. Kidnapped by BM, Juzo underwent years of torture, for doing right and wrong, eventually being trained to be a skilled, vicious, and twisted killer. Knowing nothing but pain and death, it took years for him to find his humanity in a story they have been investing us in since season one. In what I can only assume was an attempt to top Saiko, Juzo essentially lets his homies tote the pistol and the one lick he does get in, they cut to another scene! Any hope of something meaningful flies out the window when Juzo forgives her and his squad finishes her off before she can get too nasty. I understand it’s supposed to be a big moment in his humanization and maturing yet none of it lands. It might have mattered if he ever showed any true anger, but he was docile and tender with her. There was no real turnaround for him, it was just a moment of nothingness. Just terrible.
New Season, New Lows
Our last kick in the ribs can best be described as beginner’s torture porn. Owning the back half of this week, Sasaki got his sorry ass whooped into (and all around) the theater while he had a nice chat with Kaneki in his head. It would have been nice if Takizawa showed any ingenuity or creativity, but even when Sasaki fights back it’s a sea of high jumps, single power punches or kicks, and kagune slaps to the ground from both of them. They stuck us with this for half an episode and I’ve seen more interesting fights on Teletubbies. By the time Takizawa starts to make his points it’s hard to care when you’re bored senseless.
Underneath the blood thirst and hunger, Takizawa is just an ashy, bitter dude but he isn’t necessarily wrong. Ever so petty, he’s still hung up on losing top cadet honors to Mado and what that 1% difference meant for their careers, however his larger point is made with the assistance new favorite weirdo, the Scarecrow. Hitting the scene with his creepy humming (?), he accidentally turns on the speakers allowing everyone to hear Sasaki’s agonizing cries. In an asshole move, Scary doesn’t bother to turn them off, which I honestly kinda liked.
Washu let’s Sass hang, illustrating Takizawa’s point: the CCG doesn’t care about him. Between how he thought he was treated and being left for dead, Taki knows firsthand the CCG will use Sasaki like toilet paper and toss him away. Relevant yet I don’t buy those as reasons to go full ghoul. It’s a long leap to get from the nice guy to the psychopath. With no reinforcements and, as dumb as this sounds, not even paying full attention, Sasaki takes a massive beating before Hinami makes the save.
The little girl who looked up to Kaneki as her big brother, making him the only family she had left, risks her life for him because he’s still Kaneki, even when he’s mentally someone else. True, even though it sounds corny, Sasaki is just a happier Kaneki with a slight reset button. A nice sentiment that Sasaki basically says, “Cool story but love don’t live here no more” and walks back into the never ending beat down. Hinami couldn’t even get a proper fight, getting a stabbing before being defeated via another horribly timed jump cut. Seeing how they treated her reunion, I’m gonna need The Gourmet to hang back. It’s almost like they don’t respect their own work. Terrible, it is.
So what was this whole debacle leading to? Kaneki and Sasaki’s little heart to heart makes them finally form a bro-bond and maybe be one… or something. There’s really no clear answer and the longer this goes, the less I care. These two chumps bonded over being afraid. A-frickin’-fraid. So now we have to deal with self loathing and loneliness in stereo? Nevertheless, now on the same page, they make their grand move of simultaneously stabbing and getting stabbed by Takizawa. It was supposed to be a huge moment but guess how it played out. I’ll wait.
Watanabe and crew force us to sit through 15 straight minutes of annihilation, which would only slow down for major stabbings during monologues, and then expect us to think that freezing frame for a few seconds will make us buy this major stabbing is somehow a lethal blow. If it hadn’t been for Hinami’s reaction, I would’ve missed this was supposed to be a cliffhanger. Just terrible.
I don’t understand how we fell from so high in one episode. If I weren’t reviewing this, I might have ejected. We’ve had our lows with Ghoul but turn: In the End is particularly heinous and guilty of the one unforgivable crime, being boring. I’ve tried to stay optimistic about this season but now I feel like someone peed in my Cheerios. I’m over the split personalities, half explanations, and near misses. Just get on with it and let’s move on. This season feels like a side detour with a bunch of extra shit (and I mean shit) thrown at it. Just. Terrible.