Fucking MADLAX Episode 8

[Note: I’ve finally gotten through all of the posts that I wrote while I was in the Philippines (about a month and a half ago)! Note that I watched episode eight and wrote the opening paragraphs at that time, but the rest of this post is fresh, so if there’s a change in voice, that would be why.]

I have to admit, I was worried for a minute there. What if Madlax suddenly turned out to be a good show? What if EVERY Bee Train show turned out to be good after a rough beginning?! All the work on this site would be for naught! Alas, my fears were needless, as episode eight of Madlax is a huge pile of shit.

What made episode seven great was both that it introduced a cool, well-written character, and that it finally started tying the show’s many plot threads into a cohesive whole. Episode eight continues with the latter effort, but utterly fails its one interesting character and pulls the same plot bullshit that makes me hate Bee Train so much to begin with.

The episode kicks off by showing two new characters doing their own crypto-babble thing, and they look like some kind of ancient South-American tribal thing. They’ll be a big part of this episode. My natural reaction to their sudden appearance was, of course, “what the flying fuck?” However, I can’t claim that this is some kind of big deal-breaker for a show. I’ve seen this before. That crazy old Yoshiyuki Tomino is fond of such things as Aztec Space Ninjas (ZZ Gundam) and other Aztec stuff (Turn A Gundam) showing up out of nowhere, and the latter of those is a show that I actually like. I’m not saying it’s a good idea to suddenly throw Aztecs into your show, but it can be forgiven if the show is all-around good.

[Alas, this is Madlax…]

Nothing objectionable happens early on, though I’m lost as to how long Eric’s been in Gazth-Sonicka, considering that he’s apparently been out-of-touch with Margaret for several days. The scene of Margaret saying that she believes in him is clearly meant to heighten the drama when the episode ends in tragedy.

I remember thinking when I first watched this episode—because I was on pins and needles over whether it would be as good as seven or not—”if Eric somehow survives this episode, I will be satisfied.” All I wanted was one guy—one pretty cool guy—to survive his god damned character arc.

Or at least if he died, let it be in line with the subversive nature of his presence so far. Let him continue to buck trends like he did when Madlax called him an idiot in episode seven. I really don’t know why I was getting my hopes so high.

I admit that I’m a sucker for lines like this. I love self-consciousness in a show about its characters.

(Listening to Alcest while doing this might be making me too warm and fuzzy lol.)

Okay, what the hell is up with the pasta? I’m beginning to suspect that the pasta is going to end up being some major plot point, what with all the god damn foreshadowing it gets.

Corrossea is one hell of a playa. Especially since it’s obvious he couldn’t give two fucks about sniper girl in comparison to Madlax.

Madlax makes Eric sleep outside while she gets to sleep in the car, and this surprises him—but wouldn’t he have faced this sleeping arrangement several times already with all the time they’ve been traveling together (apparently days)? To excuse the Margaret scene, you could say that the show is jumping around in its timeline, but you can’t excuse the fact that we saw Eric and Madlax at night in episode seven, and then the next day in episode eight.

Eric came to this woman because she’s the only one who can read the script in Margaret’s book. She tells him that she doesn’t actually know what the words mean, only how to say them, and Eric’s like, whatever, do what you can. She looks at one page, which has a good deal of writing on it, and just says, “sarks sark.” That’s it. Unless the whole book is that phrase copy-pasted a shitload of times, then this is one lazy bitch. But Eric’s satisfied! This is just a load of shit. Not that it matters, because that phrase is probably the only thing that was needed for the plot to move forward, and making sense always gets shoved away by plot convenience.

The Aztec chick tells Eric about the script painted on the walls of a cave, and takes him to check it out. Then she says, “study it all you like, I’ll go back now.” God damn it woman, YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN READ THIS SHIT! At least Eric asks her what it says before she goes, and of course, the answer is Elda Taluta. This alphabet must be insanely complex if it takes that much writing to form those two words (see top of post).

While this was going on, Madlax had a big gunfight in the woods. It’s worth mentioning that the first part of her fight ends when a guy tries to stab her with a knife while she’s on the ground and she blocks it with her gun. They seem to be locked like that for some reason. The sky is orange at that point. When we rejoin Madlax, it’s nighttime, and she’s STILL locked with her gun against this guy’s knife. There’s no way. There’s just simply no way. Also she shoots him in the face the instant she arbitrarily breaks loose.

Eric, still in the cave, is going over his collection of arc words again and again and then starts tripping balls. For the first time, the annoying weird kids show up in the main storyline.

Yeah, I won’t be bothered to remember that. You can remain the “annoying loli” to me.

HERE WE GO! Alright! Time for some awesome character derailment building! As was vaguely hinted at previously, Eric’s had part of his past “turned off” in his memories. His acquaintance from the last episode is on it it, too, because she couldn’t just be a cool throw-in! Everyone has to connect to the plot in some convoluted way! After all, someone has to be there to randomly explain it for us!

FAMOUS LAST WORDS, AMIRIGHT?!

Worst. Plot. Twist. Ever. After two episodes of subverting the “anyone who hears Madlax’s name will end up dead” thing by never revealing it to Eric, he just… knows. He had to know. He couldn’t have died otherwise.

At least I’m on the same page as fucking Madlax.

So, Eric jumps off a cliff to his death. He was doomed to die the minute he had a backstory, and in fact, the only reason that he had a backstory was so that he could die. He’d made it through two episodes—then, in the span of two minutes, he was revealed to have turned-off memories, remembered them, and killed himself.

Eric didn’t need a backstory, and he didn’t need to die. He could’ve just interacted with the plot, helping it along, and been on his way. But that’s not enough for this show. Every side character in the show has to die, no matter how stupidly they go about it. And this is obvious! It’s probably an intentional part of the story! It’s blatant that Eric got his backstory and KNEW Madlax’s name for no other reason than that he had to die!

It doesn’t matter that this is on purpose. That doesn’t excuse it. It just means that this is a stupid, terrible plot that’s willing to shoehorn in bullshit as long as it makes the story move forward.

In this scene, Corrossea says, “a man was seen leaving his office,” to Friday Monday, about Eric. Just to make sure we heard that right and got the nuance there, Friday says, “a man?” Corrossea confirms, “a man,” puts the phone away, and asks himself, “why was a girl visiting this place? A girl…” Thanks for the extra hint, Bee Train, I totally wouldn’t have gotten that otherwise!

I cooled down over it in the month after my first viewing, but this episode probably pissed me off more than any other so far, just because it so thoroughly crushed what I liked about episode seven.

Next time, swimsuit meido fanservice! This episode seemed to imply that the action would be moving to Nafrece, and that Madlax and Margaret may be close to finally meeting, but the preview didn’t seem to confirm that, so we’ll see.

2 thoughts on “Fucking MADLAX Episode 8

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