Man… here’s a show that pushes moral ambiguity hard enough that you start questioning if you’re even watching an escapist adventure anymore. I’ve run into plenty of sympathetic villains, across all niches, genres, media and other stripes of entertainment, but I don’t think I’ve ever run into one like Ray Beams. Your heart’s breaking for her from so many different angles of sympathy - - from her infertility to her maternal feelings for Renton to her tragically unhinged tribute to Charles - - even as you get rather solidly behind how hardass Gekkostate must get about taking this crazy killer out.
For as common as sympathetic villains, coming-of-age action-adventures are a dime a dozen and I likewise haven’t ever come across an entry in the genre that’s as honest about the whole journey as this show is. Nearly every episode pits Renton’s youthful and naïve idealism against some of the meanest contradictory choices of adulthood; and the show’s been surprisingly unblinking and unsentimental about these dilemmas.
The Beams may be wonderful, kind people in other parts of their lives, but no mercy can be shown to them in this particular slice. Holland may be an abusive sack of shit most of the time, but Renton better damn well listen to him. Eureka may actually prove to be as horrible a monster as Ray makes her out to be, but because Renton can’t deny his feelings for her, he’s just going to have to learn to live with that. And so on. There’s even that great moment where Tahlo begs Renton to save Holland with a blood transfusion - - even though he hates the guy, and even though she apparently hates his big sister (another clue to a mystery we’re long due an answer for.)
Despite appearances, this is definitely a show with some notions to chew on (and with real substance, unlike STEINS GATE) that offer a lot more than you'd believe, at first. This has been a truly gripping surprise.