Whoa… that was a powerful episode ending. I wasn’t expecting such a dramatic incident to be handled in such an understated way, but that simple scene of Misato receiving the voicemail too late had far more impact (pun intended) than showing her waste him on screen could. I’m hoping that there’s some misdirection going on here, but I’ve got a sinking feeling that this is when things stop going these characters’ way.
Back to the bulk of the episode, I have to say that I felt the same kind of Kubrick-vibe in this flashback/prequel episode that I felt while watching the infamous clip-show recap from a while back. Actually, the vibe in this episode was even more pronounced. There was just a sense of doom lurking throughout, this.
Since so much happened, I’m thinking I’m going to rattle out my observations in bullet points...
* So the cat hasn’t been totally let out of the bag, yet, but I’m going to guess that the fallout from the first Eva experiment de-aged Shinji’s mother into Rei. There have certainly been a lot of clues pointing to that direction. Gendo’s fondness for her, the motherly way she slaps Shinji for badmouthing him and then, well… the strong similarities of their relationship to Freud’s archetypal Oedipal complex. If I'm right, then it makes this all much more gross.
* Actually, that explains Rei’s jealously over Dr. Akagi’s affair with Gendo. By the way, that whole confrontation scene where she keeps calling her an “old hag” had to be the CREEPIEST scene in this entire show. It’s compounded with that frightening “waking dream” of her strangling the girl and then the understated reveal of her suicide. HAUNTING stuff.
* I’m sure there’s going to be some sinister explanation, but I thought it was oddly progressive for such a stern man like Gendo to take on his wife’s surname.
* I get the impression that Nerv (or Seele, or however it breaks down) is like some program for wayward children. The revelation that Misato’s been with Nerv since she was a teenager makes it seem like she would’ve been an Eva pilot if she’d been born ten years later. This episode certainly shows that she’s just as damaged as the rest of them, and that a lot of her behavior can be explained as coping mechanism.
* I was really intrigued by the nature of Tokyo-3's appearance. That was something that'd been bugging me a number of times as it seemed like Eva battles would often spill out of the clouds, when they'd really be underground. I wonder if this has been taken from the "hollow earth" concept that's found in so much occultism?
This is the episode that’s really turned Eva over into really compelling science fiction, for me. I’m a sucker for conspiracies and labyrinthine secrets like this, so I’m having a ball. Even though I really hope Kagi isn’t dead.