I’m going to have to presume that a lot must have happened off screen, but I was little… confused by how light the opening of this episode was.
“But, Tom,” you exclaim, “EVA’s full of comedy to balance all the dramatic pathos and philosophical exploration!”
Yes, I understand that. I’m just wondering what happened between the sitcom hijinks at the opening of this episode and the shocking cliffhanger about the captive angel at the end of the last one. Did Misato say, “Oh… that’s kind of weird, but I’ve got to go do my laundry, now. I’ll take care of this crucified angel next week.” Actually, considering her odd nonchalant, off-the-cuff statement about Shinji’s capture in this episode, I suppose that wouldn’t be… too out of character. So yeah, it’s a genuinely moving scene when Shinji escapes and she, in tears, rips open his escape hatch to hug him and say how relieved she is that he’s alive. But what’s up with her little statement when he gets captured in the first place?
“Oh, we’ll have to deal with that whenever he gets back.”
Sure, you’ve got to put some confidence in the kid, but isn’t that kind of like saying you’ll do something with a dead character whenever they get resurrected?
That being said, I was again impressed by the gimmick of the angel in this episode. Every time I think I’ve seen the last rabbit Gainax can pull out of the magic hat, I end up being surprised. You know, a lot of people use comparisons to video games out of derision… but I think it’s a compliment in this case. There was a cool dream logic to the reversal of the relationship between shadow and object, here, and how exactly NERV figures out how to attack it. It reminded me of an SNK boss battle in that respect. Also, the visual of Asuka’s Eva scrambling up the side of skyscraper to evade that shadow was oddly humorous, too. Again, something you just don’t see in other Sentai shows.
Forgive me for forgetting who, but one of you told me to watch out for this episode since it was evocative of the original SOLARIS. I actually was reminded of Michael Crichton’s SPHERE (the novel, which was also inspired by SOLARIS). That similarly had a scene with an alien using echoes of a person’s personality to communicate with him. I liked the experimental film quality to that trippy section, with Shinji’s dialogue being represented by vertical control tape, while the Angel’s was horizontal and then, the impression of Asukua consciousness was represented with a lightning-bolt diagonal. I get the feeling this is just the start of the kind challenging existential scenes I’ve been warned lurk in the finale.