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EUREKA SEVEN #35 -- Watch & Learn

No easier villain than a mean older brother.

If Alex were a mecha pilot...?
If Alex were a mecha pilot...?

I’m not so sure about this surprise that the establishment cleric is actually Holland’s big brother. It seems like too easy of a grab at ready-made tension. See, there’s this whole cottage industry of books on dramatic writing and, more to the point of this, on screenwriting; and a sentiment that pops up a whole lot is that the drama of any action-adventure story like this holds far more weight if it’s a personal matter for the leads. You know, like how it’s not enough for the hero to be aiming to defeat a villain in the climax, he’s also got to be protecting innocents and, even better, to be protecting his innocent loved ones.

Some fans fret about a “Women in Refrigerators” syndrome in these sorts of stories and allege that the wealth of violent fates that befall heroes’ girlfriends and wives is representative of some kind of institutional misogyny. Really, it’s the result of screenwriting gurus telling people that the hero has to be saving his loved one for you to care and it simply works out that most heroes in action adventure are straight men. If a woman were the protagonist, the gurus would surely be demanding that her boyfriend needs to get stuffed in a refrigerator for us to care.

There’s similar thinking about villains. It’s not enough that the bad guy just be a scumbag who does bad things. They say he’s got to have some personal connection to our hero for us to care and, again, what connection’s more personal than blood? It carries gobs of implicit conflict in it. So here, we don’t know that much about this cleric and yet we can immediately infer decades of bitter sibling rivalry between the two that’s worsened so quickly by one simple line about how they both dated Talho.

Yes, it’s effective. Reliably so. But it’s also easy, and my gut reaction is that such easiness goes against the more complex nature of the conflict and relationships in this show.

Watch this episode, "Astral Apache" here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

LordTerminalon March 4, 2012 at 1:45 p.m.

Cleric? Last I checked, Dewey wasn't really a cleric per-say. Maybe I need to rewatch a bit of this to be sure...

zaldaron March 5, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.

The taking the easy way and easy resolutions continues unfortunately though I don't remember this twist bothering me that much.

Dig Deeper into Eureka Seven

A young boy named Renton has a mech and its pilot, the young-looking Eureka, nearly fall into his lap. He joins them and their renegade group, Gekkostate.

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