Look, I hate “that guy.” And I hate when he points out plot holes, especially when the obvious answer is that the show made suspensions of disbelief because they were more interesting to watch than the logical, realistic alternatives. However, when the whole central tension of the show is an argument between cold, alien pragmatism and soft, human sympathies, it’s a lot harder to buy the times Shinichi gets in a bind because he keeps making stupid decisions (which the show needs him to make in order to force conflict).
In this episode, we get a cheap shock when the Parasite serial killer murders his date while Shinichi fumbles an attempt to stop him. Later on, Shinichi laments his hesitation, but that doesn’t excuse the scene so much as it just hangs a wider lamp shade on it. I’m all for the classic Hamlet-style “dramatic delay” in a hero, where he questions his motivations. That’s the stuff of good drama. However, it’s harder to buy here when we’ve had several episodes stressing the point that Shinichi’s become more of an unfeeling, instinctual alpha predator.
Remember when he dumped the dog in the trash? Remember when he beat the shit out of the bullies? When that character evolves after those incidents, can anybody buy him stepping up and timidly asking, “Please, miss! Get out of the way!” when a murder’s about to happen?
You want the shock of her getting decapitated? Fine. Make up some contrivance that gets in Shinichi’s way. Have him trip on a tire or something. But, I’m sorry… he’d have snuck up and ripped that Parasite’s head off. Did he forget about his searing, vengeful rage for Parasites? Remember when he swore vengeance on them to the fortune teller? That was the dramatic capper for one episode. And it led to nothing.
The worst part is that this is all less interesting than what we’d get if his decisions actually started adding up. He should be out of school. He should be on the run. He should be proactive about killing the Parasites. He shouldn’t be thinking, “Oh gee, maybe I should take this fight away from innocent bystanders” when the fourth or fifth Parasite is targeting him on school grounds. Again.