In the seventh episode of Baccano!, I am clearly but a tiny vessel afloat in the sea that is this show, and I should just let it take me where it’s gonna take me. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Baccano!
“Everything Starts Aboard the Advenna Avis”
- I’m repeating what I said in the beginning of the video for this episode, but when I saw the clips at the end of the previous episode, I assumed that we were seeing some other part of the train. We weren’t. IT’S A BOAT. OVER TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
- OH MY GOD
- Look, it is bold as fuck to take a narrative break halfway through this show to flashback to a giant ship afloat on an unnamed ocean full of people you think you don’t know and show the audience that they had NO FUCKING CLUE WHAT WAS REALLY HAPPENING. Because truly, the title of this episode is the real answer: everything started aboard the Advenna Avis hundreds of years ago.
- Of course, once Maiza’s name was spoken aloud, it became clear that the show really wasn’t introducing a ship full of new characters. I KNEW SOME OF THESE PEOPLE. There were new people – namely Gretto, Sylvie, and Elmer – but this was a flashback to provide us with the proper context of how this convoluted and violent journey began.
- It all started with Maiza.
- AND HERE’S SZILARD QUATES ARGUING WITH PEOPLE THAT SUMMONING DEMONS IS HERESY AND IMMORTALITY ISN’T POSSIBLE AND HOW THE FUCK IS THIS HAPPENING. How is the man who is clearly immortal in the present time the person arguing against Maiza’s alchemy??? (And on that note, it’s so fascinating to see how these characters have either changed or remained the same during this centuries-long journey.)
- We are also finally introduced to Huey Laforet, the man who has followers willing to HIJACK A TRAIN TO FREE HIM FROM IMPRISONMENT. He plays an interesting role here because he’s eager to find out if Maiza can actually summon a demon and acquire the Great Panacea. Not for his own desires, though he’s quick to drink the elixir himself. No, he’s more interested in the outcome. He wants to see how it changes mankind. He wants to know how it’ll change the group of immortals after they’ve lived a couple of generations and watched those around them die. It’s why there’s that whole bit at the end about being a detached observer. (Which I’ll talk about later.) So how does he end up being the head of some sort of cult of personality? How does he gain followers who are willing to hijack a train for him? I don’t get how those two things are connected, given that he’s so disinterested in getting involved.
- HEY, IT’S THE ALCHEMICAL SYMBOL CARVED INTO THE FLOOR FROM THE FIRST EPISODE. Oh my god, I understand a thing now.
- I get irrationally proud when I finally comprehend something new, y’all. WHATEVER.
- It took me a while to get that the cloaked figure was actually Quates and that the events happening were actually not going on simultaneously with the alchemical ritual. That was the future! Of… the past. OH GOD TIMELINES HURT MY BRAIN.
- Hey, so let’s talk about the voice of the “demon” telling Maiza to stop. YEAH, CREEPY AS FUCK, FIRST OF ALL. But there’s a conversation earlier where Huey posits that perhaps the “demon” they’re going to summon is not actually evil, and I’m actually way into this theory. What we see here when the demon shows up doesn’t suggest that the entity is evil. Rather, he gives these alchemists the power of immortality, and then sits back, watching what unfolds. He only intervenes once – with Elmer – over the course of this episode after giving up the elixir of immortality. So what exactly is this demon? Where did he come from?
- HAHA HOLY WOW, QUATES’S HEAD JUST GOT CHOPPED IN HALF OH MY GOD I WASN’T READY FOR THIS, DESPITE THAT THE DEMON EVEN ANNOUNCED IT WAS GOING TO TEST OUT THE ELIXIR. good lord, this show is SO MUCH MORE VIOLENT THAN I EXPECTED.
- I really love that the events that follow represent such a believable expression of how humanity would react to the sight of Quates resurrecting. Nearly everyone rushes to the pot to drink the elixir without a second thought. Most of these people are alchemists, and this elixir represents everything they’ve been working for. A few people are reluctant – like Gretto and Sylvie – to drink, though ultimately, Sylvie is the only one to initially resist the temptation, which unknowingly saves her life. After this, we see how Quates quickly falls into the temptation of his own hunger, though in this context it’s a terrifying hunger for knowledge.
- THERE ARE RULES! AND I KNOW THEM. The immortals can die if they’re consumed by another immortal with their right hand. (Which means everyone consumed thusfar was an immortal.) They can also pass along whatever knowledge they have through their right hand, explaining how Quates was able to do this with Ennis. And then, the demon reveals that these people can never use fake names. I think this is the best working theory I have as to how some of these people don’t recognize one another or have spread apart over the years. Maiza, Czeslaw, and Quates have all obviously kept their names, but what about some of the others? Where’s Sylvie? What about Elmer? Where did he go?
- I was also impressed that Maiza and Gretto were so openly aware of the moral implications of what the demon had given them. Maiza now had the sole responsibility of determining whether or not to give out the information on how to make the elixir for anyone else, and he reasoned that humanity wasn’t ready for this to be released on any sort of mass scale. He was right to claim that this was dangerous information, and Quates completely validated that. I found that Huey’s reasoning made the most sense, though. Wouldn’t the immortals have gained far more knowledge and experience themselves if they waited at least another century before voting on whether or not to reveal what they knew?
- Anyway, as I said, Quates doesn’t take long to validate Maiza’s fears, but unfortunately, it’s through the consumption of Gretto that Maiza learns this. Of course, Quates eats Gretto after Maiza gave his brother half of his knowledge, which completely explains why Quates has spent years assembling the elixir himself. He only had half of the information from Gretto the whole time!
- I’m also fascinated by the idea of immortals fighting each other because they’re immune to EVERYTHING until one of them can place their right hand on the other. It’s because of this that the fight between Quates and Maiza was so unfathomable to me. Quates wasn’t just going to stand there and let Maiza put his right hand on him. And then Elmer distracts Quates by calling out to him, and he just FALLS OFF THE SHIP. WHAT. okay WHO IS ELMER IN THE FUTURE? What was the wish that he asked for? Why is he always telling people to smile?
- I just need to know so many things EVEN THOUGH I JUST HAD SO MANY QUESTIONS ANSWERED. What is this demon? Who is the man at the end that speaks to Maiza??? Is Maiza aware of Quates’s presence?
- what the fuck is going on in this show?
- Sidenote: This episode reminded me of how fun it was whenever LOST had some flashback that completely re-contextualized the entire narrative. Lord, I miss LOST.
The video for Episode 7 can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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