In the eighth episode of Baccano!, Isaac and Miria inspire the people they happen to come across. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Baccano!
“Isaac and Miria Unintentionally Spread Happiness Around Them”
- Let’s get the uncomfortable bit out of the way: STOP PUTTING ANYONE WHO ISN’T NATIVE IN HEADDRESSES AND HAVING THEM STEREOTYPICALLY ACT LIKE NATIVE AMERICANS. Wow, that’s so horribly distracting and awful. NOPE.
- So, I was trying to describe Isaac and Miria to someone who’s never seen this show. It was incredibly difficult. They are the most sincere characters I’ve come across in a long time, despite that on the surface they seem like a joke. The thing is, they’re incredibly aware of the world around them; it’s just that they internalize every narrative they come across IN THE OPPOSITE WAY IT WAS INTENDED. They get everything wrong. They are the masters of misinterpretation and misguided logic. That is what they’re unaware of, and as they take each logical leap into the worst conclusion known to the universe, they don’t think about their own confirmation biases or the terrible reasoning they’ve used. They instead think about how they can make other people feel better. I actually think the title of this episode is wrong; Isaac and Miria intentionally make people happy! That’s sort of their own thing. They pursue joy and elation, for themselves and others, all of the time!
- Aside from one moment (RED EYES IN THE DOORWAY, OH MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU), this episode is probably going to be the funniest entry in the Baccano! canon. I mean, we open with a scene fully of stuffy men in suits looking at a slideshow of the serial thieves they’re trying to catch, and every photo is of Isaac and Miria in a costume. It’s perfect because it captures the absurdity of these two characters in like fifteen seconds. I LOVE IT.
- Let’s go back to that sincerity thing: Isaac and Miria, as ridiculous and over-the-top as they are, mean everything they say. So it’s entirely true that they are utterly destroyed by forgetting to buy an expensive gift for Ennis, which was the whole point of them going on their robbery spree in the first place.
- It’s important, then, that this episode also features Jacuzzi’s growth because he’s just as sincere as Isaac and Miria. This is where we learn just what happened between the Russo family and Jacuzzi, and it explains how Jacuzzi has mastered his own need for revenge so that it doesn’t lead him to do terrible things. Nick comments on how much Jacuzzi has changed at one point here, and I think it’s awesome that we’re seeing this sort of growth from Jacuzzi.
- Of course, a great deal of the events that set so much of this in motion go back to Isaac and Miria. We finally learn the details of how those two ended up robbing the Genoard family of their fortune, which is also linked to Eve’s expression of faith. As it turns out, Isaac and Miria robbed the Genoard home IN ORDER TO MAKE EVE HAPPY. If I understand their logic, they reasoned that because money issues were plaguing Dallas, it would be perfectly sensible for them to simply take all the money away! AND THEY FULLY BELIEVE THIS. They’re not manipulating Eve here; they do this because they genuinely believe it’ll help make her happy!
- I think it’s easy to see how Eve views this as a sign that there’s a God and that someone is listening to her prayers. I don’t find that Eve is particularly naïve, either. I think she just wants to assume that the best option is still available. Why else would she still hold out so much hope that her brother is alive after disappearing for two whole years? It’s even more vital to her when you consider the context of the last time she saw him. (I’m operating under the assumption that the scene at the end of this episode really is the last time she saw him.) Dallas cruelly insults her for believing in God, and yet she does despite this. I didn’t see this as a character flaw, but rather someone persisting in the face of adversity.
- I suppose that for anyone in this story who interacts with Isaac and Miria, they have to seem like some sort of otherworldly force. THEY’RE SO WEIRD. I mean, let’s take Ennis as an example. She coincidentally runs into the very people who she ran over, and they’re so NICE to her. They are the polar opposite of Quates and his men: genuine, kind, excited, and eager to shower her with compliments and validation. I imagine that this is literally the first time that anyone has ever shown Ennis any sort of respect or admiration. And we know that she actually reaches out to Isaac and Miria when they’re off in California, so it’s not a stretch to say that they mean something to her, you know?
- Again, I don’t think Ennis’s quest for happiness was unintentional on Isaac and Miria’s part. They deliberately encourage her to feel good about herself, to atone for whatever she’s done wrong, and they do so without an ounce of cynicism.
- It’s directly paralleled with the present scene where they also encourage Jacuzzi to be a good person. No, not just a good person – a hero. Like Ennis, Jacuzzi is struggling with the guilt he feels over ending human life. In his case, he robbed EIGHTEEN RUSSO SPEAKEASIES IN A SINGLE DAY. HOLY SHIT. HOLY SHIT. That also explains the scene where Luck and Firo are “killed,” yes? Wasn’t that one of the speakeasies? I’m not certain, but I can’t remember the details precisely.
- So Jacuzzi’s acceptance of his own bravery is directly due to the totally reckless and senseless bravery of Isaac and Miria. It is! And that’s pretty damn fantastic.
- I do have one huge question though: Why the hell does Gustavo’s man not go after Eve after watching her leave??? THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Who is that guy???
The video for Episode 8 can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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