Mark Watches ‘Death Note’: Episode 5 – Tactics

In the fifth episode of Death Note, Light takes dramatic measures to guarantee his safety. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Death Note. 

Well, if there was even a shred of doubt left in anyone that Light was a good person, then it’s clear now that he’s not. I can barely fathom how quickly this has happened. I don’t doubt it, and Light’s characterization fits what is happening. THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT LESS TERRIFYING, THOUGH. Light is calculating. He doesn’t just view people as a means to an end or as pawns. They’re part of intricate equations and permutations. He sets them up like pieces on a chest board or like dominoes, waiting to be tipped over with just a push.

And that push is the Death Note. Building off the results that Light observed during his tests in “Pursuit,” he decides that the next variable that needs to be taken out is FBI Agent Raye Penber. I wondered if he’d really kill him or if he would merely toy with him. Initially, I was convinced that he just wanted to misdirect Penber. That was easy to do, and after Penber got off the bus, I figured that was it.

But no.



The methodical way in which Light removes every single FBI agent attached to his case is one of the more disturbing things I’ve ever seen. He does it for amusement. He’s entertained by watching how much fear he inspires in Penber as Penber tries to cooperate, all under the mistaken belief that Kira will spare his life if he does what he is told. But Light never intended to keep Penber alive. Instead, he waits a week before tormenting him. And make no mistake, that’s what this is. It’s awful. There is no reason for Light to terrify Penber as much as he does. He can’t claim that the man is evil, and the same goes for the twelve FBI agents that he tricks Penber into killing. Y’all, HE TRICKS PENBER INTO KILLING THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING FOR HIM. He finds a way to get around not knowing names by having Penber imagine the other agents’ faces while writing them down onto sheets of the Death Note.

It’s a brilliant technique, and it’s used for nothing but pure evil. We watch Penber suffer for nearly ten full minutes. And what for? What’s Light’s endgame? It’s not just getting the FBI out of town, nor is it about reducing the size of the task force assigned to him. I believe that his ultimate goal was to toy with L, to mock him for even trying to track him down. He kills thirteen people in a matter of minutes, and then sends a cryptic message that’s actually the truth. It’s a game now, and the whole “people as pawns” metaphor has a new meaning.

Yet there are variables. Penber’s fiancée, whose name I can’t recall seeing, is still around, and she’s now determined to pursue her earlier theory, that Kira was on the same bus as Penber. I was initially kind of shocked by Penber’s treatment of her because he was so openly dismissive of her ideas and her life as an FBI agent. We still don’t know why she stopped being one and why it was so important to her fiancé that she avoid that life. But, in a twist I did not expect, her fiancé was fridged so that she could get a story.

BUT LET’S ALSO TALK ABOUT THE NEW DEVELOPMENTS WITH L. After thirteen agents are murdered, more than half of the Japanese team quits within the day. Again, I don’t blame them; they are all aware that Kira can kill them from afar just by seeing them. The five people who are left, though, pass a test of sorts. It was more circumstantial than anything, but after years of assisting Interpol remotely, L finally invites these people to meet him. IN PERSON. That demonstrates a huge level of trust that he’s never exhibited before. Why is that? What’s different about this? Well, I think that L knows how serious this situation is. He knows that Kira is possibly more dangerous than he’s letting on. Why wouldn’t L want all the help that he could get?

It’s definitely an incredible development, and I’m eager to see how the Japanese police team – at least those left of them, that is – interact with L. THIS IS SO INTRIGUING!!!

The video for “Tactics” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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