In the ninth episode of Death Note, THIS SHOW IS ETERNALLY MESSED UP. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Death Note.
Well, I did wonder very loudly in my last review what path this show might take, AND THE UNIVERSE ANSWERED THAT QUERY WITH THIS EPISODE. I was worried going into “Encounter” because it opened with L shifting the bulk of his suspicion away from Light. No! Go back! You were right! Who else could he go after? The other police officer’s surveillance didn’t help at all, and there’s still the mystery of Naomi’s disappearance to solve. (Will we ever get back to that? Or is that all there is to her show?)
I maintained some hope that while L had to admit that his surveillance of Light provided no real evidence, he wasn’t willing to abandon his suspicion. That’s a smart technique, first of all, because it means that he can still cover his bases as the investigation continues. However, I figured that Light’s misdirection had worked so well that Light would now have the chance to really build up his alibi. That’s where this story seemed to be going, didn’t it? Light was on his way to take his entrance exams. He was plotting out what he could do with all the free time he’d have once college started. He was prepared to settle in a new routine.
AND THEN L ENDS UP SITTING A FEW SEATS BEHIND LIGHT IN THE EXAMS.
My initial thought:
What the fuck is wrong with this show?
This show is most certainly about the game between L and Light, and Light even vocalizes it at the end of “Encounter.” But this specific moment – where L boldly appears in Light’s exam room and, later on, onstage with him during opening remarks for college – is a monumental shift in the narrative for Death Note. I honestly thought that L and Light wouldn’t meet until well past the halfway mark because… well, that’s why all the tension existed! Neither of them were ever in the same physical space, and they were exacting a war against each other from a distance.
That’s why L’s actions are so fucking flagrant and brilliant. No one expected this. Not me, not Light, PROBABLY NOT ANY OF YOU. But showing up isn’t enough; initially, Light just thought he was weird. The audience knows it must mean something, though. There’s no other reason for L to be there unless he was trying to force Light’s hand. It’s not until the ceremony that L’s trap comes to light, and what a brilliant thing it is. L had mentioned earlier that all his attempts at nudging Kira into identifying themselves weren’t working, and thus, this plan was born.
It’s such a complicated trap, too! L literally tells Light that he is L, though he uses an alias shared by a very famous pop idol. Let’s examine what happens if Light does anything in response to this:
- If Light uses the alias in the Death Note, it will be impossible for him not to see the famous pop star in his head when he does so, and then that celebrity will die. L will instantly know that Light is Kira.
- If Light reacts to L admitting who he is, then L will be even more suspicious of Light’s actions.
- If Light tries to learn L’s real name? Suspicion again, most likely confirmation that he’s Kira.
- If Light ignores L’s attempt to troll him, he’ll still have L’s suspicion because his instinct is telling him that something is wrong with Light.
- If Light kills L in any way in the immediate future, the surviving police officers will suspect.
Thus, Light’s only response is patience. He’s not unable to defend himself at the moment, but he cannot act rashly. If anything, that means that “Encounter” is the real start of this battle between L and Light. They’ve now met; both are aware of how deviously talented the other person is. They know what sort of risks the other will take to get what they want. And now, Light knows that L is bold and determined. But can he win L over? What can he do to win L’s trust when L isn’t exactly quick to offer that up? That’s a mystery to me, but we’ve seen plenty of evidence of Light’s ability to manipulate others.
But this is L we’re talking about. It won’t be easy. Yet I’m so thrilled by this development because it injects life in a story that was already entirely engaging. What the hell are these two going to do next??? I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE.
The video for “Encounter” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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