Mark Watches ‘Death Note’: Episode 21 – Performance

In the twenty-first episode of Death Note, I CAN’T DEAL WITH THIS MONUMENTAL EPISODE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Death Note. 


If you’ve watched the video that accompanies this episode, you’ll see me talk briefly about the way that the title works so brilliantly to provide us with a method to examine what we just saw. On multiple levels, this story is about performance. We watch the team prepare Misa for the “performance” she’ll give to the Yotsuba Group while Mochi does the same thing. But there are twists and turns along the way, and I’m so goddamn thrilled that in one episode, Misa has become the most intriguing character on the show.

How does she do that so quickly??? I credit partially to the relentless pace of this episode, but I don’t want that to be the sole reason this was so much fun to watch. It’s obvious why Misa became the Second Kira because she’s got such a dynamic (and frightening, to be honest) understanding of humanity. I’m not trying to condone the murders she committed, but I want to examine how this character operates. She goes into the Yotsuba meeting fully prepared to manipulate her way into a contract with them. She has selfish reasons for doing so. Not only will this further her career, but her actions will get her closer to Light. Prior to Rem’s interference, that seemed to be her only goal: to do anything to prove her devotion to Light.

But there’s a third party that Higuchi, the current Kira, doesn’t take into account: Rem, who can act as he wishes. I love the idea that Higuchi underestimates the powers of the very same being he is exploiting for his own gain. When Higuchi announces his plans to get close to Misa, Rem leaps into action, STEALING A SMALL CORNER OF A PAGE OF THE DEATH NOTE AND TOUCHING MISA WITH IT. Y’all, I am not ashamed of my reaction to this moment because I knew it was huge. AND I HAD NO IDEA JUST HOW RIDICULOUS THIS WOULD BE. Sometimes, I think the rules for the Death Note are almost comically complex, but I liked that Misa touching only a small piece of it gave her one ability: to see Rem again. It makes for some fascinating interactions, as well as being a brilliant way to add tension to the episode. Misa doesn’t have control over the Death Note, and yet? LOOK WHAT SHE’S ABLE TO DO IN VERY LITTLE TIME.

It’s both impressive and terrifying. Again, her creepy attachment to Light influences her choices here, and even Rem is aware, at the very least, that her love for him fuels her every move. Of course, Rem also has intense feelings for Misa, enough that he’s willing to kill just to protect Misa when she needs him. But I was very confused about her choices once Rem brought her back into his world. Identifying the third Kira? That made sense to me. However, then she stated that she wanted to do something to get even closer to Light and impress him.

HOW WAS A DATE WITH HIGUCHI GOING TO HELP HER DO THAT? Oh, Mark, YOU DON’T GET IT. Look, the very nature of Death Note means I’m always going to act like a fool whenever someone tells the truth. There are so many layers hidden under the surface of these characters’ lives, and when the truth comes to light, it feels huge. Thus, Misa’s casual revelation to Higuchi that she can kill people? Well, it shocked me. At first, I thought maybe she was just toying with him. BUT THEN SHE WENT FURTHER AND FURTHER AND SHE TOLD HIM SHE WAS SECOND KIRA AND THEN SHE USED REM TO “PROVE” IT and I cannot believe how often this show escalates the action.

She gets Higuchi to openly confess to being the third Kira, and she secretly records it. She’s brilliant, I’ll give her that. However, she just put a target on her back! Why? Because in her quest to impress Light, she just gained the attention of L. L could not deduce who the third Kira was after weeks of study, and Misa did it in less than a day. Sure, there’s some arrogance there, but I don’t think it’s all that weird for him to be suspicion of someone who’s shown no deductive skills to suddenly be better than everyone else. Is she going to continue to be this reckless? Will she actually follow through on her plan with Higuchi and get him to “prove” that he’s in possession of the Death Note? What if he says something about it and other people hear?

Y’all, I love that twists like this give us potential. Plot surprises don’t shut doors in Death Note; they open a thousand new ones, and I have no goddamn clue what’s going to happen next. That’s so exciting to me!

The video for “Performance” 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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