In the twenty-ninth episode of Death Note, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SHOW AGAIN. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Death Note.
Saying that I can’t believe what this show does is an act of futility. I have to believe, because here we are. This is one of those rare episodes of television where so much happens that’s vital and important to the story that I felt like I’d just watched hours of the same episode. In just twenty minutes, “Father” deals us thrills, a heist, and one of the most tragic deaths in the whole series. Just as Light gets close to victory, Mello takes it away from him.
And takes his father, too.
Now, I don’t feel sorry for Light specifically. At all. Lord, he even calculates how much “emotion” he can display as his father is dying, so the whole thing is just about the performance. But it’s always been that way, hasn’t it? He always cared about how he was perceived; he thrived on the drama of his plans; and he adores the performance of his role as a “god.” If Light’s tears stand for anything, it’s his anger that he’s been upstaged by someone else.
And you know what? Towards the end of “Father,” I thought Mello wasn’t going to get away with this. Much like the plot in “Impatience,” this episode featured a complex system run by someone who wanted the Death Note. Light’s challenge here, though, was orchestrating the raid on Mello’s hideout without arousing the suspicion of anyone around him. He had the advantage of Misa’s Death Note on his side, which he used to get a member of the Mafia to reveal the hideout’s address to him. All of this was done without Mello suspecting a single thing. The same with the investigators! No one knew that they were basically playing an elaborate game of fetch for Light.
At the center of this? Soichiro. This episode is framed by his experience as a loving father who has been desperately trying to make the world safer. Has he succeeded? Not really, and you can tell it haunts him. Even after he successfully kept his wife and daughter out of the world of Kira for over five years, Sayu is still dragged into this nightmare. We’re reminded of that in the opening scene. Even in an idyllic setting like that, Soichiro can’t escape the violence that has surrounded him this whole time.
Thus, I think he rationalizes his decision to take the Shinigami eyes because he believes this might be an end. Perhaps the whole nightmare might get closer to a conclusion at some point. Sure, the real Kira might still be out there, but regaining control of the second Death Note is a step in a more hopeful direction. Whatever his reasoning – I can only speculate, since he keeps his thoughts to himself – I still admire the sacrifice he made here. After Mello targeted his daughter, he’s willing to give up half of his remaining life in order to bring her justice. (Does that mean he gave up half his life AND HE ONLY HAD A FEW HOURS LEFT ANYWAY? Good god.)
Everything goes according to plan – including most of the Mafia men dying on schedule – until Soichiro is faced with an impossible choice. Does he apprehend Mello, who is threatening to blow up the entire building, or does he kill him? It seemed such an easy idea when Soichiro agreed to it, but when he faces the reality of murder, he can’t bring himself to do it. He writes down Mello’s real first name, and you can tell that he was hoping that the mere threat would make Mello comply. He wanted any other option aside from killing this man, and unfortunately, he died because of it. AND IT’S SO INFURIATING. Mello gets away with it all, too, because HE BLOWS UP THE BUILDING ANYWAY. (For a brief moment there, I actually thought the show had killed off everyone in that room. WOULDN’T THAT HAVE BEEN BOLD.)
Here’s what hurt me the most, though. As Soichiro dies, Light’s plan to “relinquish” the Death Note and hold on to Misa’s allows Soichiro to see him as… normal. In the end, Soichiro dies with false happiness in his heart. Maybe he got to die with peace on his mind. I guess that’s a good thing. But the whole reason his life was changed so irrevocably was because of Light. This is Light’s fault, and Soichiro died without learning the truth of what his son did. Look, this show is pretty messed up. Somehow, though, this one detail felt like the most terrible reveal yet. I GUESS I JUST CARE ABOUT SOICHIRO A LOT.
So, time for me to repeat myself: What the hell is next? Mello is still alive, though all his henchmen are dead or arrested. Will any of them be interrogated? How will Light keep himself and Misa safe? Plus, there’s now only one Death Note in the world, since Ryuk returned the stolen notebook to Sidoh. I imagine Misa will continue to be Kira, but until when? How long can that last? Did Near learn anything during this that would help him identify Kira or locate Mello?
I love that this show keeps me guessing as to how there are more episodes. That’s pretty damn cool.
The video for “Father” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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