In the sixth episode of the first season of Yuri On Ice, Yuri heads to the Cup of China for the first major competition. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Yuri On Ice.
I’ll say this: I deeply appreciate that the writers for this episode give us such loving look into the lives of the four other skaters who are up against Yuri. They didn’t have to, and we could have been in Yuri’s head for the entirety of “China’s On!” It would have made sense! This is his show, you know? But there’s a brilliance to the format of this episode because it shows us that Yuri is not the only person with internal and external factors that influence his performance. On top of it, all his competitors are really good. It would have been so much easier to only give us glimpses of the other routines, to focus entirely on Yuri’s struggle, but instead?
Whew, this episode is GREAT.
I’m not imagining this, right? Because these two are quietly becoming more affectionate with one another. Or perhaps they’re just more comfortable in each other’s presence. There is hand touching! Victor runs his finger over the back of Yuri’s hand! VICTOR NAPS ON YURI’S SHOULDER ON THE PLANE!!! The forehead bumps. Victor… takes off his shirt when he gets drunk??? Look, I know guys who do the same thing so WHATEVER. Victor was kissing Yuri’s cheek, right? RIGHT????????
This is gonna destroy me, I swear.
The story we get here is both obvious and subtle. The clear conflict is that somehow, Yuri has to overcome the many issues he’s had thus far in order to place well in this competition. But the other competitors—who all share a desire to win, of course—are coming at this conflict from such different motivations. Take Chris, who doesn’t just want to win. He wants to defeat Yuri out of some bizarre sense of spite, believing that Yuri is keeping Victor all for himself. Which… y’all, he makes it sound like Victor isn’t choosing to spend with Yuri, as if Victor is required to skate for other people.
Things are far less intense between Guang-Hong, Leo, and Phichit. Instead, there’s an incredible sense of camaraderie between these characters! They’re friendly to one another, they are not angry or resentful of the others when they score better, and Phichit in particular is over the moon when Yuri skates as well as he does. This sort of variety made all of this feel so REAL, you know? Like we really were getting a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to actually compete at an international level. It’s intense, nerve-wracking, and absurd, but there’s just so much joy here.
Well, not always joy. Wow, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH GEORGI??? I mean… heartbreak, yes, but that make-up? WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING Y’ALL. Don’t even get me started on Christophe because apparently, his skating nearly brought him to orgasm??? WHO ALLOWED THIS. I was so overwhelmed!
Anyway: bravo to this episode giving us little backstories for each of the skaters so that we’d feel the true nature of this competition and why it is so meaningful for everyone who participated in it.
BUT LET’S BE REAL YURI KILLED IT!!!!!!!! I am just… so proud of him? It’s beyond pride, though. Yuri tapped into something pure here, and he shed off his insecurities and BECAME the theme he needed to skate. There’s a confidence here we’ve not seen before. It was immersive, and Yuri believed in himself, in his love for Yuri (THAT’S CANON, ISN’T IT, IT HAPPENED, WHAT THE FUCK), and in the most emotional epiphany so far:
Yuri is the only person who can understand Victor’s love.
I just??? This is happening??? It’s so queer???? And I can’t possibly see how this could ever be viewed as subtext at this point because IT’S RIGHT THERE IN THE SCRIPT. Yuri LITERALLY SAYS THIS IN HIS INTERNAL MONOLOGUE.
Oh my god, Happy Pride season, y’all, I’m incredibly fucking gay for this show.
The video for “China’s On! The Grand Prix Series Opening Event!! The Cup of China Short Program” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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