In the fourteenth episode of Steins;Gate, THIS SHOW IS A LOT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steins;Gate.
Trigger Warning: For death, grief
We literally do not know how many times Okabe leapt two hours into the past. We can’t know, but instead, all that matters here is his dedication and the end result. We are shown a friend so desperate to save someone he loves that he’ll relive their death over and over again, hoping to save them just the one time.
BUT. THEY. CAN’T. And my theory about Mayuri is basically right. It doesn’t matter if the Rounders—that weird group of SERN spies/contractors? I DON’T KNOW—even show up in the timeline. In every time leap, Mayuri dies. Sometimes, it’s because Moeka assassinates her. Other times, seemingly random events line up perfectly so that she doesn’t survive. It’s horrifying and bewildering, and I could not see a way out. How? How is he supposed to break a cycle that happens no matter how many times he tries to disrupt it?
So even when Okabe began a new technique—confronting Moeka before she revealed herself to be a mole from SERN—I still had my doubts. If he stopped Moeka, the universe still found a way for Mayuri to die, so why even try this? Ultimately, though, I think this was helpful, at least because it gave Okabe information that he never had in any of the other iterations. He knows know that the group calls them selves the “Rounders,” that they’re responsible for changing “arcs” (??????), and that their ultimate goal is to get an IBN 5100. Well, that and eliminate the time travel threat in Okabe. They must be the ones who sent that creepy image to Okabe, and they certainly are responsible for calling in the bomb threat to the trains. So, SERN wants to control time travel! That in and of itself isn’t shocking. But who the hell is FB? Why does Moeka do whatever they ask her to?
When Mayuri dies again, though, a significant breakthrough is finally made. In all the previous versions, even the ones we never saw, Okabe never approached anyone else on the team to ask for their help. And I get that: why get them involved? He was more concerned with getting them out of the lab so they wouldn’t get kidnapped. However, once he tells the truth to Kurisu, there’s a change. That change is SOMEONE ELSE’S PERSPECTIVE. Because look, even I never considered that Okabe could just jump back again after making a time leap. In that, there’s an intriguing theory: what if there’s something from an earlier time that is necessitating that Mayuri die? That means that Okabe is approaching this all wrong; he needs to repair the past in order to protect his friend. I… think? I’M TRYING, Y’ALL.
Look, I’m grasping onto this theory because I have nothing else, but it’s also because I love that for a moment, Kurisu and Okabe get along. There is much more of an ease between them than ever before, and his decision to work with her feels like an important development for the two of them. Without her, he never would have gone an additional five hours into the past, and then, once at that point in the timeline, she’s the one who is able to decipher what might be wrong. She matters to this mystery, and I love that.
But the second I get comfortable, this show likes to shove me down, and this time, right as I felt like Okabe and Kurisu were making progress, a wildcard arrives: Suzuha. (Who, for the record, I noticed outside the restaurant, spying on them!!!) HOLY GOD, WHY WAS I SURPRISED BY THIS? Her father is into time travel! Barrel Titor! JESUS CHRIST, THE ANSWER WAS RIGHT THERE. I feel a little pleased that I noticed the orange numbers and figured they were important, but the final sequence of this episode cements Kurisu’s hypothesis a lot more. The current world line has drifted so far from the 1% barrier that every world line in the stream leads to Mayuri’s death. I am confused on what actions would move the line closer to 1%. Repairing the world? Changing it? What have they been doing wrong?
I cannot fucking believe one of the biggest answers to this show was in the first ten minutes of the first episode. THAT IS A TIME MACHINE THAT CRASHED INTO THE BUILDING. WE WERE LITERALLY TOLD THIS IN THE FIRST EPISODE. And yet???? It was later just a “satellite.” NOPE. IT’S SUZUHA’S MACHINE. SHE IS JOHN TITOR.
I’m a goddamn mess, and it is all your fault.
The video for “Physically Necrosis” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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