Junketsu no Maria delivered a functional ‘stuff happened’ episode this week. It set up a number of character positions, and Maria’s general vilification by everyone in the world, but nothing was that exciting.
Nothing was wrong or bad exactly. Rather, we got no real action and Bernard’s “anti-Maria” campaign (and the villagers’ buy into it) was dull and predictable.
Action that wasn’t: after healing, Galif has been put in charge of the mercenaries and the camp-wench has thrown in with him, even though she saw him murder the previous boss. I suppose this isn’t surprising, as I’m not sure what she would be able to do about it, but I’m not clear on why the JnK includes her as a detail in the first place.
Meanwhile, another merc suspects Galif of killing the previous boss (for reasons that are not explained) and eventually challenges him to a duel. Unfortunately, that duel happens off camera and, because I don’t remember seeing this merc before, and there was no way Galif was going to die at this point, the whole conflict double-lacked emotional impact.
Mustache twirling: Bernard has gone from an interesting, nuanced villain of circumstance to an outright pure-evil villain. Telling Galif to rape the magic out of Maria aside, he’s most likely using witch magic to heal the people he claims were ‘poisoned’ by using Maria’s medicine in the first place.
I get the duplicity, and the conflict of needing to ‘win’ for his side, but his long-term agenda is so unclear, that he’s starting to come off as a pointless anti-Maria force for narrative sake.
Nuts and bolts: Bernard leaves the junior monk in charge of an inquisition force that will start in Maria’s formerly friendly village, Ann is emotionally broken by the conflicting words of the priest about Maria, The Old God warns Maria everything is about to hit the fan, and Joseph swears to never leave here.
Oh and there were Trolls or something who needed help at the beginning of the episode. And Valkiries, who don’t think highly of the church. They don’t do anything though so lets file them under ‘stuff.’
All in all, it was a heavy handed “world falling apart” set up for what will most likely be a pretty grim couple of episodes. Ho-hum but effective.
If there’s anything positive to say about it, it’s that I’m morbidly curious how down-note the show will go. In the first two episodes, I would have assumed it would end on a happy note but now? No way to tell.