Two years after Jonah left Koko, the entire world has been set ablaze by wars and sits on the brink of WWIII. Koko hires Kasper’s men, including Jonah, to guard her as they launch the completed quantum computer into orbit in Kazakhstan. Kasper knows her plan, but he tells her it won’t stop him from selling weapons. Jonah decides to quit, and wanders on his own. Two days later he is in Baku, where Koko and her team are waiting for him. She’ll stop an impending New Soviet attack on the oil fields by activating Jormungand. Jonah agrees to return to her side.
Well, unless there’s a film or another season to follow up, we’ll never see the new world Koko Hekmatyar created, with the help of her hot female scientist friends and merry band of bodyguards. But we’re okay with that. Ending things the very moment she activates Jormungand still leaves open infinite possibilities. Will her way work? Conventional wisdom says no; and so does Kasper. He makes the argument we made last week: people will fight with rocks and sticks if they have to. But Koko is surely well aware of this and any other arguments.
Bottom line: rocks and sticks can’t cause the same mass death and destruction as bullets and bombs from the sky. She also believes putting a proverbial leash on humanity will humiliate them into submission. If they are as nasty, brutish and short as Kasper (and Hobbes) think, there may be nothing Koko or anyone else can do to stop the human urge to wage war. But it’s nice to think that just as two years of watching the world ignite taught Jonah that Koko’s plan is worth a try, perhaps a few years without the use of the skies will convince calmer heads that peace is worth a try.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Koko tells Jonah killing her won’t stop Jormungand, so he jumps off the pier and swims away. Kasper picks him up and hires him on the spot. As the plans to shrink the quantum computer commence, Minami informs Koko about Scarecrow and Plame digging into her finances. She decides to summon Bookman to Africa, and when he arrives he is attacked by an armed group that is killed by a platoon of marines who escort him out of danger. Back in America, Plame is arrested by the NSA for breaching the FISA, as Koko made it look like he sent the armed group instructions to assassinate Bookman.
Koko Hekmatyar may be a dyed-in-the-wool supervillain with designs on starting a new world at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives, but when she kicks as much ass and takes as many names as she has of late, we can’t help but root for her. She also seems to have the support of her team: only Jonah and Lutz are conflicted (it’s probably not a coincidence they’re the youngest members of her team), and only Jonah outright resigns his commission over it, only to be ensnared by Kasper. It looks like Jonah’s going to cling to the status quo as long as he can, but Minami thinks he’ll ultimately come back to Koko.
The main attraction of this episode isn’t even the standoff betwen Koko and Jonah, in which Koko delivers one villainously awesome speech (“I hate the world, but it’s lucky I’m going to reform and not destroy it”). It’s yet another demonstration of Jormungand’s formidable, virtually inviolable power over information.It’s essentially carried out to prove a point to Bookman about just how screwed the rest of the world is against her might (and Koko orchestrates it while lying naked in a hot spring.Boss.) Far from taking up the challenge to defeat her plans, Bookman, eager to see the new world Koko wants to build, decides he’ll let her use him however she wants. Can you blame him? In a world where she’s the new god of information, blasphemy will get you nowhere.
Rating: 8 (Great)
Koko and Dr. Miami open the new “Marchen Ltd. Facility” where robotic toys will be made. Miami later meets with Curry and Koko with Trohovsky as Kasper announces the Hekmatyar Global Grid Distribution Package, which aims to revolutionize global military logistics and promises to slash the costs of operations through optimization.
The Hekmatyar siblings finally reveal their big evil scheme, and it’s a gigantic global system that will, among other things, make supply lines a thing of the past. This is a network set up by launching 125 satellites into orbit, and military leaders all over the place are liking their lips at the possibilities it offers. Meanwhile, HCLI’s competitors exhibit a mix of anticipatory excitement, panic, and unease. And with good reason: HCLI means to have a monopoly on affordable war.
Those not in on it could see their clients disappearing and their businesses turning to dust. Whether the Global Grid is the full project or merely the opening salvo, Koko and Dr. Miami definitely have a lot of people on their toes, including Bookman. Their grand plan even has a suitable name, Jormungand – a self-devouring creature as the symbol of a business that exploits a self-devouring humanity. For now, Bookman is just keeping an eye on her; who knows how he or her other enemies will respond to this.
Rating: 6 (Good)
With half the SR Squad eliminated by Kasper’s team, Koko heads to Umihotaru with hers to seek out the other half. The designated meeting spot is a trap, and Jonah is ambushed. Koko and the others drive off, and when Tojo retrieves Jonah, he follows in a stolen car. A multi-car tunnel shootout ensues, ending when the vehicles exit the tunnel and Lehm, Wiley and Valmet mop up the SR Squad pursuers from a helicopter. After having their activities covered up, Koko and Jonah go to the Bahamas with Tojo, where he’s tracked down Colonel Hinoki – and the family he thought was a lie.
So, have we come out of this two-parter with a greater understanding of and appreciation for Akihito Tojo? Well, that would have been inevitable in any episode in which his past was brought up. We’ve only known him to be a calm, level-headed, generally decent sort of fellow who seemed more comfortable handling paperwork and diplomacy than guns and knives. Now we know he once had a similar role with Colonel Hinoki’s SR Squad, but became disillusioned. Little did he know Mr. Hino himself gradually got sick of the SR Squad too. When an opportunity arose to have it wiped out in the bloodbath his subordinates thirsted for, he took it. The other squad members took turns calling Tojo a traitor, but he didn’t really betray anyone per se. He stopped seeing SR as a place where he fit, and no one in SR other than Hinoki really ever liked him anyway, so why stay?
The organization got deeper into arms dealing and also grew more militant and chaotic. In hindsight, Tojo left a sinking ship, and left his mentor behind thinking their views had diverged. But it turns out everything Tojo assumed or expected about Hinoki – be it his actions or his motives – turned out to be the opposite of reality – his fake Thai wife is real, and he has an adorable daughter too. And at the end of the battles, Hinoki makes sure Tojo understands there’s something to be said for being the last survivor of the SR Squad, suggesting Tojo’s spy instincts and talent for survival are better than Tojo himself realizes.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
As per their family pact, Koko agrees to help Kasper in his dealings with the SR Squad, a rival arms dealers who work in the shadows. Tojo contacts his former bosss, Colonel Hiroki, who confirms the SR Squad provoked HCLI. He arranges meets for both Kasper in Jakarta and Koko in Japan. Kasper meets with his representative Ms. Kurosaka, but she turns out to be an assassin, whom Chequita swiftly dispatches. She and Kasper’s other men fight their way out of the hotel, and the battle begins.
When Tojo started talking, we were worried whether he’d ever stop. Even the episode acknowledges it’s quite a bit of exposition, as Jonah, Lutz, and others start to get antsy and nod off during the briefing. Why the talk is being held out in the airport parking lot and not a hotel room is also weird. But the result of this is, we now know what HCLI’s up against, though Hiroki and his SR Squad switch up their methods, deciding to come out of their shadows and hit hard, perhaps in an effort to scare off or beat down HCLI quickly.
They make a statement in their first strike with a friendly assassin with a flexible katana hidden in her belt. Chequita proves she may be the toughest, craziest of all the tough crazy women in the series, operating as a both a lightning-quick shield for Kasper and a one-woman SWAT team cutting and shooting through the SR Squad like butter (Ever shot at butter before? Not as fun as it sounds). The burst of action in the end makes up for all the dull exposition earlier on. As for Valmet undressing a drunk Koko and suggesting they shower and sleep together – their evening ends…ambiguously, so it’s anyone’s guess what ultimately happened there.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Car Cameos: Colonel Hiroki drives (himself!) in a Nissan Cima (F50) AKA Infiniti Q45, whose elaborate “gatling gun”-style headlamps were groundbreaking when the model was first unveiled in 2000. Other cameos include a Suzuki Wagon R, Toyota Prius, Toyota Vanguard, a Toyota Alphard, Volvo S80 (not Koko’s) and a couple Toyota Hiace vans and trucks.
Kasper, Chequita, and his team are in Jakarta, attempting to meet Colonel Nualkhair, but they’re stood up. They go to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where he laments that a “phantom company” is trying to edge them out of southeast Asia. He orders an assault on Nualkhair’s son’s compound, which is made to look like an accident but will be seen by the phantoms as a declaration of war. The company based in Japan, which is where Koko and her team are headed. During the flight, Jonah reminisces about his previous life. They meet up with Kasper’s team at Narita, and Kasper takes Jonah to see his three orphaned friends at an international school. Kasper asks to speak to Tojo, who once worked for the Defense Intelligence HQ or SR Squad, whom he believes to be the “phantoms”.
With R and Hex dead and Bookman currently hand-less, HCLI moves on to other things, as they’re threatened to be pushed out of SE Asia by a mysterious company that’s messing with their would-be clients. Kasper, who is essentially a beefed-up, more ruthless version of Koko, isn’t going to take it sitting down, and seeks the wisdom of another one from Koko’s team, Tojo. Both teams are so eclectic in their composition, it’s not surprising that they all may have past connections that may prove useful. Tojo is more brains than brawn in ops, so we may be in for a more cerebral arc than the one with R and Hex – though the tidy raid on Nualkhair’s pad was a powerful statement that Kasper doesn’t play around.
This episode was a little weighed down by frequent flashbacks that amount to clips from the first cour’s fifth episode, chronicling how Jonah ended up with HCLI and Koko. This smacked of recapping, which we never like to see in regular episodes. The clips didn’t really reveal anything new, but only served as a large, padded segue to Jonah asking Kasper about the kids he promised would be cared for in Japan. He sees them, and their clean clothes smiling faces are a striking contrast to the abject misery of that wretched base. But Jonah just sees them; he doesn’t meet them. He’s almost confirming that he deems his existence incompatible with normal life and other kids in particular. He couldn’t bear it if the sight of him changed the look on their faces from contentment to fear.
Rating: 6 (Good)