Bitchin’ Space Pirates 12 – Everything Ends Well When You’re a Pirate
I’ll admit to being a bit confused at first with the conclusion to this arc. After a few minutes of thought, it’s not really that confusing . . . it’s just that the reveal of the deceptions at the end come so fast and furious that everything is over before the mind has a chance to figure out just what the hell is going on. It feels kind of cheap on the surface, but when you examine everything in hindsight — as emperorj does in his post — it’s not as if it totally comes out of nowhere. The episode is actually amusingly sneaky in the way it puts the viewer in Gruier’s shoes.
The deception I most enjoy in this episode is how the episode plays on the natural assumption that because Gruier actually knows what’s in the ghost ship, she must then hold all the cards in her hand. Marika notices that Gruier had planned to seal herself in the room with the Giant Flowery Womb Machine and directly points it out. Really, Marika taking the time to mention this is a subtle bit of misdirection for the viewer. Just point out that someone has/had a plan in mind, and no one will notice that you’ve got something in mind, yourself. There’s probably at least a few people who were suspicious of Marika and her crew in the ghost ship (particularly how quickly they make their way through the thing and seem to know exactly where to go and how to work everything), but I’ll admit that this caught me hook, line and sinker.
Even when Gruier’s servants were on the side of the Serenity forces boarding the ship, I wasn’t thinking that the wool was being pulled over my eyes, though I did wonder why they would be betraying her when they went out of their way to help her and the Bettenmaru crew out. Maybe if I’d had a bit more time to parse things out in my mind, I might have suspected that something was more amiss, but of course that’s the beauty of the pirates and the Serenity folks pulling off their scheme in such a rapid fashion. If the audience realizes what’s going on, then surely Gruier must also realize what’s happening, and it would make the success of the plan more unbelievable than it already is.
There is one thing I’m still fuzzy on, however: the people who were backing Grunhilde in her mission to retrieve the newborn child from the ghost ship. I wonder if the people who wanted to grab power by using Grunhilde would really back off so easily with just the ghost ship being returned. Then again, if the people of Serenity are as sovereign as Gruier says, the royal folks might not have any choice but to back down. Grunhilde and Gruier have some A+ royal symbolism backing them by returning a beloved icon of the kingdom, which would likely garner popular support. I guess everything really does work out!
Aside from all that fun stuff, I really enjoyed the look into Serenity’s history that we got from the ghost ship. It’s a really fascinating structure, and even the little tidbits we get in this episode provide a lot to chew on. I kind of dig the idea of a civilization traveling through space and surviving on a massive ship. You see a lot of that through the various Macross series. Pretty sure I’ve seen that sort of thing in other science-fiction stories, too. I just can’t think of anything else off the top of my head, haha.