Letter Bee – 5
So, hey, Niche’s name is actually a decent foreshadowing of the direction she and Lag are going in right now. Who would have thought?
Lag is trying his damnedest to get on the path of the Letter Bee, but interestingly, Niche has also thrown herself completely into the role of Lag’s dingo. She is not just claiming that identity — she is owning it. Being addressed as anything less than “Niche, Lag’s dingo” is unacceptable to her. The episode treats this delicately, and rightfully so, because it could easily come off as a tad misogynistic if done incorrectly. But Niche sees that role as a protective role. As Lag explains it to Niche, a dingo is the partner of the Letter Bee. There is no ownership involved; they help each other deliver the letters.
Lag has that typical reaction of, “No! You can’t be put into danger because you’re a girl!” even though Niche whooped some ass in the prior episode and went toe-to-toe with a Gaichuu in a respectable battle. I don’t think Lag honestly thinks less of Niche because she is a girl; instead, he is trying to fill a role, himself — that of the proud Bee who faces danger head on and lends a hand to people who need it (i.e. he is trying to be Gauche). Lag says dumb things in this episode, and acts like a dork (I lol’d at Largo wondering why Lag is so polite to everyone), but he is just going through some growing pains right now. Personal and professional identity is not something that is easy to come by. (A point that is well made in ghostlightning’s latest Letter Bee post.) Hell, it took me half of college to grow comfortable with the path I chose for myself, and I still question it from time to time. Lag will find what works for him. It’ll be rough at times, but he’ll do it.
I also like the continued pushing of the poorer class’ outright hatred of the Bees. The occupation is romanticized so much in the early episodes — if the government wanted to raise children to become Bees, then Gauche is the man they’d show the kids, because he embodies all that is purported to be respectable about this job. But bad things keep coming up: Human packages remain undelivered because nobody wants to claim them, people abandoning their friends and family to become Bees and never returning again (although we don’t know Jiggy’s whole story yet, so it may be a bit unfair to paint him black), the expense of stamps to send letters (communication between towns is a luxury only the well off can afford, even though it seems as if they all live in one place), etc.
If I lived in that town, I would probably be pissed off, too. There is a code in place, and most Bees are probably just trying to do their jobs, but the rules don’t really mean much to people who believe (and probably with good reason) that those rules are in place to hold them down. If you think about it, I suppose the expense can be justified — after all, the Bees put their lives in danger to deliver the letters. But something tells me the people running the show did not have the value of a life in mind when they set the price. Just a hunch. It’s more like the market has driven the price to a point where the people on the bottom rung cannot reach. A halfway subtle criticism of capitalism, or simply a world-building detail? Hell if I know right now.
A good episode. I’m liking Niche’s character more as the series goes on, although the underwear shit is getting pretty old. Also intrigued by Largo saying Nelli is in more danger than Lag right now. I assume there is some sort of ID system, or something like that, in place for those entering the capital — at the very least, Connor has probably told the officials what Lag looks like, so when they Nelli saunter in with Lag’s temporary pass, they won’t be pleased to see her.