There are many bumps along the road for Lawrence and Horo in Spice and Wolf‘s second season: Trust issues between the two, miscommunication and the elephant in the room of Lawrence’s mortality, which leads to Horo’s fear that her happiness with Lawrence will burn out one day and leave her time with him a bitter memory, instead of the precious jewel she would like to remember it as. In the season finale, Horo seems ready to cut her time with Lawrence short.
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So, damn. A very good ending to what is Spice and Wolf‘s best arc so far.
The big story, of course, is Lawrence putting aside his dream for now and declaring his love for Horo. I’m glad he stuck to his guns and made a strong effort to at least ride out the rest of his journey with Horo, and he explains his desire to her in a way that really resonates with Horo, I think. Lawrence wants to profit as much as Abe . . . up to a point. But once he realizes how far her plan reaches — which is around when he notices the salt statues, I suppose — Lawrence, like a true merchant, begins to balance the risk of the plan versus the profit. There is an enormous risk to Abe’s plot, and an enormous monetary profit to be had if it goes through. But at what price? And is it the type of profit Lawrence really wants?
Oh shit. I kept waiting for something to come along and mess up the plan, but things are getting serious now.
What I love most about the reveal of the rebellion is that the unrest has been there all along, and yet it is only after this episode completely sweeps the cover off it that I really realize this. Just about everyone Lawrence and Horo meet in this town is panicked, trying to get out or both. Abe sees the writing on the wall; she wants to leave before the bishop squashes all her influence. The old man is ditching his inn. Rigolo is nervous about the 50-man meeting, although he tries his best not to show it. There is a gaggle of merchants hanging around menacingly in front of the town. The fur traders are pissed off that they cannot sell their wares. This is a town ready to collapse at any moment.
Haha, well I could not have been more wrong about the direction of Abe’s plan! At least, if what is revealed is the absolute truth.
Abe seems to have an answer for all of Lawrence’s concerns about her connection to the church and what led to it being broken. Lawrence has had bad run-ins with the church before, so the local church being a den of corruption probably is not too much to swallow for him. And Abe seems to be totally upfront about her reasons for dealing with a corrupt church — she wanted to goad the bishop into getting the ambition to become an archbishop, so that she would have another high-powered contact as an invaluable resource for her business dealings. The bishop saw through this just as his plans started coming into fruition, so he cut Abe off before she became too big a nuisance. Now Abe wants a way to profit and be out of town before the situation gets too hairy. Seems cut and dry, right?
Not at all surprised to see I was correct in being highly suspicious of Abe. (Though I think anyone with a brain watching this would also reach the same conclusion!)
I didn’t quite get what Abe was aiming for at first (maybe because I am as thick as Lawrence), but blackmail is her game. The mention of the church is ominous, since Lawrence and Horo have had troubles with them in the past. Could Abe know Horo’s true identity? That would explain why she was so eager to speak with Horo in the last episode. Abe has also been keeping close tabs on Lawrence almost since the moment Lawrence and Horo entered town. Would not be at all shocked to know Abe figured out Horo’s secret even before Abe and Lawrence met for the first time.
I really hope Lawrence has learned to be a bit more wary by now, or else he is going to be in trouble, haha.
Our female friend from last week’s episode is a fellow merchant — Fruhl “Abe” Boland, who goes by Abe for business purposes. Her reason for concealing her identity makes sense (not too shocking to hear of prejudice/bias against female merchants in this time period), but this of course means there is already an element of secrecy with Abe. She is used to hiding behind a disguise, and as a merchant, she is used to concealing as much of her true intentions as possible so that she can make the highest profit. The fact that she is so eager to speak with Horo raises many red lights for me. Is she simply curious about what sort of woman would journey with a merchant, or does she really sense something deeper about Horo? It is tough to believe Abe wants something as simple as wanting just to speak with someone without having to worry about disguises. Then again, doesn’t that give her something in common with Horo? There is that same sense of loneliness Horo has, the same pride that covers it up and the need to hide oneself in a group with which one is completely different.
So, I guess this episode is mainly about Lawrence’s boyfriend fail, and how ONE KISS CAN TURN IT AROUND.
It is pretty funny, though. Horo is like the cool, high maintenance college girl who’s been places and knows things, and Lawrence is the high school guy who’s way out of his league and fails pretty hard at impressing her, but she keeps him around because he surprises her every once in a while. Look at all the evidence: He avoids the hug she clearly wants (strike one), he comes up with an insulting metaphor to placate Horo after some dude insults the quality of her tail (strike two), he falls asleep after he promised to dry Horo’s clothes and then get some stew (strike three) and he tries to be all coy when Horo clearly wants some (tentative strike four — Lawrence is making one of his patented gambles by holding off on this, but it could pay off later!).