There have been some very weak episodes of Spy x Family, that’s for sure. But none, I think, quite so disheartening as the last couple have been. While technically fine and occasionally superb, they’ve been truly awful in material terms. It’s hard to overstate how much writing like this undercuts one’s respect for the material. One can choose to ignore all that, and that’s a valid choice. This is entertainment, after all. But a structure that hollow can’t support itself for very long.
I know there’s not a lot to be gained by ranting about everything I found wrong with all this. But it really is just so wrong. After having been basically wasted space for 30+ episodes, it looked like the opportunity was there for some actual substantive development with Yor. But what we got makes me look back on that wasted space era as the salad days for the character. Any opportunity for introspection about her fucked up life was pissed away in the most vapid, asinine fashion. And there were times when what we got these past two eps was genuinely offensive.
There can be no question, almost all of what’s serious wrong with SpyFam (aside from the times when it’s just not that good) relates to the Briar siblings. Which of course means that when they’re not in focus, the show has a chance to work just fine. But it’s harder to ignore Yor now after this debacle. Yuri, he was already a bag of raw sewage in an elevator every time he appeared (which thankfully was not every week). I can’t look at Yor now without thinking of how utterly stupid the denouement of her “self-reflection” was. And the stuff with the soaring music and the hugs and the baby – I threw up up in my mouth a little. In a way it was worse than that hideous fight-fireworks set piece last week.
This is a real problem for me, because in asking an audience to accept stuff like that, Endo is absolutely insulting their intelligence. The stuff with Loid and the bombs and Anya was OK but really, how much difference does that make? We’ve now been asked to believe that the Stasi and a bunch of mob hitmen are basically good guys. And then there’s the preposterous disconnect between Yor’s literally superhuman combat skills and how utterly stupid Endo has her act most of the time. Screw that, truly.
At this point all I can do, I think, is give up on SxF in substantive terms and just hope it can prove intermittently entertaining. I don’t see a road back from the kind of intellectual and narrative Death Valley the Briars have dragged the series into. One can only turn off their brain so much, and Endo’s attempts to have it both ways are transparently pathetic. This arc is truly a low point for the series, and it’s hard to see any way it can fully recover. At best, maybe, it can make me forget for a while (but the reminders will always be forthcoming before too long). This really sucks.