Welcome all, to the penultimate week of The Big O! Only one more to go after this, and then the review, and then a break for New Years as I try to write… Jesus, 4 reviews? 5? Let me tell you, picking up this many shows was a mistake. I’m going to make it work though. Now without further delay, lets dive into the episodes!
First up is episode 23, “Twisted Memories”. It’s been clear for a while now that Big O has been laying the foundation for the finale. in fact I had thought it would have already started by now, but Big O has been feathering the breaks just enough to keep us waiting. Well no more! Because with this episode I can say with surety that the finale… Has truly begun! The first half is mostly checking in with everyone, letting us know where Angel, Dastun, Alex, and Roger all are, mentally and physically. Some of these aren’t that big, like Dastun trying to reconnect with Roger a bit since it’s all he can really do, or Angel slumming it with nowhere else to go. The second however half kicks things off proper with Dorothy’s kidnapping, as well as the return of an old friend.
The kidnapping itself was kind of cool. We got Norman going off and kicking ass, using the entire arsenal to fend off the invading robots. Falling back one line of defense at a time, using narrow passageways and heavy artillery. Some of this you have to wonder why he didn’t use earlier in the series, like the turrets against the helicopter back in season one. It isn’t a huge deal of course, maybe he was just caught off guard or they added them later, it really doesn’t matter. But it did cross my mind while watching. Aside from that we also got an awesome scene of Big O acting on its own to protect Dorothy, punching through a wall and staring menacingly. Maybe it was responding to Roger’s order through the watch, but either way he wasn’t inside piloting it I say it counts.
As for the villains, lets start with Beck. I wasn’t expecting to see him again, he doesn’t really fit the more serious episodes the finale demands. I’m happy of course, I love the guy. He’s bombastic and charismatic. I’m just surprised Big O found a way to make him work here, involving him in Alex and Gabriel’s plot against his will. The way it played up how unhappy he is about this, how none of this is his usual style and he isn’t proud of it, was great. It helps that I was expecting a darker fate for him when Gabriel talked about how he used Dorothy to power his Megadeus. I thought they were going to strap Beck into Big Fou like a living battery, a dark and thematically appropriate fate for a beloved villain. Big O still did that with someone else, but Beck at least survives.
Speaking of Big Duo, it makes a return at long last! Big O doesn’t reveal the pilot this episode, but with episode 24 right around the corner we can just talk about them, it’s Gabriel! Of all the things I should have expected, I didn’t think Big Duo would show up again. Probably should have. But with Schwarzewald’s death I sort of assumed its place in the story was over. Granted it doesn’t do much in the upcoming episode, only sticking around for the first half. But it makes a very important statement that we’ll talk about when we get to episode 24 coming up.
Finally we come to the big one, Alex. This guy… Where do we even begin when talking about patricide? This was… Probably my favorite sequence in the episode? First their meeting, where Alex tries one last time to get his fathers approval only to be find he had been forgotten entirely. He basically went to make amends with his emotionally abusive father only for the guy to have Alzheimer’s and learn that closure was forever out of his reach. Then the slow build as the fire grows across the farm, intercut with scenes of the coming conflict. Eventually we see Alex himself daring to cry about killing his own father, burning down his last work and killing everyone involved. acting like it was somehow necessary. It was a fantastic way to escalate Alex as a character after last week infantilized him, making it clear that for all his childishness, he’s a monster.
With that we come to episode 24, “The Big Fight”. And as the name would suggest, it’s a fight! Big O vs Big Duo! This was pretty funny, I like that Roger effectively lost, only saved by the sentience of Big Duo. The way it rejected Gabriel, finally giving us the “Ye Guilty” moment we’ve been waiting for. I absolutely loved it. Plus the shade of Schwarzwald, basically showing up to laugh at Alan and call him a principle-less parasite undeserving of piloting Big Duo. It fits well with what he had to do to get it moving at all. Abandoning being human, hooking himself into it, basically enslaving Big Duo rather than working together with it like Alex and Roger both do, or attempt to do for Alex. It doesn’t feel cheap like I’d have expected it to, because this is has all been established for a long time.
If anything this feels like the closest Big O is ever going to get to telling us how the Bigs actually work. From what I understand, they seem to want pilots who believe in something. They don’t care exactly what, just that they have a passion, an internal truth, that they adhere to above all else. Roger believed in defending this city and those in it, eventually evolving into him denying the role others are thrusting upon him and forging his own path. Schwarzwald was all about waking the city up, through any means necessary. And Alex? Well he didn’t have one at all before now, which is why Big Fau rejected him and went haywire, though not as severely as Big Duo just did. It all lines up with Rogers speech about there being more than one truth. Whatever you believe, fight for it. And Gabriel didn’t.
Getting back to the actual story, with Big Duo defeated Roger was able to chase down and find Dorothy. Sadly her memories were gone, ripped out of her head. Most likely she’s going to become the core memory for Big Fau, allowing Alex and his newfound truth to pilot it without restriction. I’m a tad curious what memories she has that makes her required specifically, Big O still hasn’t revealed her connection with the Bigs in all of this though I assume it has to do with her father probably designing both. Whatever the case though, the fact remains that she’s had the important memories the whole time. There’s still some unexplained bits, like the second Dorothy who tried to kill Roger as well as the details of the war, but I expect we will get those next week.
All of that plot shit aside though, it’s time to get to the actually important bit: Roger confessed to Dorothy! Or well… Confessed to himself, with Dorothy’s lifeless mechanical corpse laying right next to him. The details aren’t important, what matters is that Big O is committing to their relationship, and I’m so happy. I never voiced it much, but I was afraid that Big O would leave it ambiguous, afraid to commit to an actual romance right up until the end. I’m glad to see that isn’t the case, to hear Roger respond to that question she asked him so long ago about whether they could fall in love under the right circumstances. It was really touching, and it feels like one of the first times Roger has really allowed himself to open up to someone like that. Even with Angel, he was always guarded.
Speaking of Angel, lets talk about her and Dastun this episode. Angel has some weird shit going on, wondering down in the tunnels. Makes sense, the tunnels are creepy. But she found a camera stage, one that looks suspiciously like her childhood home where she grew up. This is creepy, but when combined with Dastun walking into a theater where his younger self is watching the movie from his big episode last season, about him, it starts to get pretty weird. Is this some kind of time loop bullshit? Gordon did reset the memories of the city while the world burned after all, did he do that with some time loop technology? I really hope not, time loops are hard and even Wolf’s Rain only barely got away with it. I also don’t think that would really fit what Big O’ has done up until now. Guess we will have to find out next week.
So yeah, that aside I think this was a great pair of episodes. I got the Roger x Dorothy romance I’ve been wanting, a big giant robot battle, “Ye Guilty” finally happened and Alex murdered his father. What’s not to love? I’m a little concerned about the finale, mostly because I’m afraid of time bullshit now plus the sheer amount of plot threads it needs to wrap up, but I’m hopeful Big O will manage. At the very least it’s going to give me one last giant robot fight between Big O and Big Fau, and you know what? I kind of expect it to go hard. Big O has had some pretty great spectacle fights and I don’t see any reason for the big finale to let us down on that. Looking forward to what Big O has for us next week.
Just look at the focus on her lips… Roger is thirsty.
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