Last week I talked about how I really enjoyed putting the pieces of the puzzle that is LISTENERS together, and that sentiment is still true, but man oh man, this episode came in and just scrambled everything up. I mean wow! I knew the second coming wasn’t going to go as planned, but I ABSOLUTELY did not expect this outcome!
But I’m going to back up to the beginning of this episode, because I thought this episode was put together really well. Despite it messing up my metaphorical puzzle, I’m pretty content with the content that it provided to us. I mean, coming into the episode, I fully expected it to be a “Why are you giving up on Mu, you need to go and save her! No one can do it but you!” But it really gave us the opposite. Especially the last few lines from Janis telling Echo that he’s very normal and that he’s going to do what literally anyone else can do. And yet? It will become the thing that only he can do. I really liked that final interaction because we’ve finally established a destiny for him. Echo has been a really interesting character since we first met him, and by interesting, I mean… the least engaging/interesting character in the story. All these other characters that we’ve met have had some grand narrative following them, but Echo? He’s just boy who started off digging for trash and being inspired by Players. If anything, we’re watching his narrative being written, but when we meet people like Nir, the Valentines, Denka, Roz, and many of the others it becomes pretty obvious how little Echo is developed. I mean even in his own quest he’s consistently overshadowed by Mu – so I really appreciated that this episode dedicated it’s time to focusing on Echo.
Granted, the focus of Echo was significant world building for the climax that is coming in the final two episodes, but I’m glad that it’s Echo, and only Echo, that’s finding and experiencing this information. The episode would have been very different if Mu, or even Nir accompanied Echo on the trip, I don’t think that we would have been able to glean the information. Mu is headstrong and when she’s upset everyone knows that she’s upset. I like that she wears her emotions on the sleeve, but it can be hard for her sit with information if she doesn’t particularly like it. Given the recent events for Nir, she also wouldn’t have been a good companion for Echo primarily because of the rage that she’s built up. However, since the beginning Echo has been the type of person to sit and listen and absorb what everyone is telling him. he may bottle it up, but he’ll hear what others need to say without too much of a fight. Is he upset by what he learns? Yeah! Absolutely! But he’ll give them the space to say what they need to say.
One of the other reasons that I enjoyed the episode is that it seemed to take its time and gave us stunning visuals. A good portion of the episode really was just Echo doing farm chores with Janis and Mr. Robert. It was a very calm experience and they were able to introduce things to us slowly, like the concept of Records being memories. So, when they went to visit The Origin, it was a complete shift in tone, and that’s when everything started to be put together. I would have never expected to find out who Jimi’s true younger sister was and that it is most certainly not Mu. And I also liked how the Blues town served as a memory that needed to be shared. Personally, I’m trying to wrap my head around that one because Mr. Robert and Janis ultimately seemed to disappear after Echo was judged… but they aren’t really that old, because if Jimi was related to them… it’s only been a few years? But I could be wrong, we do see Janis’ headstone before we leave the area. Either way, I did enjoy the visual shift once Echo became a player, that the area was actually not a well-maintained farm, but rather something that looked to be abandoned a long time ago.
And as far as the ending goes, post credits, I’m surprised! I had no idea about Mu’s identity! Or the fact that she’s been playing Tommy all along! Well, maybe not all along, but assuming since she was sprayed with Teen Spirit since that’s when her eyes made the color change? But wow!! I didn’t expect it at all! So, with Echo becoming a Player, and Mu not even being human I’m very excited to see how this will all play out in the next two episodes!