Oof, this episode was hard on the heart. We all knew the Heroine was in for a heartbreak when Lucien came out as Ares of Black Swan. While it was stupid of her to run off in attempt to enable him to get to Loveland Tower to take down the device that’s wrecking havoc at the moment, as Lucien told Victor, the truth will surface at some point or another.
I must say it was… how should I put it… As much I loved every second of it, it was also so nerve-wracking to watch our Potato-chip Princess and Lucien interact and talk about Black Swan’s plot, all while knowing Lucien is a part of the organization. It gave me a bittersweet heartache seeing the two work together and protect each other knowing things were not going to end well for them. I don’t know what was more painful to watch (in a good mind you), the kite snapping as they make the promise to fly it together after this whole mess is resolved, (to make matters worse, you could see it all over Lucien’s face that he knew the promise would be broken) or how he was taken off guard how she wanted to protect him. When she said that, he felt pain which makes me more inclined to believe this pain is related to guilt of deceiving her.
However that isn’t to say there isn’t more going on with him. I could be wrong, but it feels as though we are seeing an internal struggle between Lucien and Ares. Lucien is the one who wants to protect her, which is why he told her she must make sure he never catches her again.
The most alarming part of the episode was when the jar that held the butterfly broke. When he let her go, he lost sight of her color and his eye began to bleed. I interpreted it as her flying away outside of his reach (as she had previously discussed it would be better for the butterfly to be free and the painter to chase it instead). Another way I have thought about it, but it’s probably wrong so take it with a grain of salt: that “Lucien” was the jar holding the butterfly, and because it had chattered she is no longer under his protection/can be kept close and now “Ares” will pursue her. In that respect, if there was actually a battle between two personalities, then it feels as though Lucien may have lost the fight against Ares.
I also thought a lot about various other symbolism that have been connected to Lucien. The “miraculous” off-season bloom of the bell flower, only to see them wilted in the garden an episode later could also be attributed to Lucien’s situation, be it health or internal battle. And if we were to go along with the idea that Ares is and Lucien are two separate personalities, the heroine’s younger self’s warning about Lucien’s future is that he loses that side of him, which could have also been symbolized by losing sight of the Heroine’s color.
Needless to say, it was quite interesting to see the Heroine point out that “Ares” is not “Lucien” because she believes in her heart that Lucien would never do anything to hurt her. I suppose what makes it so difficult for me to get a read on Lucien’s heart is how he is so masterfully able to flip back and forth between the caring Lucien the Heroine wants to believe in, and Black Swan’s Ares, the cruel and cold-hearted man who has betrayed her. It was chilling when his tone shifted from familiarity to a stranger. And Ares isn’t just a stranger to the heroine, but us as well. We really haven’t had the opportunity yet to really get to know him as Ares, so we don’t know if Ares is supposed to serve as his Black Swan persona, or could it be we’re actually seeing a split personality of a sorts, a potential side effect as result of being the first successful test subject to come out of Black Swan’s operations. Often times, I find when a character is in this position (in which you can pursue them on their route), I tend to be cool about it because I know in my heart this is just a ploy, they are not actually betraying the protagonist or they will come around, everything is going to be fine. But with Lucien, I don’t fully trust him yet. I keep flipping back and forth because there are a lot of layers to Lucien’s character. He is full of secrets, making it difficult to predict what kind of action he will take.
So the big question that’s on my mind at the moment is: Is Ares the dark side of Lucien’s character, or is Ares an entirely separate personality that Lucien has been fighting battling against all this time? I am leaning more towards the former because I think we can all agree in Lucien’s heart, he genuinely cares about the Heroine, which is why he asked her to promise him to prioritize her own safety, and let her go when she threatened to slit her throat with the very pen he had given her. However at the same time, (and this is where it’s really dubious to me), it seems he is also determined to see Evolution through. So we are seeing him battle between his feelings and his goal. At this point, although he had let her go, his objective remains his top priority.
Speaking of which, I don’t know if this is something he was ‘wired’ into doing since he was taken into Black Swan’s custody since he was a child, or he truly believes in his heart that it is important for Humanity’s future to undergo this evolution process. Considering Hades referred to him as his rival, as mentioned last week, it is possible Lucien has a different idea of how to go about enacting the catalyst to ignite the evolution.
This is exactly why I find his character to be the most intriguing of the bunch. And watching this episode made me realize, of all the potential endings we have, the one I want to see most is Lucien’s. Unfortunately I don’t think we will actually be getting it, but man I would love it if they could prove me wrong! GIVE ME THAT SWEET ANGST AND PRETTY RESOLUTION. Or it just might end tragically either way, I can think of a couple off the top of my head that put me through that ringer, oof that heartache. (I’m still super salty about THAT particular epilogue from a certain route in a certain game. How dare they do him dirty like that, but I digress.)
Meanwhile all of this is happening, Kiro announced his retirement (go figure, that was probably the best thing to do in this situation. Now he can focus on investigating Black Swan full time), and we will FINALLY (feels like it has been forever even though it hasn’t been) get to see the two of them work together again. Gavin is currently MIA, and Victor is out of reach because his power threw him across the passage of time and now he has suddenly found himself in the year of 2030. It will be interesting to see what kind of world he will be seeing. Of course there is always the whole “multiple timelines” theory, which makes you wonder if he might see more than one or depending on how the world is, it may influence how things unfold following this event.
Overall, although this episode was a bit fast-paced for my liking (I mean within 20 seconds into the episode, they dumped so much information so fast that I was like, whoa back-up I missed stuff!), I really enjoyed it. Lucien has officially demoted Gavin (previously holding Rank #2) and is competing with Kiro for the top contention and which ship I am set to board with three episodes left! I told you guys, it was a only a matter of time before I’d been sucked into this! I absolutely adored the intimate moments the Heroine and Lucien shared this episode. And as much as it hurt my heart, I absolutely loved seeing them work together, and now both of them have exchanged charms! (He received the ribbon one from her when they had that outing together, and today he gave her his pen.) Though damn, the gift was a punch in the gut because not only did he drop the line, “I know you can become a brilliant, glittering bridge to the future” (so much context between the lines regarding her role as the Queen), but the heroine used that very pen against him to protect herself by threatening to slit her throat. MY EMOTIONS MAN. Makes you wonder what will become of the ribbon charm she had given him, and how that might play a role in the future. It will probably vary on which ending they decide to go with.
I also loved the scene where she told him to shush, it was so cute because not only she was adorable, but Lucien was so caught off-guard by it. (In fact, she did that many times, and I am here for it!) Then him pulling her closer to hide from the grunts was just asldkjasd I just though it was super sweet with the way he held her. Actually, I guess you could say this whole scene was the highlight of the episode. Nothing like savoring the fluff content before being struck by angst.
And finally, I am glad we got to see the extent of Lucian’s powers. I had suspicions he had more than one unique ability, and today confirmed he can do just that. However it’s unclear whether he can do that on whim, or he can copy his opponents powers. I think it’s more likely he can control a variety, which makes it pretty cool, but also raises some red flags how it could be having too much of it taking a toll on his overall health.
Last thing I would like to mention is that while mobage is just not my cup of tea (because I am not fan of in-game micro-transaction (usually too costly), and holding the phone is really hard on my hands so I try not to use it. That’s another reason why it’s very uncomfortable for me to read digitally such as ebooks), this adaption has really made me want to play this game. I am super engrossed in the story, so I really would love to give it a go once this series is over!
Though I do wonder if I should just start playing it before the ending hahahahahahahaha.
Looking forward to next week’s episode!