Leo’s sister Michella comes to Hellsalem’s Lot with big news! But is she also bringing even bigger trouble?
1. Leo starts the episode in a pretty suspect net cafe that could only be a spot in Hellsalem’s Lot, when he gets some huge news: his sister is on his way to visit, and she’s engaged! This makes Leo’s powers to go haywire, linking his vision with everyone in the cafe, which causes such a panic they all start attacking one another. Guns come out, violence ensues and the place explodes, and it’s all Leo’s fault, but the show’s going to blow it off because in this universe, death is a punchline to a gag.
20+ episodes and my stance on that has evolved from “Holy crap that guy just died for like, no reason” to just a general unease and hesitant chuckle, but I do have a question. Does Hellsalem’s Lot have a real police department here, or do they just have crisis response teams at this point? We see cops later, but I mean…are there actual beat cops and people who cover things that aren’t homicides and Blood Breeds?
2. I wasn’t able to cover last week’s phenomenal “Bratatat Mom” episode, so let me briefly cover it here: K.K. was best character the entire time. The episode carried such a layered, nuanced portrayal of what it’s like to balance being a career woman with being a mother–K.K. is simultaneously a respected, necessary member of Libra while also being a loving, gentle mom and wife that loves her soaps and play dates for her kids. Not only that, but she’s allowed to kind of suck a little. She’s excellent as a member of Libra–so key to their operations that she’s rarely even allowed time off–but as a mom she’s slacking. She misses out on Parents’ Day at school, she’s rarely home to see her children or her husband, because when you have a job like hers where you’re literally dealing with life or death situations on a daily basis, it kind of has to take precedent over everything else, even though you hate it. This was easily some of the best character work I’ve seen all year, and it raised my already high opinion of Blood Blockade Battlefront even higher.
But this episode is fantastic as well, and does a great job showing how much Libra has grown. Leo’s the weakest member of the team in raw power, but his tenacity and the endless support he’s offered to the rest of the team had led to nearly all of them caring enough to want to be there for this one moment of genuine happiness. Zapp frames it as the team not having anything better to do (which might be true of K.K.–Parents Day can’t be every day), but they’re all multi-tasking secret agents that definitely could’ve been anywhere else. But they chose to be there, to show the same care to Leo he’s continuously shown for them. Because this weird city can easily ruin almost anything if you’re not careful.
3. I’m not ashamed to admit this scene left me a bit weepy. Cliche as it is to see “two long-separated family members run across the room for a hug”, the truth is it’s not what I expected of BBB. After twenty episodes of Leo being Charlie Brown, I just knew they would yank the football away at the last second. Maybe he’d trip over his shoes, or she’d get greeted by someone else. I just didn’t believe he’d be allowed to have this moment, and the switch in expectations made it touching.
4. Of course, things can’t be perfect, or there’s not really a show. Michella’s boyfriend isn’t what he seems, and actually winds up being one of the most terrifying monsters BBB’s created yet, both in design and powerset. He answers a question we all should have asked ages ago: does anyone else have Leo’s powers? The answer comes in a resounding affirmative as we meet Dr. Gamimozu, a being who’s eyes have made him capable of manipulating the vision of everyone around him into seeing only what he wants them to. He also controls people’s bodies through complex mimicry, and has infiltrated Michella’s life as her fiance Toby Maclachlan in order to meet up with Leo.
This creates an abrupt switch from a tender family moment to a tense showdown, as Leo scrambles to attempt to save his sister while also keeping everyone else safe. Even though he regularly braves the every day dangers of his city, this is probably the most tense situation Leo’s ever been in, as there’s literally no one to rely on other than his own wits. And while Leo’s definitely a nice kid, he’s definitely not the smartest (his best answer to helping a friend who’s being bullied is headbutting the bully and running away, so we’re not dealing with Batman here), so this is going to get worse before it gets better. By the end, Gamimozu sees him using his ability in order to give the true names of Blood Breeds, which convinces Gamimozu that Leo should be the next body he takes over. Uh-oh.
5. Next Episode: The finale of Blood Blockade Battlefront is here! Will Leo be able to stop Dr. Gamimozu from trying to take his body over?
Blood Blockade Battlefront and Beyond is available on Crunchyroll and Hulu.