Keep On Moving – Progression and Development in Episode 29 of Eureka Seven

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Note: This article is also available at Super Fanicom HERE

With the death of Ray Beams in episode 28, presented unglamorously and graphically, the second arc of Eureka Seven is over. The allusions to Mobile Suit Gundam that have become increasingly apparent in this section come to a head would appear to have established Holland’s behaviour as driven by a desire for closure with the past; not a perfect act of acceptance of his wrongdoing but instead a desire to drive forwards and move on.

Episode 29 seems to be set some time in the future from this, now in winter; the opening narration, mimicking Renton’s own internal monologue from the very first episode, reintroduces Dominic, Renton’s figurative “opposite number” in the parallel plots of Dewey’s crew and Holland’s. He talks about how the tectonic shifts (explained in a much more spiritual and unclear way in the William Baxter episode) are continuing to worsen and that the Federation – presented as villainous and oppressive in previous episodes – are now ineffectual. His musings on the importance of Renton, framed as they are with his visiting Renton’s father Adroc’s grave, reintroduce a storyline that has apparently been ignored for some time in the series’ focus on Holland – the questionable deeds and mystery surrounding Adroc Thurston, claimed to be a hero and saviour but now a very dubious legend. The episode’s title is Keep on Moving, yet the movement seems very introspective and retrograde. Dominic has returned to Bell Forest, Renton’s hometown last seen dozens of episodes ago before he joined the Gekkostate, and claims it is where the “revolution” began. Even so, the town is quite different to how Renton described it – it is now under full military control.

Dominic’s monologue continues; his journey to the town is apparently a personal one intended to learn more about Renton by retracing his steps – beginning with a return to Axel Thurston’s garage, Renton’s childhood home and the place where the series began. If anything this completion of a narrative circle – a move back to the beginning to look at events from a new perspective – is forward motion, at least for the audience. In the previous recapitulation episode, Dominic’s voice was used to provide the alternative, differently-informed interpretation of what had been seen and now this is combined with hindsight and a chance to reconsider known events long after they happened. Returning to old events like this is something that is possible in Eureka Seven thanks to its length, and presenting an episode from the viewpoint of an antagonist, even in part, is a move which better-informs the audience about the setting and plot in a series based around the unreliability of narrators and the harmful potential of secrecy.

Yet while Dominic’s story is based on revisiting the past and from that divining the future, Renton’s story continues to move forward; he is trying to make amends with Eureka and apologise for his absence. As he goes on, though, he begins revisiting the past, talking enthusiastically about his life on the Swan and the family routine that he had the opportunity to enjoy; the past here, too, cannot be properly moved away from. That the viewer’s depiction of Ray and Charles for most of their episodes was of a properly intimate and loving environment, such that it was made clear how they could entrap Renton, and it is this which makes it clear how moving on will be so difficult. It has been made clear throughout the series that Renton has nobody except Eureka on the Gekko to trust in – yet his giving in to grief and refusal to accept that he was betrayed in the end brings out her true feelings; she can understand that Holland’s actions are intended now to bring the two of them together – and this gives Renton what he needs to move on. He intends to use his good memories of the affection Ray and Charles showed him to shape his relationship with Eureka now it apparently has Holland’s blessing. This is a quite uncommon moment of intimacy between two characters who previously have had no capacity to be close or make each other understood and subtle as it is it shows how much the plot – and the relationships that make it up – have progressed.

As the story returns to Bell Forest, Dominic is reminded he does not fit in; the viewer knows his last meeting with Renton was as an enemy forced to co-operate to survive, but in order to keep his cover intact there is a charming scene where he is interrogated both by the children who led him to Axel and Renton’s grandfather himself, about the Gekkostate and Renton’s private life. Yet the scene is redefined; Dominic has come to Bell Forest not just to get answers but also to reassure Axel that his grandson is getting by. Again an almost familial scene plays out, accompanied by the musical motif that traditionally accompanies Renton’s domestic life, with Axel “accepting” Dominic as someone trustworthy and, in comparison to how he was depicted right back at the series’ start, seeming far more courteous and affectionate.

The musical theme carries over as the action returns to the Gekko, evoking yet being quite the opposite of the pervasive drone of Get it By Your Hands previously – here the music, a track entitled A Long Journey, is accompanying evidence of how everyone really is keeping on moving. Renton has already put his vow to carry on Charles’ legacy into action, cleaning the Gekko and launching himself into chores with a brand new diligence that quite shocks the crew and drives them into action themselves. His acceptance of the need to move on has transformed others by example – a kind of leadership that has been conspicuously absent from any proper authority figures on the ship.

That this scene – of the Gekko’s crew unified in following Renton’s example – is followed by a return to Dominic’s amusing encounter with Axel where acceptance has shifted into being found lacking provides an entertaining contrast; previously the series’ reliance on A- and B-plots within an episode has been used to build tension and contrast action with its consequences. Here the device simply shows how two distant, disparate groups are getting by, contributing to the most complete and relaxed release of dramatic tension yet. Yet another man’s entry on the scene brings the two plots closer together; he talks about Axel’s perfectionism in his work as a mechanic and says this desire to fix everything runs in the Thurston family. In some ways this simply punctuates and confirms what the Gekko-plot has demonstrated with Renton’s cleaning drive, but also for Dominic it raises the spectre of Adroc again.

Yet in time this unity and new co-operation is shattered by the audience being reminded of Holland, still recovering from his injuries. The Gekko has unified under Renton’s determination to move on, but Talho and Holland are unable to and it is perhaps because they are out of action that the ship is able to benefit from a new perspective. Earlier in the series it would have seemed impossible that Renton would be the “leader” of the Gekkostate, with them all indebted to him for his usefulness, but this episode has explained how this has happened – he feels he needs to give something back to the crew, and the work is also serving as a coping mechanism for himself. As a result, when Talho returns – now acting like Holland and using his own words to reassert the proper order on the ship, the military hierachy that the Gekkostate really is not the familial counterculture that Renton wants it to be – it is far more divisive than it perhaps would have been before. Renton’s ignorance is again highlighted as he admits he does not know why the Gekkostate exists, or why he should fight, and at that point this plot suddenly leapfrogs the B-plot of Dominic and Axel with the revelation that Adroc is in some way responsible for or linked to all the problems that have been established.

Talho explains Adroc Thurston was a scientist who claimed the world – and the tectonic formations known as Scub Coral – are all part of a massive Coralian, which is now explained to be a living being. When experiments on a smaller Coralian proved disastrous and the team mysteriously died, he was thus disgraced. As he continued his research regardless the result was proof of the theory that the Coralians are sentient – the child Eureka. Yet despite this, the Federation continue to try and destroy the Coralians with a new armed service, implied to be linked to Dewey – and the Gekkostate’s sole raison d’etre is to keep Eureka, the ambassador of the Coralians, out of their hands and in time prove Adroc right. Thus, in all his resistance to Holland’s behaviour and the Gekkostate, Renton has been actively working against his father’s wishes and here he really does keep on moving – he stands up for what he believes in over any duty. Yet the repercussions of this – the public “outing” of Eureka as not even human – has only caused problems. Previously Eureka’s failed confessions – misleadingly framed as love-confessions – have all apparently been attempts to admit her alien ancestry and now this has been blown wide open without her consent, all the two children can do is patch up the damage. It brings out even more strongly Renton’s new more caring side, as they vow to carry on regardless.

Dominic’s story continues in a far more hopeful way; Axel has fixed his motorbike and as they part he reveals some of his own character. He asks Dominic to continue to look out for Renton, and admits his doubts about Adroc’s reputation and despite their status arguably as enemies, or representatives of the two ideologies, they are above all friends. Yet this has affected Dominic quite differently – he feels he has failed in his mission, with no useful intelligence gathered and his behaviour quite unprofessional.

Yet the episode ends not wholly on a hopeful note; Holland has finally woken back up, Talho has in his stead wrecked the progress that Renton has begun throughout the ship, and Dominic is now doubting what he knows – and under surveillance by others from the Federation acting under Dewey. Episode 29 has certainly progressed the story and quite decisively begun a new arc, but whether or not the positive change will continue remains a mystery.

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