The Past Makes Sense – Eureka Seven Episode 34

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Throughout Eureka Seven, the emphasis of the story has been on characters reliving past events – both secrets and past vendettas being played out, as with Ray and Charles or Renton’s father and grandfather, and recapitulation of story themes in new settings. Episode 34 begins with this clearly laid out; Renton is now the trusted confidant of Holland, and Moondoggie, previously the mentor figure, is now doing the menial jobs and being troubled by the children aboard ship. In this way, life on the Gekko is clearly seen to move on; although the growing sense of community and the obstacles to it have often been explicity laid out and used as major plot points and arcs prior to the major plot reveal, now the focus is almost entirely on Dewey’s plan, the emphasis of the story moves away from the petty matters and childishness.

The episode focuses, however, on a connection that has been suggested from very early in the series but is finally made clear – that between Holland and Eureka. Their first meeting is framed remarkably similarly to Dominic’s meeting with Anemone, but is if anything more unsettling; flashbacks have shown Eureka to be once possessed of the same brutality as her new opposite number, but she is taciturn and clinical rather than aggressive. Holland is thus in the position of Dominic, but rather than immediately being outraged or doubtful he is supportive, placing duty before compassion. What this sequence shows primarily is how Holland has not changed at all throughout the series, merely become better at relating to others; the core of all the conflicts between him and Renton have come about the difference of opinion between utilitarianism and compassion. Utilitarianism and cold logic are common themes in military fiction – a way of looking at the dehumanising effect of war from a personal perspective, since they in simple terms invite consideration of what the value of one life over many is. Holland, as has been shown throughout, is prepared to make severe sacrifices to save others, and not shy away from violence at all (as his conflict with Ray and Charles showed), and Eureka is a good match for him. It is only when events cause him to reconsider his actions – the annihilation of the Voderak alluded to much earlier – that he becomes a changed man.

Holland’s epiphany comes, much like Renton’s did with William Baxter, when he is exposed to the spiritual; Norb, high-priest of the Voderak religion, apparently summons miracles to hold Holland off from attacking his temple. This episode began with Norb challenging Dewey on his own ground – Dewey here representing the amoral, officious authority that has become the clear enemy – and its second half begins with a similar exchange with Holland. While William explained to Renton the spiritual power of nature and the importance of accepting that some things do not make sense, Norb reminds Holland that sometimes utilitarian thinking leads to miscarriages of justice; Holland’s assumption that the Voderak are evil comes from his orders and prejudices, not what he has observed. Norb’s words are straightforward and banal – he explains the simple similarity between terrorist and freedom fighter – but at the same time it is relevant to remember how this is framed. Holland is the naïve, blind soldier here whose prejudices have not yet been challenged and whose relationship with Eureka has normalised him to brutality without compassion – and a kind of brutality that feels justified and detached rather than passionate and emotional. As the conversation continues, it is revealed that Norb knows Eureka is an alien from having met a Coralian ambassador himself – a woman called Sakuya. The role of the Coralian ambassadors is clearly restated here – they are to observe humanity and judge it – and the moment when Eureka meets her adopted children is finally shown. It serves as an epiphany for her much as Holland’s meeting with Norb. As Norb explains that Eureka is a tabula rasa, and that her experiences of humanity will shape her development, the exact nature of Dewey’s plan for Anemone is made clear – she is the end-product of what Eureka might have been had she not been taken out of the Federation by Holland.

Norb’s command of the supernatural is revealed to be a result of his close connection to the Coralians, and proof of the planetary intelligence Egan alluded to previously. Thus Holland and Eureka are suddenly humanised, and the events which led to the entire development of the story – including Renton’s strained relationship with Eureka and Holland – have finally been revealed. Holland abandons Dewey, and is finally spiritually awakened to the idea of a planetary intelligence. What these revelations have done is show to Renton how important his role is, and help him rationalise what he has experienced. The episode ends with another space-flight, this time without the great musical fanfare and build up of the previous one, in many ways completing its reflective nature. The first trip into space made Renton fully appreciate his feelings for Eureka. This one has let him come to terms with them in a different way entirely. He has now managed to understand that his friendship with her cannot be forced or strained, and by understanding its importance realises it must come naturally. Yet what the revelations have also shown is that Dewey is practiced at his plot, and came close to success before with Holland and Eureka; his grooming of Anemone and the Ageha children is carefully calculated based on past failure, and now he has Norb where he wants him. Dewey’s confrontation with Norb makes this quite clear; now he understands the nature of the Coralians and the corals thanks to his knowledge of the Voderak teachings, he can – he believes – manipulate them. Yet what Norb shows him in turn provides a new and chilling unknown; his “failure” to become Sakuya’s true partner in the way Renton must become Eureka’s resulted in him having a LFO drive crystal like that of the Nirvash implanted in his chest.

What follows is the planning of the attack on Dewey to rescue Norb, and the completion of the other mini-plot of the episode; Moondoggie is finally vindicated and entrusted with authority, volunteering to fly the Gekko as Talho goes as part of the away team. The episode has focused on the building of new trust, and now even the most insignificant members of the Gekkostate can contribute as equals. There are still unanswered questions about Talho and Holland, but they have finally become closer and able to properly confide in each other about their relationship and Talho’s pregnancy. In many ways, Eureka Seven is now moving into its denouement, with far more military conflict, and that conflict is now properly contextualised in the past.

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