Words and Deeds – Dewey vs Holland in Episode 35 of Eureka Seven

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There is more action in the first half of episode 35 of Eureka Seven than there has been in much of the series previously; it is an episode about acting, about taking responsibility for what must be done and doing it. Holland claims the Gekkostate’s mantra is “do it yourself or you won’t get anything,” while Dewey claims that “the only thing I ever wanted was to win, using my own words as a human being.” So much of the series has been about people trying to avoid action, or refusing to accept what must be done – on all sides – but now there has been a sea-change. Dewey’s actions have motivated all the characters to act, because there is now a quantifiable, known threat. If anything this vindicates Renton; all along his resistance to acting has been whenever he has felt he does not know why he should act, and his impetuous actions have come from what he perceives as a proper understanding of a situation. Dewey’s wanton slaughter, and his realisation of his feelings for Eureka, have given him the reason he needs.

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Eureka Seven has, as claimed above, either eschewed or subverted action previously; fights have been carefully-crafted to shock either the viewer or characters. Thus when episode 35 begins with an exciting, well-choreographed fight full of the missile barrages and three-dimensional aerial combat, it stands out. There has been significantly more of a military focus of late in the series – Dewey’s actions have brought humanity into conflict with the Coralians, and there have been flashbacks to Holland and Eureka’s pasts – yet it has not been satisfying to the viewer. Even now there are defined “right” and “wrong” sides, the series places its heroes so far on the back foot that there has not been straight fighting. There has been no scope for decisive action because the Coralians cannot be fought and Dewey is apparently untouchable – only now, now the action returns to human armies fighting with no interceding aliens, can there be a war. Dewey is at his weakest because he is dealing with other humans – in this case the religious leader Norb – and has to put his trust in not the elite Ageha unit but the general security forces of the human army. It is interesting comparing his philosophy – that he wants to succeed with his own “words”, his leadership power – with Holland’s, who is entirely about thy physical, doing things. Yet the action is still something of a guilty pleasure for a viewer waiting for the shock; the physicality is altered slightly to show machines being destroyed as machines, and the clearly manned units are evaded rather than destroyed. There is little tension in the traditional sense – this is a heroic, climactic fight where victory is apparently certain because the build-up has been so well planned. Even when there apparently is drama – Talho’s LFO is shot down apparently by friendly fire – this, too is part of a plan to get her to a certain place at a certain time. Thus even at its most heroic, Eureka Seven undermines its own action sequences by making them too neat. The Seventh Swell, the Nirvash’s apparent ultimate weapon, sums this up; it ends fights. A robot’s finishing-move naturally comes at the conclusion of a hard-fought battle and utterly destroys an apparently unstoppable foe with theatrics. The Seventh Swell effectively does this – it has, every time it has been used, forced the end of hostilities. Yet it does it in a way that is impossible for anyone to understand or properly control; its victories are not earned through the skill of the Nirvash pilots, but simply through the machine acting apparently uncontrollably, almost in frustration at the endless war around it.

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It is this neatness that provides the character drama for the episode – Eureka, as Renton once was, is appalled by the ease with which the Gekkostate are destroying Dewey’s city. She sees civilians running for cover and widespread apparent death (which the viewer is not shown) and freezes; in the past she was the emotionless soldier who would be the consummate robot-pilot, now she is acting more human. As the Nirvash falls back, unable to fight, it falls to Talho to reassure Holland and the others. She claims it takes more courage not to kill, and to not fight, than to kill indiscriminately – and that Eureka will realise what the right thing to do is in time. That the “right thing” – Nirvash’s role in the battle – is in fact to save Norb and escape while the other LFOs form a diversion makes Renton’s reassurance so much the easier. He argues that while inaction seems the path of least resistance, allowing as it does Eureka to avoid being responsible for death personally, it still makes her responsible for the deaths of those killed by Dewey. If anything this scene is the catharsis the episode’s battle needed – Renton having to prove he has learned something of the world by explaining it to someone else.

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The power of saying things is set in its own contrast in a scene with Dominic, still a believer in the power of words. He asks the Ageha why Dewey has not responded to his “report” about the Nirvash, and is told that Dewey probably did not find it important. This in turn attracts Anemone, who is concerned that Dominic’s obsession with reports and talk will lead to Dewey losing faith in The END’s capacity to defeat the Nirvash. All words are achieving, to her, is restatement of her failure and increasing the risk of being discarded. Dewey requires action, but in a selfish form dressed up as selflessness; Holland is open about his emphasis on self-reliance in phrasing that brings his philosophy back round to the promised countercultural aspect of the Gekkostate, while Dewey demands compliance and success. He seems afraid of true self-reliance, yet still dares Norb to destroy the city as he has claimed he can – it is a kind of complacency, knowledge that his power is such that others must comply and that it is his “words” that have the power of life and death. Thus, when the real confrontation of the episode occurs, he cannot comprehend not having the upper hand. Holland confronts Dewey to rescue Norb, and the viewer is presented with the revelation that they are brothers. Both sides throw their philosophy at each other – Holland citing the Gekkostate’s countercultural aims as proof of his righteousness (in looking for truth and exposing wrongdoing), while Dewey dismisses it by claiming “the masses aren’t interested in the truth.” Thus the reality of his obsession with words is revealed. He claims “what you need is a loud voice and a righteous cause,” but not necessarily a true one. Holland has lied in the past and now seeks, in some way, to atone for this. Dewey has learned that lying is often the most profitable way to power – yet it is this that causes him to fail. Norb admits, later in the episode, that he had no ability or will to destroy the city – undermining Dewey’s original plan – and the confrontation between the two men ends with the Nirvash interceding just after Dewey claims Holland has inevitably failed at finding its proper pilot.

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Thus episode 35 of Eureka Seven is a quite exceptional one; it, as many do, ties together the series’ themes and uses them to drive the plot forward – in this case with Norb’s rescue (and Holland’s return to the side of the Voderak) – and Eureka’s finding her resolve to act. In an episode about the importance of action, the nature of what that action can be is explored – it seems to be fighting, but in fact is not. The episode ends with Dewey humiliated and many of his forces destroyed, but it is not a decisive battle in military terms. In fact it is this – the Nirvash’s role as a rescue unit – that makes Renton’s claim that acting in a conflict need not mean being complicit in killing, and that sometimes fighting is vital tie in with Talho’s insistence that finding the courage to not shoot is harder than shooting.

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