Psycho-Pass Newbie Recap: Episode 6, “Return of the Psychotic Prince”
"Not only are they interesting, but they're especially cruel."
Ever since I watched this episode, I’ve been wondering whether or not to drop the series completely. Yes, the body horror from the first few episodes has already set the bar for the show, but it appears that the ante is only going to rise. I’ll keep going for now, because I’m a sucker for a cat-and-mouse plot, but if anything changes, you read it here first.
To note: I won’t be posting any gory imagery. That’s not my speed; that’s not The Mary Sue’s speed.
Things are finally locking into place in the world of Psycho-Pass, with the past and present finally seeming to come together. The show opened with a flash forward, but the beginning of its true arc begins with a flashback: The case that broke Kogami.
While trying to round up one of his Enforcers during a case, he finds said Enforcer, Sasayama, but dismembered and frozen into a disturbing position. Kogami begins to freak out—and then he wakes up, from the nightmare that ended his career and gave him the case of his life.
Meanwhile, Ginoza meets with the Public Bureau of Safety’s “big boss,” who’s worried about Akane. Though Ginoza assures her that Akane’s doing alright, despite having had a rough number of rookie cases, she’s concerned that Akane might end up like Kogami, whom she lumps in with “deviant” criminals and Enforcers. If this woman seems like she’s got an issue with the way the PBS relies on latent criminals, she seals that impression by basically threatening Ginoza with his dad’s history, which appears to be, to put it lightly, “not good.”
What is it with scary, no-nonsense women in charge of military-esque enterprises? See, Divergent, The Hunger Games, Elysium, etc.
Suddenly, the scene shifts to focus on a new stage. The case of the week, or at least the set-up for it, is the literature class at a prestigious-seeming academy. One pigtailed student isn’t paying attention to the teacher’s lecture on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (what a culture-filled show), and soon begins DMing with a mysterious and morbid user. Said user dismisses Shakespeare’s comedies, instead stating her preference for the Bard’s tragedies, especially Macbeth and Titus Andronicus.
Then, we’re back on Akane, who’s quite randomly hanging out with Kagari while he cooks. As always, she’s worried and interested in Kogami; Kagari suggests it’s a crush, but she literally laughs it off. However, being a baby, Akane mistakes the giant bottle of wine (or sake?) that Kagari’s got in the kitchen.
Challenge accepted. — Akane
As he serves her real food (which is nowadays uncommon) and real booze (which has been supplanted by therapy and virtual addictions), Kagari gets much drunker than her and begins to fill her in on Kogami’s backstory. Namely, that he’d lost an Enforcer, and is looking for vengeance for the person who killed him.
Akane then turns to Shion and Yayoi, who are hanging out together (shipshipship), about the case that cracked Kogami. Shion remembers it all: The “Specimen Case,” as it was called, was a gory, troubling case involving someone publicly displaying plastinated corpses as hologram art pieces. (Plastination is the art of replacing a body’s viscera with a liquid plastic mold, which then sets and holds its contents together.) The photos Shion pulls up, as small as they are on the viewer’s screen, are distressing — no wonder that the bodies, once revealed to be actual corpses, caused both area stress to rise and a news blackout to take effect.
Also, just in case it wasn’t obvious — Shion and Yayoi definitely do the nasty together.
Shion goes on to detail that while Ginoza and Kogami searched for the killer, the Enforcer Sasayama went after a different case—a missing teacher named Kozaburo Toma. But in the process of going after Toma, Sasayama was captured, killed, and presumably became the last specimen in the Specimen Case. As Toma had disappeared, the case fell into limbo; as for the person who provided Toma with the plastic material needed to create his specimens, Shion said, “Only God knows for sure.”
In the wake of all this terrifying news, Akane tries to keep up her life outside of work, meeting up with her thankless friends for what ends up being a very short lunch.
“Let’s make her look as tired as possible.”
Before she’s called out by Ginoza, she reveals that—surprise!—she’s worried about Kogami, which leads one of her friends to suggest that she and Kogami are too alike. That, or the show is pushing very hard to make their two protagonists into some sort of parallel/bond.
Back at the academy, two students begin gossiping about a missing student. Their school, Ouso Academy, is meant to keep “girls of a susceptible age isolated from society”—apparently, puberty clouds Psycho Passes. The knowledge that there’s a missing student would cause panic among parents, so the girls believe the administrators are conspiring to keep the disappearance secret.
Amidst this girlish whispering, an entrance: That of Rikako Oryo, who has the shit-eating grin that defines all pop culture popular girls.
Rikako, for her part, kindly invites the girls at the table to join her art class, as she’s the president of that extracurricular. So, what does the popular girl have to gain from extending offers to other people in the school?
Then: Rikako’s shown drawing a rather messed up sketch in her art class; a girl’s decapitated head is positioned at her crotch, and flowers fill up the background of this gory scene. In that moment, the girl from the opening academy scene comes in, and it’s revealed Rikako was the one who’d been chatting her. Why did Rikako take such a sudden interest in a nobody? Oh, because she’d been looking up details in the other girl’s life: That her stepfather leers at her and sleeps in her bed when she’s not there, and that her Psycho Pass is getting cloudy.
Rikako “comforts” the girl, and then states: “The person that you long to be. Your true worth in this world. Don’t you want to at least try to discover that?” In the same breath, she offers the story of Lavinia, Titus Andronicus’s daughter: Raped, dismembered, and muted by her father’s enemies, Lavinia’s hurt became her father’s hurt and shame. What Rikako doesn’t tell the girl is that Titus eventually kills Lavinia.
The homoerotic overtones in Rikako’s scenes provide a disturbing contrast for how Shion and Yayoi are portrayed. Intentional or not?
Lest we’re wondering about Akane, we drop back in with her as the PSB team interrogates the suspect at the heart of the drone case. Shion remarks that the code that overrode drone security had similarities with the code that overrode Mido’s public holograms; the work, surely, of some master programmer.
Shion delivers all of this news in her trademark, super professional way.
The suspect, for his part, insists that he was merely sent the code, as well as a note explaining that both the programmer and him had the same goal: To destroy the factory. The facts of the case start to make sense, but the intent behind it isn’t clear. It would’ve been easy to find out if someone at the factory was unhappy… but what made someone look into it in the first place?
Kogami, per usual, is the one who cracks that code.
“Intent and means. Creating a crime from those two otherwise disparate elements.”
In both cases, someone wanted to commit a crime, but didn’t have the means to do so. Kogami is the first to see the parallel with the Specimen Case: An untrained teacher suddenly gets his hands on plastination material and lives out his f*cked up, violent fantasies. It’s enough to light Kogami’s fire, and even though he and Gino (cute partner nicknames!) initially spar about the legitimacy of Kogami’s cognitive leap, there’s nothing to suggest that this isn’t the case.
As for the viewer: Well, we’re about to know.
Scene change, to a noisy fountain hologram. When maintenance workers finally shut it down, they find a disturbing piece of art at its center: A naked female body with the dismembered head centered at the crotch, and flowers, perhaps roses, wreathed around it. The workers think it’s just disturbing art.
And then, the grand scheme falls into place: Makishima is the mastermind, and he’s guiding Rikako through her own messed up desires. As she sketches an image that looks disturbingly like the girl who’d visited her in the art room, Makishima quizzes Rikako on her intent: “Do you think Lavinia was happy? Finally liberated from her violated body?” Rikako insists that she loves the girls at the center of her “art,” and Makishima suggests that her method of “preserving them” is that she then keeps the girls at the apex of their beauty; like a flower captured at its fullest bloom.
With Makishima guiding her, Rikako is just getting started. Until next time.
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