EP2, "Wedding Ring" - Goats Reading Seacats

EP2, “Wedding Ring”

George unwittingly settles many of Yasu’s doubts and gives her the go-ahead to kill them all.

- WITHOUT LOVE, THE DELICIOUSNESS OF GOHDA’S DESSERTS CANNOT BE TASTED.

- Jessica and George acknowledge that they’ve heard Maria ramble about Beatrice before, but just wrote it off and didn’t take it very seriously. Sort of a trend with you two, huh?

- Beatrice’s legend formulating on the island as strongly as it did was a combination of Kinzo’s madness and Yasu’s efforts - neither of which would exist in the scenario where Lion survived. I do sort of wonder if Kinzo ever caught wind of Yasu’s little pranks and how he might have reacted - dismissively for a while, probably, but.

- Nanjo basically admits that he, Kumasawa, and most of the servants on Rokkenjima have contributed in small ways to Maria’s witch fantasies, like leaving pieces of candies around for her and letting the “witch” take credit.

- The conversation here basically presents the dynamic of “magic” as protectors/adults and protected/children. Of course, one area I think Umineko didn’t touch on as much as I personally would have liked was the transition point when one has to mature from one to the other.

- Battler thinks: “If you don’t want them to be all disappointed when they learn that [Santa doesn’t exist], you should just not show them that dream in the first place.” Once again, this is something that’s easy for simplistic Battler to say at this point, because he’s not in a position where he feels, like Yasu and Maria, that there’s no point in trying and no point in living without those “dreams.” Shoving Yasu’s “disappointment” in her face brings her to that place where she thinks she’s better off dead, and in the duration of her life, no one was able to step up and give her a reason to think otherwise.

- The kids’ discussion about protecting dreams and the nature of the legend is technically right, but once again, they’re approaching it in the wrong way, because they don’t have a conception of how a truly broken person might latch onto that legend and the extent they would go to do make it “real.” This applies to both Yasu and Maria.

- Nanjo confirms that Kinzo’s mistress, Beatrice, exists - but is dead - and then goes on to lie out of his ass saying that he’s never met her.  

- Nanjo is flirting very closely with the wordplay Genji used in EP1 - that Kinzo’s behavior didn’t reflect the love a parent should have poured onto Beatrice’s child, so “we naturally thought that there wasn’t a child between Kinzo-san and Beatrice…” It actually comes across as a little gross to me - reinforcing the way they chose to stand aside and let the situation in Kuwadorian be as it was.

- It’s interesting how the characters always, when they hit upon “a hidden child between Kinzo and Beatrice,” immediately jump to the assumption “she’s out for the inheritance, she’s out for revenge.” The circumstance of being Kinzo’s hidden child provided Yasu with certain means, and yes, certain factors in her emotional background, but it has basically nothing to do with her overall goal. They get the “who” right, but miss the “why.”

- Sort of amusing in a “not so funny in hindsight” that the kids float around the idea of Beatrice being out for revenge against all of them, but then George puts forth that “the adults fighting over the inheritance is horrible enough.” Yes, George. That is actually enough to be what actually caused everyone to die here, in spite of all of Beatrice’s elaborate schemes.

- It really would have been nice to get more emphasis on Jessica’s relationship with her parents, rather than her relationship just with Yasu/Kanon. She’s probably at her most likable when those brief moments peek out. It’s probably why I find her a lot more endearing in general in Lion’s timeline.

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- Quick, let’s play a game of “count the ways Battler is wrong or jumping to misguided assumptions within two sentences!”

  • George is right

  • Nothing will happen

  • "a single human"

  • "a human woman"

  • limited understanding of magic

  • a single woman isn’t capable of anything [ask your stepmom bro]

- And Maria breaks into their skepticism with her kihihihihi, gleefully imagining them all dying horribly!

- Battler: “WITCHES DON’T EXIST BECAUSE THEY DON’T EXIST, MARIA!”

- It’s funny seeing Battler get into this semi-heated argument with a nine-year-old, to the point that Kumasawa tells them both to settle down, especially considering Erika’s fight with Maria later on as a device.

- Maria [and Yasu through her] once again calls Battler out on making the assumption that his opponent’s reasoning and position is a mirror of his own. “Your knowledge of your opponent is wrong.”

- And it’s time for George and Shannon’s proposal scene, version 2.0.

- George interrogates Shannon a bit about Beatrice, but Shannon gives him vague answers. It’s surprisingly easy to see how uneasy Yasu really is here, that tightrope she’s walking - similarly to Kanon struggling somewhat to answer Battler’s questions back in EP1.

- Again, we hear about that servant who didn’t respect Beatrice, and was cursed. It’d be simple to think that it’s just a nice hook for Team Yasu and their witch story, or a conglomeration of Yasu’s small pranks throughout the years, but I still kind of wonder.

- George comes to his own conclusions about why Shannon seems so nervous and reluctant to talk about Beatrice, which are about as wrong-headed as Jessica’s conclusions in the earlier chapters about why Kanon is so relentlessly attached to the term “furniture.”

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- boy i’ll say

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- There’s a lot to say about these caps, but yasusummary.jpg would probably suffice, to be honest. Yasu hates her situation. She hates that she’s ended up like this. She wants to be happy, she wants to be George’s wife, she wants to be married and see that future he describes so passionately. She doesn’t want to kill everyone. But because all of those things are impossible - that future is impossible because she is furniture, and once again we’re reminded that furniture translates to “the relationship will fail no matter what” - here she is.

- It’s also another reinforcement of the very clear hinting as to the nature of furniture. When you approach “what is furniture?” as a mystery, the pieces should be very slowly clicking together. What has Yasu, through Kanon and Shannon, told us so far? “Furniture” does not mean servant. “Furniture” does not mean a debt held to Kinzo. “Furniture” does not mean any of the external difficulties George and Shannon face. But “furniture” means that Kanon and Shannon have no right to love, no right to be married, and it absolutely, in no uncertain terms, dooms their relationships at some point in the future. The only reason they can have it in this frozen moment is by “ignoring reality.”

- Additionally, “furniture” has no right to be married. Nothing to do with creating children. The romantic union of marriage in and of itself. Natsuhi, during the extensive length of time she was married to Krauss and considered infertile, was never floated as “furniture” during that time or that she lacked the right to be married to her husband.

- Internally struggling with all of this - her grief about her marriage and future with George being lost because of what she has to do to preserve their relationship at all - Shannon quietly asks George what it means to be engaged - to at least have what they’re sealing between themselves today, before they die.

- And George, unwittingly - trying to reassure her and being endearing - gives her probably the worst possible answer - “I think it’s the same as marriage.”

- George says he wants to mature a little bit more before he can take care of Shannon properly and pave his own way, so after their engagement, he wanted her to wait three years. But that doesn’t change the tenor of their relationship. To give Shannon this ring, and for her to receive it, means they’re already married…

- …and so, to Yasu, her grief and her doubts are set at rest by this answer. Before sealing the catbox, by receiving this ring, she’s fulfilled her relationship to George. They were married, and had a clear vision of what was ahead. So it becomes okay to seal off the future, because Shannon and George’s bond has been completed and, to the fullest extent it ever will be, consummated.

- They even have the blank two days to enjoy endlessly, with endless possibilities and potential, however they wish. Yes, to Yasu, this is the best choice, after all.

- George becomes a little flustered and says he’ll give the engagement ring to Shannon “as a wedding ring.”

- Yasu/Shannon teases George a little about being possessive and treating the engagement like a sales exchange - “this woman is mine, nobody touch her.”

- That makes George self-conscious, and he thinks briefly back to how he is ashamed of the way he used to be. George is his own particular kind of tragedy - he pinged onto the fact that his behavior and attitude was shitty in the past, and he earnestly wants to correct it, but he didn’t quite manage to “correct” it in the way he needed to. George thinks that being aggressive and insensitive is what Shannon wants from him - probably because of his perception of Shannon and Battler’s old relationship, and how he regards Battler himself - but that’s a misguided assumption. Yes, Yasu liked Battler’s energy. But what really drew her to Battler were his flowery speeches and ideas about compassion and understanding other peoples’ hearts.

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- “If you knew what I really was, you wouldn’t give me this ring. You wouldn’t love me.”

- But right now, in this moment, the fantasy intact, the answer is yes. George reinforces it, even when Shannon hesitantly asks if he’s sure. As he gives Shannon this ring, they are married and their relationship has officially succeeded.

- And George puts icing on the cake by telling Shannon that here, in this moment - the moment that Yasu will freeze forever for them - he can fully see their future together, the old Shannon that will be at his side. George transforms destroying everything from “losing the future” to “protecting the future” with this framework. Yasu’s resolve hardens.

- Shannon brings up that George is always talking about wanting children and grandchildren, and falters pretty badly. “…………………Will [that day], surely come?” With a huge pause afterwards. George, of course, says yes, surely, definitely. Yasu thinks to herself - better to seal this right here, with that vision clearly in his eyes, than to destroy it.

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- “…Please, show me… that future.”

- Oh, no. George: “…And not just until old age. …After we die too. …Even if we become spirits, we’ll always, always be together.”

- And, again, all of her doubts settled, Shannon instantly puts on the ring. It’s a marked difference from her uncertain reaction in EP1, because in the EP1 version, they didn’t have this conversation with reaffirmed Yasu’s decision to seal the catbox.

- And Yasu/Shannon quietly repeats: “…Even if we become spirits, we’ll always… always… be together.”

- And Kanon appears, to tell Shannon, basically, that she’s a fucking idiot and just sealed everyone’s fates. He tries to remind her that they’re furniture, but she calmly rejects him. After all, the illusion has just been sealed forever.

- Kanon still protests: “Why are you fooling yourself!? Even though you know that you can never become human!”

- And Shannon lays out what just happened: “I promised that we would always, always be together, for eternity. …So you know what? …In that instant, our eternity was completed.” So it’s now okay for her to die.

- Kanon breaks down into tears about how he’s sick of being furniture, and how he wanted to be able to respond to Jessica’s feelings. But if that love can’t be fulfilled, it’s better off without it. If “Kanon” is destined to disappear, Jessica and he are both better off not bothering. The seeds of Yasu’s love for Battler and George existed before finding out about furniture. But Yasu, as Kanon, only became aware of Jessica in that way afterwards.

- “Knowing love isn’t a regret that ties you to life. It is the place we should reach on our journey through life.”

- Beatrice appears to cackle, and reminds everyone that the losing condition for her roulette game is solving the epitaph - and finally, calls out to Battler.

- And in the chapel, confronted with Yasu/Beatrice and the gold she has, the adults all quickly bow down to her. Understanding everything, the adults revering her so much here is playing up as strange and mysterious, but it’s as simple as them just wanting her money, and therefore being willing to play along with her acts. In a way, it’s a hint as to how Yasu is able to recruit her roulette accomplices in every game. Kyrie hesitates, but eventually joins the others in “resigning” as well.

- “As the witch laughed boldly, the siblings started getting frantic. …They were afraid of displeasing the witch.” STUPID KYRIE GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEES YOU WILL RUIN OUR CHANCES OF GETTING GOLD

- And midnight hits. Everyone gathered in that chapel dies except for Rosa. Given how Rosa pretty obviously knows people actually are dying through the rest of the episode, I wonder if she was really there as Yasu shot everyone else…