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Episode 3: Leon's Choice

 

Review by Dustin Corallo

May 10, 2005

 

Summary

On the Orbital Elevator, a Yan reports over a cellular phone that Isis is now on Earth while watching traffic move around the Elevator. The figure on the other end says it’s problematic, but there’s no need to go after it at this time, since Isis will soon return to space. On Earth, from an island cavern, Leon watches a news report on a handheld TV, regarding the tsunami hit around the Elevator base city. He gripes when the report pins the crime on him, James and Noel, since it further associates Leon with James. Leon glares at James and blames him for everything that’s happened while James is rummaging through Dolores’ cockpit. As James is digging through Dolores to find a message of some kind, Noel wonders if her construction project will do fine without her. James asks Leon to help him, but Leon just shrugs him off. James then jumps into the cockpit to continue his search, when he hears something over Dolores’ comm. circuit. However, there’s too much interference for him to hear the message. Noel tries to listen in, and taps the monitor to get a better reception, to which Dolores complains. James asks Dolores if she can do anything, and Dolores tells him she’ll try. She replays the message, and James, Noel and Leon all look up when they hear Rachel’s voice, telling James not to hand Dolores over to anyone. Leon runs over and grabs James by the shirt collar, demanding to know what’s going on. James says he doesn’t know either, since he himself is in a bind right now. Noel wonders why Rachel asked them not to hand Dolores over, and Leon asks Dolores if she knows anything about Rachel. Dolores doesn’t understand, as Leon demands to know why she has that message and why she knows Rachel’s lullaby. Leon’s tone frightens Dolores, and in frustration, he reels back to kick her side. Before he can though, James stops him and tells him she doesn’t know anything. Noel asks how James got Dolores, to which he explains he got it on a cargo run, so Leon tells him to get in touch with the person who gave Dolores to him. James wonders if he can really do that, since he never had to get in touch with his contractors before. Both Noel and Leon begin to barrage him with apprehensions, before Leon gets in James’ face and reminds him he’s a murderer and he and Noel are associated with him. Dolores tries to break up the argument, but Leon slams his fist on her cockpit and runs off in frustration. Noel again wonders about her construction project, while Dolores tries to defend James from anymore accusations. James peeks into his book during this and reads "children may reject their father upon a reunion, since they are hiding their embarrassment at their happiness." Leon begins to argue with Noel, before he threatens to turn Dolores over to the UNSF, which makes James jump. Leon reminds James that he was the one who started this whole mess, and Noel concurs, but she points out they’ll be arrested to for being James’ children. Leon wonders if there’s a way out, and James preaches as long as their family stays together, they’ll find a way. Leon and Noel are not convinced, and so they walk away from James. At WIRED’s headquarters, Baan curses and slams on his desk, frustrated at how the Enders made him look stupid. Sameggi pulls out a rough sketch of Dolores and asks Baan to clarify it. Baan asks for NUT Ltd.’s response on the matter, and Baan tells him that NUT has denies it’s one of their products. Baan smacks the drawing out of Sameggi’s hand and tells him James made him look stupid, and that since he looked stupid, then all of WIRED did too. Everyone overhears Baan’s ranting and Baan orders everyone to track the Links down. Back on the island, over a campfire, James tries to Leon and Noel that Rachel was involved with a new BAHRAM weapons project, but stops when Dolores leans down to listen. James points to Dolores and tells them that she is the result of Rachel’s research, but he doesn’t know why he got it. Leon gripes that with Dolores, they’re both a nuisance to Mars and Earth. While he and James argue, Pete wanders over to Dolores, much to Noel’s dismay. Leon claims that the message might be a fake, and that the lullaby isn’t proof either, to which Dolores states she hasn’t lied. Again, Noel wonders about the construction project, while Leon barrages James about how he got fired for being his son. James explains to Leon that they’ve just be reunited, so he should at least be thankful for it, but Leon tells him not to act like a father when it’s convenient. He continues to rant about how James let Rachel leave for Mars ten years ago, without trying to stop her. Angered, Leon starts to walk off, saying he’s going back to his job. James tells him that WIRED won’t listen to his testimony, and that they should catch the real criminal first. Leon doesn’t believe him, and says that he trusts his company more than he trusts James. He leaves and Noel follows, saying that her opinion is the same as Leon’s. She can’t believe Rachel made Dolores, even if it does bother her that Rachel is still alive or not. Both siblings run off, leaving James and Dolores alone in the cave. That is, until Dolores flies into the water, saying she wants to go out for a bit too. Due to her body size though, she causes waves to splash into the cave, hitting James. She dives into the water and makes another wave that sends James onto his back. Laying there drenched with water, James wonders how he got into this. Back in the city, Noel watches her construction workers, seeing that they’re getting the job done without her. She then goes into an alleyway to meet with Leon, who is trying to access the Rozen Trading Corporation’s computer network. Unfortunately, WIRED is keeping tabs on the company, so he can’t get direct access. Noel suggests that he try reaching someone with influence, to which at first Leon tells her it wouldn’t work, but then remembers one such person, much to his dismay. At Rozen, a Section Manager by the name of Linda Roland banters her employees, as she’s trying to find information on the mech WIRED is looking for. However, nothing is coming up, much to Linda’s dismay. That’s when she receives a call from Leon. Seeing an opportunity, Linda takes the call and lets her hair down, making herself look like Rachel. Later, Leon and Noel go to the meeting place at Linda’s house. Noel marvels at how her brother managed to get such a rich person, and looks over the décor while Leon goes to talk to Linda. Noel notices a picture on the mantel piece of a fireplace and to her shock, sees that Linda is married. Back in the cave, James is dreaming again about Rachel, fantasizing that she returned from Mars and that they’re back at their old home. Rachel apologizes for being late, but James doesn’t care, since she came back. He suggests the family go out to dinner in celebration with Leon and Noel, to which Rachel agrees, saying it’s a nice way to regain lost time. James is confused, and Rachel turns serious, telling her husband not to hand Dolores over. James asks what she’s talking about when the image of Rachel and the house disappears and is replaced with Dolores and the cave. Dolores asks what James was dreaming about, telling him that he was smiling. James says it’s nothing, and Dolores says she met a sea monster while he was out. She says it was big, quiet and swam rather slowly. James laughs and says she saw a whale, and that they’re extremely rare in this day and age. He sees an opportunity, when Dolores tells him she’ll go find more, thus diving in the water and sending another wave into James. He looks up into the sky through a hole in the cave’s ceiling after spitting out the salt water, and wishes he had a drink. At Linda’s house, Leon is explaining to Linda what’s been going on for the last couple of days, and that he’s innocent, but Linda says the public won’t believe that. Linda explains that without proof, then his fate of life imprisonment is sealed, which horrifies Leon. She then explains that there’s still a way out. Linda knows Dolores exists, from a document made by a BAHRAM engineer named R. Links. Leon realizes the R stands for Rachel, while Linda continues to explain that she knows a diplomat in Vascilia County who can have Rachel found. However, in exchange, she wants Leon to hand Dolores over to Rozen. At first, Leon is reluctant, but Linda tantalizes him, asking him if he wants to return to Rozen or why he’s bothering with his deadbeat father. She tells him that it’s all because of James that he’s a criminal, and that she’ll take care of him. As Leon looks at Linda, he’s reminded of his mother’s caring image. Linda takes the advantage and tells him that she gave him his position as Assistant Manager, and taught him all the important aspects of business, as well as to handle a woman. Distraught, Leon embraces her.

After some time, Leon walks out to where Noel is waiting, and explains that they’ll take Linda to see Dolores. Though Noel doesn’t trust Linda, Leon tells her it’s the only way to take back everything they lost. Meanwhile, a WIRED squadron of attack helicopters flies over the chain of islands that Dolores was last scene on. In the lead helicopter, Baan sees a humpback whale swim under his helicopter, and marvels at being able to see the real thing. Sameggi then informs him about a call from Rozen, and hands his headphones over to Baan. Down in the water, Dolores uses the whale as cover from the helicopter patrol while she returns to the cave. However, when she returns, James is nowhere present. In the city, James is out trying to buy beer from a street vendor, but the vendor tells him he can’t get anything without an ID card. As James gripes, the vendor pulls up the profile on James Links on his computer, then keys in a security alert to the police. With that finished, the vendor raises his hands to James and gestures "double or nothing," to which James reluctantly pays. Before he can get any beer, police sirens begin to start up, and the vendor closes the window and takes James’ money. Seeing no point, James runs away and makes it to a cliff face. Unfortunately, the police corner him there and begin to move in, when Dolores jumps up from the water below, saying she’s been looking all over for James. She wonders if the police are friends of James’, and due to her large appearance, the policemen run away in fear, to which Dolores finds rude. They return to the cave, and James tells Dolores not to run around anymore, because she stands out. Dolores apologizes and says she thought James abandoned her. Before James can reply, Leon calls him out. At first he’s happy to see Leon and Noel return, but he notices Linda with them. Leon introduces her as his superior at Rozen, and Dolores introduces herself as well. Of course, Linda is amazed at Dolores’ form, seeing as she’s completely different from a LEV. Noel wanders over to James, as she doesn’t trust Linda at all, while Leon explains a diplomat from Mars will be coming out to pick up Dolores, since they know where Rachel is now. James is taken back by this, and Noel explains that they’re apparently going to trade Rachel for Dolores, though she doesn’t believe it. Leon rants on how with this trade, his innocence would be proven and he can return to Rozen, while Linda activates a homing beacon in her trench coat pocket. Leon demands James to say something, and James looks up at Dolores for a moment, then back at Leon, telling him he can’t hand Dolores over. He explains that he owes Dolores, and since Rachel told him not to hand it over to anyone, he’ll respect her wishes. Leon tries to convince him, but the WIRED helicopter squadron homes in on Linda’s signal and fly overhead. At the same time, Linda pulls out a gun and sticks it into the back of Leon’s neck, to his shock and James and Noel’s anger. Outside, Baan yells out for "John Carter" to give up. Leon wonders what happened to the diplomat, and Linda laughs at how he still believes that. She explains that all she wanted was Dolores that she could care less for Leon, and that if she sells Dolores to the UNSF, her quota for this period would be cleared. She banters that it’s a fitting end for a boy with an Oedipus complex. However, James doesn’t take her seriously and walks over to her, smacking the gun out of her hand despite her threats. He tells her not to laugh at Leon, even though he is that kind of son, he likes him still. At long last, the helicopter squad finds them, so James jumps into Dolores cockpit while Dolores grabs onto Noel and Pete. Dolores compliments that James doesn’t smell like alcohol, to which James tells her to leave him alone. Enraged at Linda, Leon rips off his glass and throws them on the cave floor, when Noel grabs him and takes him into Dolores’ hands. Dolores takes off from the cave and Baan targets her, having the helicopters fire machine guns at her. However, Dolores is much more maneuverable than the helicopters and easily dodges the bullets, while firing back with her homing lasers. She manages to destroy one helicopter with the lasers, and then arms an arm sword to take out another. Before she can, James tells her to stop, reminding Dolores if they kill anyone else, they’ll be even bigger criminals. Seeing that Dolores has stopped her attack, Baan takes the opportunity and has the entire squadron launch their missile pods at the orbital frame. Dolores puts up her energy shield and flips downward though. Baan starts to order a second assault, but Sameggi stops him, as Dolores is flying over a pod of humpback whales. Sameggi explains if they kill any whales, then it will mean life in prison for them. James taunts the helicopters, and then has Dolores fly up and stab the rotors with her arm sword, forcing the helicopters to crash without exploding. Dolores says goodbye to the whales and then flies off while Baan and the rest of WIRED can only watch. On a nearby island, Leon and Dolores sit on a beach watching a sunset, both depressed about the events of late. James reads through his book on "How to Deal With a Child When He or She is Depressed," which reads to “stress that your fates our intertwined, this feeling of belongingness is the key.” Noel comes up and asks if James noticed that Linda looked a lot like Rachel, to which James tells her not to bring up again. He explains that a grown man doesn’t like that kind of conversation. Noel then holds up a bag of beer and tells James that it’s in appreciation for Pete. James embraces her, and later, the three take a can of beer. James says they should toast to their departure from Earth, which confuses Noel, since Linda’s claim was a lie. However, James says Dolores alone is proof enough that Rachel’s alive and well and that he’ll believe in that and go to Mars. Leon gripes that they’re criminals in the same boat, and Noel says they’re innocents in the same hole. James, remembering the book’s advice, says that either way they’re together, and that it’s a family bond. At first, he thinks he won them over, but Noel sprays his face with her beer can. As the sunsets, the Links family enjoys their first good time together in ten years.

 

Commentary

 

It seems to be a trend in mecha series for the third or fourth episode to be focused on character development, and Dolores is no exception. This is understandable though, because the point of the first two episodes is to introduce the story and characters, while the third or fourth episode is to get the story moving. In Dolores’ case, we get some insight on Leon’s mentality. Sure, James, Dolores and Noel were shown, but as the title implies, this episode was devoted to Leon. It seems that the way Noel takes after James, he takes after Rachel, and her departure ten years ago was much harder on him than his father and sister. As a result of this, he blames his father for the family falling apart and he goes after a woman that looks like Rachel all the same. Sigmund Freud describes this behavior as an Oedipus Complex, named after the Greek king that inadvertently killed his father and slept with his mother. Unfortunately, it’s quite common in divorced or split families for children to act like this, especially when there’s no direct contact toward the mother, as is in this case. That being said, I find Leon’s behavior very realistic as far as anime characters go, which is another plus for this series. As for Linda Roland, she’s quite a heartless woman, even for mecha anime standards. I know the stereotype for a business woman is that of a harpy who has no second thoughts to walking over people to reach the top, but taking advantage of Leon’s trauma was pretty harsh. Fortunately, I don’t think we’ll be seeing her again, now that all of Leon’s ties to Rozen are severed and with Dolores out of her reach, there’s no reason for the story to bother with her anymore. Another thing I liked about this episode was the comedy that’s centered on James. His getting taken by a tidal wave whenever Dolores jumped in the water was hilarious, not to mention his getting ripped off by the street vendor. While it takes some attention off of Leon’s depression (and thus makes the episode lighter), it reminds the audience about James’ poor luck without having to go into a serious tone. Course, I guess James’ attempt to go out in public was hilarious too. In an age where the internet is connected to everything, how could he think of walking around in the open? At least Leon and Noel had the sense to wear disguises (albeit dumb ones). With this episode completed, things are set: the Links family is definitely going to Mars to find Rachel, but the question is how. That will most likely be covered in the next episode.

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Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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ZOE Dolores, i Episode 3 ZOE Dolores, i Episode 3

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