An uneven Devils’ Line takes too long to decide on a focal point.
OVERVIEW (SPOILERS BELOW)
There are benefits and downsides to Anzai and Tsukasa’s reunion this week. Firstly, Devils’ Line is always better with more Anzai, and having the show’s leads share a majority of scenes theoretically helps to declutter plot threads. However, their moments alone here were far too tacky and slow for my taste; I haven’t had to make Twilight comparisons since the premiere, but the similarities were painfully obvious in “Plan B”. Tsukasa still has no personality aside from being Anzai’s love interest, which makes it frustrating when minor characters calling her his girlfriend is constantly used for comedic effect: given that their relationship lacks ambiguity or a ‘will they or won’t they’ dynamic, Tsukasa’s exaggerated reactions serve only to underline her lack of other defining traits.
At least some of the set-up from “Monster” pays off effectively throughout the episode. Although it wasn’t particularly surprising, the broadcast attack cliffhanger was visually striking and led to some compelling sequences of widespread chaos before the abrupt shift in focus to romance. Most intriguingly, the attack facilitates a deeper discussion of how devils as a species fit into this civilization and culture; much like Anzai, using this idea always improves Devils’ Line. Devils appear to have virtually assumed the role of another class within society, with an implied link between their acceptance by humans and systemic marginalization that I’d love to see explored further. In fact, Juliana’s despair at potentially losing some of her workplace responsibilities was my single favorite moment in “Plan B”.
Nevertheless, Anzai’s newfound obsession with the logistics of human-vampire intercourse was frustrating. Not only did a previous episode already establish that this was possible (and subject to several strange legal requirements), but the subplot feels designed to catalyze a larger mystery surrounding Anzai’s origins. Basically, I simply don’t believe that he never would’ve thought about it before; without even considering his age, he’s a detective.
“Plan B”’s initial momentum is unfortunately lost by juggling too many elements. It’s concerning enough the episode’s acts vary so wildly in tone from action, to romance, to intrigue, yet my greatest issue is that the third of these was so clearly the strongest and wasn’t given enough attention. Hopefully, Devils’ Line has finished transitioning into the next phase of its larger story, and this series will start to become notable for its intriguing ideas and world, not despite the mess surrounding them.