Behold — the New Crystal Gems are here! Or, er, the new Tsukikage, that is.
Cold open: Momo, Goe, and Fu are about to be tortured (physically and emotionally) by a Moryo scientist. Mei just revealed to them how she’d been planning to join Moryo for a long time, and that her and Tendo are now BFFsies. Momo wakes up and smells the spice, realizing the world is in danger and that they need to escape. Momo snaps Goe and Fu out of their depression and they break out. Once back at the base, they devise a plan to stop Moryo’s public mind control agent from spreading through the city. They’re about to face Moryo head on when…
Surprise! Hanzo appears!
After explaining how she faked her own death, she decides to guide them from the base (as she’s still too injured to fight.) The trio locates Moryo’s base of operations and attempts to locate the mind-control spreading device. Goe faces off with Theresia, who is defeated by Goe and then is implied to be killed by Tendo. Fu faces off with Mei and fails to convince her to leave Moryo. Hanzo lets Momo know that the mind-control device is located in a different part of the city, so the trio escapes the Moryo building and heads toward the gigantic, flower-shaped device (where Tendo awaits them.)
When the show’s tone took a dark turn last episode, it appeared that the quality went right with it. The Mei twist had the same impact that Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt had when (**SPOILERS FOR PSG**) they randomly had Stocking reveal she’d been a demon the whole time — only PSG did it ironically. Release the Spyce did not.
But now, it seems we may have a comeback.
Hanzo’s reappearance was certainly a “gotcha” moment. While Hatsume, Katrina, and Byakko are all characters that any viewer could expect to reappear (since their bodies were never shown), Hanzo was a surprise, as she was the only character killed onscreen. They made good, proper work of the “spy” aspect of her plan, throwing in a gadget as what allowed her to play dead.
On the subject of good twists, it thankfully seems like there may even be hope for Mei. Mei’s insistence on knowing every step of Tendo’s plans seemed as though she could have been trying to get a confession out of her. Perhaps Mei is playing the role of a double (triple?) agent. It would be hard to justify, as she actively killed one of her friends and imprisoned the others to mind-breaking torture, but saving the city might justify the means. This is something that would easily save the series from itself.
The voice acting has been consistent — except for the Moryo Torture Scientist, who was especially silly (it wasn’t great, but it was oddly original.) Also, Evil Mei’s enthusiasm is pretty fun. Music, animation, and general writing in this episode were solid. Symbolically, it’s great to see the apprentices shine as the main Tsukikage agents.
All notes aside, the fate of the show depends entirely on the next episode — which is also the final one. Is Release the Spyce doomed to ride out its horrible Mei twist? Will Tsukikage save the day?
Will we ever get ANY closure on why spices are just…like that?
Tune in for the dramatic conclusion of our weekly Release the Spyce reviews!