Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
What They Say:
Episode #6: “Goodbye Blue Sky”
Echo and Mu follow Jimi’s trail to Gnome Country, where they discover the fate of the people who were betrayed by the rest of the world.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Echo and Mu, after a long day on the road, finally reach the ocean. Mu is ecstatic, running the mech along the road while Echo looks quite carsick. Yet when they reach the shore they find a dead end. Where is the country where Jimi supposedly returned? What became of those hippies that thought they could live peacefully alongside the Earless?
Listeners seems to relish the imagery that comes with rock music since it’s easier to create an homage to a look than to license some very expensive music. All of the imagery in this episode goes back to the albums of Pink Floyd. The pyramid shape of “The Wall” settlement, Roz’s lamp, and the rainbows evoking the Dark Side of the Moon. The pig balloons allude to the infamous escaping pig that graced the cover of Animals. The beach of beds is A Momentary Lapse of Reason. Yet despite the sometimes stunning imagery, this episode doesn’t go to the lengths that some of the previous episodes do. There is a shocking lack of lasers, for example. And I didn’t pick up on any of the more obvious lyrical drops they could have made.
We already knew that Earless are supposedly the result of a Player falling from grace. Now we are told that partners of players become them after degenerating from ‘sound sickness.’ Adding yet another step of transformation, Roz’s father is both killed by an Earless and transformed into one somehow. When we meet Roz she’s keeping centennial over the desolate ruins of her isolated world. It’s fitting in the fact that they constructed a Wall around their strange little island. Roz mentions the fact that her people were misguided and naive. Not only about how they thought they would be able to keep to themselves in harmony but in trusting the outsiders when they knew elsewhere in the world the Earless were feared.
Pink Floyd’s music often touched upon elements of disillusionment, exploitation, war, and absence. All come into play in this episode. Roz is downright maudlin and disconnected. She tells Mu that if Echo remains with her he will become an Earless, and that the sound sickness he’s experiencing is evidence of that. Echo denies that after Mu trades her core for the medicine to save Echo. Yet what did Roz have to gain by lying to Mu? Nothing. Is Echo hiding the fact that sound sickness is fatal? He appears to be carrying the medication needed to stave off the sound sickness. Yet he’s been hiding the side effects from Mu.
Where this episode starts to fall flat is in the attack on the Wall by the Noise sisters. They apparently tailed the duo to the city in a frantic dash to claim Mu’s core. A battle ensues where the duo once again works together to send their opponents flying. Prior to that, the majority of the episode was mostly telling, not showing.
Roz once again has to point the kids in the opposite direction, back towards the dangerous city of Londinium. The preview showed some new characters and some returning ones, including Nir. It will be interesting to see what happens when they reach the city.
Mu and Echo are still chasing a ghost halfway around the world, and only one of the pair seems to understand the danger they are both in. The shoehorning of imagery from rock into the narrative still comes across as far more clumsy than it needs to be. This episode has far less ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ references than previous episodes, but it’s still lacking an emotional kick. It feels hollow and less than the sum of its parts. My previous cover band comparison still stands. Although I am now concerned about Echo’s health and the overall darkening of the story, the mech battles are still mostly secondary to everything else going on. Each episode brings the pair further into danger, and each episode has adults doing their damndest to push the two kids into a romantic relationship. Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, am I right? I find it interesting that outside of the Noise sisters there seems to be no major antagonist for these kids to rage against. Maybe that will change next episode.
Episode Grade: B –
Streamed by: Funimation