We’re going to the end of the line.
What They Say:
Episode #9: “Freedom”
With Mu’s awakening, Tommy has big plans to do the Freedom Project right this time. In the meantime, Echo runs into Nir on the streets of Londinium.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As Echo witnesses Mu lose herself to Tommy’s machinations, across the city Nir watches as her two new friends are mowed down. Mu is now unreachable, and Tommy runs forward at full blast on his plan to recreate Project Freedom and put an end to the Earless once and for all. He plans on having the new stage be at Brighton Beach.
The real Brighton Beach has been a popular live music location for decades, featuring an outdoor music venue called the Brighton Music Hall. (Not to be confused with the Brighton Music Hall in Allston Mass that used to be called Harper’s Ferry. Or the historic Brighton Music Hall near Coney Island. Yeah, that name gets around.) Other than that reference this episode lightens up on the callbacks to rock. Sure, there’s one dude in a crowd that vaguely resembles Chris Cornell or some other flannel-era grunge figure, but that’s about it. The plot takes precedence over the proceedings.
In the middle of his failure to protect his friend from Tommy’s influence, Echo wanders the streets while propaganda blasts from the megaphones of the children soldiers. They promise a Second Coming, which isn’t ominous at all. When general Ace protests about the actions of Tommy he is shockingly silenced in a very point-blank way. Echo reencounters Nir who meets his confusion with hostility.
Nir and Echo visit Ritchie and Lyde’s graves, which give the year as 1979, which is the year Sid Vicious died. While there are mechs flying around the technology we’ve seen does feel very analog. The interactions between Nir and Echo are tense and full of unease. She learns that Mu is an Earless from Echo and is more resolved than ever to terminate her. Both set off to find Mu, with Echo intending to bring her back to her senses and Nir wanting to do her in.
Marshall’s betrayal comes with the hilarious statement “never trust anyone over 30.” While the phrase is often associated with music it didn’t originate there. I can’t help but think of the time Homer yelled into the crowd in that Simpson’s episode. Same vibe. The encounter with Mu goes poorly for both Echo and Nir, and I really hope that Nir survived now that she knows the truth about how Tommy and his military have been manipulating the players and populace.
Unceremoniously tossed into the trash of the city, Echo is sent packing on a train heading back toward his hometown. He has hit rock bottom, with Mu lost to him and Nir left for dead. Yet the next episode promises hope, records, and a meeting at the crossroad.
Mu has lost herself, just a player being manipulated by larger forces in an echo of many artists at the mercy of their record companies. Echo is denied his opportunity to speak his heart, although I do think that the silly teenager crush he has on Mu is forced. We are rewound, with Echo being tossed back to the beginning. Yet there is a frustration and resolve in the way he grips on to that core. I think LISTENERS has been on an upward tick in the last few episodes. While I was hoping for the show to blow me away, I realize the emotion that they are reaching for is basically impossible without inserting the music which is inspiring it. So they are trying but falling short, but that’s okay. I’m still having a good time.
Next week we meet the man who sold his soul to the devil and a girl named Janis.
Episode Grade: B
Streamed by: Funimation