Rating: 4.5 (of 5)
Anya is now formally into Eden College, so the first phase of Operation Strix is now complete. However, the second phase looks to be every bit as problematic – and for this part, the weight is falling much more heavily on Anya. However, this part is not entirely about her, as all three come to realize just how treacherous a venue Eden College is to navigate.
For Loid and Yor, this means coming to realize not only that Eden College students can be targets, but also that getting in on merit rather than money can leave a student low in the social pecking order. Hence Anya has her work cut out for her to get in the good graces of Desmond, the second son of Twilight’s target, and thus get her “parents” invited to the social events the target attends. The problem here is that Anya is integrating what she’s learning from different sources about what she needs to do about as thoughtfully as one could expected even a precocious six-year-old (who might only be five!) to do. And between her mind-reading and inspirational sources, she’s not about to take any of Desmond’s bullying crap. Still, of the series’ three protagonists, she is the one who would be least expected to send someone flying with a punch – and a punch that was anything but girly at that.
As mortified at the Forgers are about the state of things at the end of the episode, this whole scenario also shows that everyone – from oldest to youngest – should only underestimate Anya at their peril. Even if all of her effects weren’t intentional, she is well on her way to eventually becoming a master manipulator. She was keenly able to play punching Desmond off in a way which got her in the least amount of trouble and gained her further respect from the old gentleman, and she has clearly won over at least one admirer/probable friend from a well-connected family. That delightful smirk of hers may not have been what she was aiming for, but it still utterly threw off Desmond even before that epic punch. Now he really won’t know what to do with her, and I don’t doubt that Anya so capably defending herself made an impression on others. Though it gets her in trouble short-term, it may ironically prove to have been her best move in the long run. And for all of this, we can still delight in her young-kid cuteness over the way she shows off her uniform to people in the park.
Almost lost in all of this is how much Yor is falling into the role of Anya’s mother almost despite herself. Foiling the kidnapping attempt isn’t the first time that she has reacted more like a true mama bear than someone just faking the role. The whole sequence with Anya comforting her after lamenting about the wasted groceries both gives the episode its requisite touching moments and reaffirms that one does not have to be a traditional mother figure in order to actually be a good mother; caring matters more. Besides, in Anya’s (admittedly a bit skewed) perspective, a fighting mama is a perfect one.
Overall, this episode shows that the series will not slouch at all as Anya becomes more the center of action – not that such a consideration was ever in any doubt.