This is a recap and review of episode 9 of Black Rock Shooter Dawn Fall, available on Hulu and Disney Plus.
In this episode, we get more backstory on Charlotte, learn how the Hemiteos units got their names, and we finally see Lighthouse No. 8!
Spoilers to follow!
The first three minutes of this episode start with a very heavy flashback that includes sexual assault, psychological manipulation, attempted infanticide (mercy-killing), and suicide. In typical Black Rock fashion, this is done at a breakneck pace, which, to be honest, I much prefer to an extended scene of this type of content. We learn that Smiley has brainwashed Charlotte (though that was already apparent), and Jessica attempted to save her, and when she couldn’t, she called on Empress to do so as she presumably fell to her death.
In the present, in another scene packed with info, we see that Smiley is still alive and in some sort of regrowing chamber, and Lunatic informs Charlotte that she can become a full Hemiteos unit if she heads to Lighthouse No. 8. I’m not sure why Lunatic didn’t tell Charlotte this before, but I guess an A.I. has reasons unfathomable to humans.
Empress has a dream about the Lighthouse, which is located in Bogota, Columbia. We also meet Jessica again in the flashback, a teacher at the Lighthouse. She has Empress select a name from a pack of Tarot cards. Empress then does the same to Strength and Dead Master.
In the present, the group travels to a mine where they believe the experimental lab was located. Inside, Monika finds the bloodstained cards with a memory chip attached. From the chip, we learn that Jessica was a Hemiteos unit, too (albeit too old to take on the augmentations properly).
Jessica gives a background on the Hemiteos units in general and the peacebuilding force. We also learn that Colonel has a first name! David! She informs the group that Charlotte has a virus in her system that can break the Education Institution’s programming.
She also reveals a pod that can recalibrate a unit to either enhance their power or remove it entirely. Despite how the decision dooms his daughter, Colonel tells Empress to get into the pod.
A battle ensues when the EI shows up yet again. Charlotte attacks her dad, and while he defends himself, he will not hurt her. We see how deep Smiley’s indoctrination has affected her, as she almost kills Colonel before Empress breaks out of her pod and says she won’t let Charlotte kill anyone anymore.
It’s a good thing we had that fun filler episode last week because this one was not only jam-packed with information but quite serious. The revelations about Jessica were interesting, and while I assumed she was a scientist, I didn’t think she was also a super soldier. I do hope Charlotte can be reprogrammed to her original self and Colonel (David!) gets his daughter back. Given we didn’t really see her die, perhaps Jessica is still alive somewhere? We’ll have to wait and see!
The next episode airs on Dec 21 on Disney+ and Hulu.