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Act 14: Roger the Wanderer

 

Review by Brian Shea

March 7, 2013

 

Summary

 

Big O approaches the shore as three MegaDeuses rise from the sea. With Roger and Dorothy in the cockpit, Big O fires its eye lasers at the MegaDeuses. Angel claims that it's too soon and that everything will be ruined if the power is released. Roger thinks of a conversation with Big Ear, asking who came up with the idea that there was no one living outside of Paradigm City. One of the MegaDeuses is damaged, but the three of them continue on and one attacks Big O with its drill-like hand. Roger shouts out that people are not ruled by their memories and punches two of the MegaDeuses at once. Roger thinks of Schwarzwald and a previous conversation with Dastun, who asked Roger if Big O was already waiting for him when he resigned from the military police. One of the MegaDeuses bites onto Big O's arm and emits a wave of energy from its mouth. Roger thinks of Gordon Rosewater in a tomato field claiming the stories of giants running amok and the world destroyed by a cataclysm is a lie. Big O's right arm is blown completely off by the attack. Roger, in shock, shouts out who he is. He thinks of Norman, who says he has probably been watching over him and Big O since before they lost their memories. Roger knocks the remaining MegaDeus over and punches it it in the head. The other two MegaDeuses get up from the water behind Big O. Dastun wonders about the foreign MegaDeuses and people that have come to Paradigm City. The three MegaDeuses launch a unified electrical attack on Big O. Alex Rosewater claims Roger doesn't have what it takes to pilot the Big. Roger wonders who he is and his cockpit is filled with tomatoes. Roger blacks out. A number of people get out of a subway car and an old woman leaves some money for a disheveled Roger, who is sitting nearby. Roger is scared by an oncoming subway car and heads to the bathroom to clean up. He heads up, outside of the subway tunnel, to a sunny day in Paradigm, with the dome over the city missing. Roger wonders if this is the Paradigm City he knows. He wonders why he is here and recalls being in the middle of a fight. Roger stops by the Speak Easy bar and heads inside. He sits in his usual seat but finds a stranger sitting where Big Ear usually sits. A man in a white suit approaches and pulls out a knife, claiming Roger is sitting in his seat. Not saying a word, Roger gets up and leaves. Roger wonders where he is and where he should go. He heads towards where his mansion is, to find that it is now a bank. Roger heads inside and is followed by a couple of security guards who tell him to leave. Roger claims this is his home and gets angry at his home being turned into a bank. The manager approaches, who Roger is surprised to discover is Beck. Beck extols the virtue of his bank dealing with even someone as lowly as Roger who he claims lives in a fantasy world. Roger grows angrier and tries to call Big O but finds that his watch is missing.

 

That night Roger walks down the sidewalk, against the crowd. He approaches the Nightingale night club and sees Dorothy get out of a car, along with her father. She meets a young man at the entrance and heads inside with him. Roger wonders who he is and what he has become. He hides in an alley as police cars drive by. He recalls not belonging with the Military Police and resigning, then meeting Big O shortly afterward. Suddenly Roger is an actor on a stage, with another version of himself watching as a member of the audience. Roger speaks of turning an old Bank into his home. He meets Norman, who calls Roger master despite this being the first time they have met. Norman says he will see to his care and "its" maintenance, that of Big O. Despite losing his memory 40 years ago, he has spent all this time working on Big O and keeping it operative, fearful that the man who was to pilot it would never appear. With his arrival, that fear has now dissipated. Roger asks why Norman assumes he has been teamed up with it. Norman tells him to simply call into his watch and it will appear. Things then change again, this time showing a Roger reading a newspaper strip showing him discovering Big O. Roger wonders if his memories have been mistaken from the beginning and if he was portraying someone else. The wind blows, revealing another story in the paper by Michael Seebach, showing the MegaDeus he found underground. Roger wonders if people in Paradigm had been portraying people other than themselves. Roger himself had a boring upbringing, raised in an orphanage, but gained an education due to an affluent foster family. Roger heads to a theatre where he watches a screening of Winter Night Phantom. He spots a girl holding a red balloon in the front row. Afterward, he walks through the rain, thinking of how he has no value in this place. A couple of men bump into him, knock him over, and run off. Roger thinks of himself as only an actor and that with his roles taken away, he has no reason to exist. A car pulls up and Angel walks out, wearing an old fashioned military uniform. She calls Roger "Major." Roger calls her Angel, to which she has no idea what he's talking about. Roger starts laughing and gets into the car. Roger asks if he is to play a soldier, one who is to turn his weapon on children in the battlefield. Angel asks him if he was really that worried about awakening it. They drive through a long tunnel. Roger has an overwhelming feeling of terror, an emotion he is scared of having and doesn't want to admit he has. Angel claims she is taking Roger to where he came from. They head underground, to the tunnels that Roger previously discovered Big O in. Roger asks Angel for them to stop. She asks if he is going to run away. Roger suddenly realizes that he should be fighting the terror inside him, something he was always afraid of but didn't admit existed. Roger encounters Dorothy on the sidewalk and calls him Roger Smith. Roger asks if it's appropriate for him to play Roger Smith. Dorothy claims he isn't an actor. Roger tears off his trench coat, revealing his suit underneath and calls for Big O. Big O appears before him. Back in reality, Big O successfully knocks over all three MegaDeuses despite having only one arm. The MegaDeuses get up again. Big O readies several chained weapons on Big O. Dastun calls for the Military Police to fall back. Numerous chains emit from Big O in all directions, striking the MegaDeuses. Alex orders the mysterious Alex Gabriel to have the Military Police retrieve the three MegaDeuses which he calls "gifts." Big O heads to shore, leaving the three MegaDeuses as standing, but completely inactive. Inside one of them, the head of another MegaDeus glows.

 

Commentary

 

This was the first episode of the second season of The Big O, and premiered approximately three years after the original season. Following a 3-4 minute lead off, which also acts as a pseudo-recap to reacquaint ourselves with the show, most of the episode is spent showing Roger in a city where there was no memory loss, domes or MegaDeuses. It is an interesting sequence, and quite unlike anything that had been scene in the series to point. Aside from the occasional flashback in episode 13, the show has stayed firmly footed in reality with its narrative structure. Ultimately, I think the sequence went on a bit too long and tried to ram home the stage and actor allusions a bit too hard (even having Roger on a literal stage, doing some overacting for a few minutes). Roger has faced probably his biggest challenge thus far with the three foreign MegaDeuses, but still manages to defeat them all on his own. It will be interesting to see what Alex Rosewater does with them, particularly since there appears to be at least part of another MegaDeus stored within one of them. The episode introduces the mysterious Alan Gabriel, a new character to the show for this season. For someone like me who had to wait a few years for this episode to come out and continue the storyline, I was quite excited for it at the time, but having watched it several times now, it is only an average episode to kick off the second season.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3 out of 5 stars
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The Big O Episode 14 The Big O Episode 14

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Buy the collection (eps 1-26) on Blu-ray from Amazon

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