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Phase 22: Exposure

 

Review by Scott Richardson

June 20, 2006

 

Summary

 

A very frail-looking Gigalt is being questioned by the authorities regarding anything he might know about his student-turned-terrorist, Hakim Ashmead. Since his botched bombing of the Von Braun, no one has seen or heard from him. Barely cognizant, all Gigalt can do is sadly wonder why he was never able to come up with a nickname for Hakim. On the Moon, Cheng-Shin finds out he's being taken off his flight crew. The normally cool-headed Cheng-Shin blows his top and is informed that he's being taken off in order for him to cool his head--he's been acting strange lately. Fee chats with Dolf, who's acting as the head of Galileo Development, the company Technora created to oversee the Jupiter Project. Dolf comments on the difficulty of running a project this large and complex, but seems strangely satisfied with being away from corporate politics, instead caught up in the hustle and bustle of a large project. Elsewhere, Cheng-Shin gets to the root of the problem, complaining about Hachi to Claire--calling him a failure of a human being. He vindictively tells her that he understands why she broke up with him. Dipping into some vindictiveness of her own, Claire notes that this is a good look for Cheng-Shin and goes on to say that with a good-looking face, a good job, and coming from a fairly well off family, she always thought Cheng-Shin was too good to be true. Then she chuckles frostily and asks him if he ever realized that she always hated him. She goes on to tell him that while Cheng-Shin thinks of himself as a considerate person, he's actually quite selfish. She claims that he doesn't know the first thing about her or Hachi. Cheng-Shin tries to defend himself, but is interrupted when several OSA officers walk up behind them and ask that Claire come in for questioning regarding Hakim. Claire gets up to leave with them, and then takes a softer tone, telling Cheng-Shin that there are a lot of dark, dirty secrets in the world that he knows nothing about. At the nearby OSA office, Hachi is still being questioned, but only really seems interested in getting back to the Von Braun test. He's finally allowed to leave and is surprised to see Claire being escorted in. Claire explains that the OSA believe that she's a member of the Space Defense Front, which Hachi loudly decries as stupidity, but is quieted when Claire explains that it's because she's Hakim's girlfriend--or so they think. As Hachi leaves the building, he notices his reflection in a window smirk at him. His inner demon asks why Hachi is so angry at Hakim, considering his isolationist attitude he's been hurting Tanabe with. His double goes on to suggest that, despite it all, Hachi really was looking for a friend to go to Jupiter with, somebody who could do what Cheng-Shin couldn't. When all is said and done, people are inevitably alone. Somehow, Hachi finds himself in front of Tanabe's lunar apartment where she lives next door to the ninjas. Realizing where he is, he wonders how he could possibly talk to her now. Just then, the overweight ninja walks out with a satchel on his back. Hachi recognizes him, but the ninja freaks out and begs Hachi to pretend he never saw this. It seems that he is the only survivor of the group, as the others had gotten jobs working on the tandem mirror engine. As he was the only one too scared to enter the hotel during the fire where the ninjas made a name for themselves, he wasn't able to get the job with them. Now, to make ends meet, he has been pawning the deceased ninjas' belongings. Hachi's mood hardens, and he says that he doesn't care, he doesn't expect any better from human beings. 

 

The upcoming INTO Supreme Council meeting--the first ever to be held in space--has been suddenly moved from Sea of Tranquility base to the Lunar Station, as a security measure against any planned terrorist attacks. The leaders of the Space Defense Front, however, do not seem concerned by the change in venue, as they plan a surprise attack from the back of a van somewhere on the Moon. Hachi winds up wandering into Myers, Lavie, Edel and their counterparts in the local Debris Section office, who are out bar hopping. Lavie is drunkenly glad to see him, and introduces him to everyone as a fellow debris hauler. Hachi attempts to brush him off and keep walking, but Edel blocks him, informing him that Tanabe is working hard and will continue to do her job right even in his absence. An equally drunken Myers asks Hachi to drop by the office sometime, as he's got a lot of mail piling up, including one from Gigalt. This catches Hachi's attention and he asks what it said. Myers tells him that it asked him to come to the lunar hospital when he's done with his tests. Hachi makes it down to the hospital and runs into Nono. She asks if he's here for a check up and he explains that he's here to visit someone. Her smile wanes and she asks if he's looking for Gigalt. She gives him a camera with Gigalt's video on it, and tries to tell Hachi that Gigalt is gone, but Hachi takes her to mean that he's already been discharged. Before she can explain, a nurse calls Nono away for her tests. Meanwhile, Lavie makes a call to Tanabe, telling her that they ran into Hachi. He drunkenly invites her to join them for the next round of bar hopping, but Edel steals the phone and drunkenly informs Tanabe that Hachi's gone to the hospital. Back at the hospital, Hachi watches Gigalt's video, in which Gigalt tells him that if he's watching this, it means that he's probably dead. The cancer that killed him was a result of his long exposure to space and Gigalt laments that though space is such a cruel place, people like them fall in love with it so easily. Gigalt tries to impart one last lesson to Hachi: every ship needs a harbor to take them back in when they finally arrive home. Gigalt ends his last message by asking Hachi to give his best to Goro and asks that they try to get along. Finally released from OSA custody, Claire arrives back at her apartment, only to discover Hakim already there, waiting for her. Meanwhile, Tanabe has finally arrived at the hospital, and finds a morose Hachi staring out a window onto the barren lunar surface. Excited, but a little apprehensive, she asks him how he's been and tells him everyone has been worried about him. When Hachi doesn't immediately respond, she asks him to please say that what he said before about being alone was just a lie. Hachi explains that Gigalt is dead, which catches her by surprise as when she last heard from him Gigalt told her he was still fine. That Tanabe knew about Gigalt's cancer catches Hachi off-guard, giving his inner demon the chance to remind him that betrayal is all you can expect from people. Tanabe tries to explain that Gigalt made her swear not to tell Hachi about his condition, as Hachi's demon reminds him that just like stars floating through space, people are all alone. Tanabe wants him to share his pain with her, but Hachi explodes, telling her to shut up. Hachi tells her that the loneliness, pain, doubts and regrets are all his and he's never going to just give them away to her. 

 

Commentary

 

If you paid close attention during episode 17, you might have noticed a few familiar looking characters working at the tandem mirror engine site. Even though I was never a big fan of the space ninjas, it was still a kick in the gut when I found out they'd been killed in the meltdown. I suppose that was just the writer's way of adding a face to the tragedy, but it sure was cold--especially with the remaining ninja pawning their stuff. Despite the multiple deaths, this episode was much slower-paced than a lot of the recent episodes. No terrorist attacks, no torturous crew selection tests, just the aftermath of Hakim's betrayal. It's interesting how, though Hachi made such a big deal about isolating himself from everybody else in order to achieve his dream, he wound up making friends (and thereby betraying his own ideal) with somebody who seemed to be doing the same thing. And now that he's been betrayed by that same person, he's retreating further into his isolation by lashing out at Tanabe, the one person who'd forgive him for everything if he'd just give her a chance.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Planetes Episode 22 Planetes Episode 22

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