Note: Apologies for how late my posts have been. I got my wisdom teeth removed a few days ago and I horribly underestimated how long it takes to recover from surgery.
I’m back to Princess Principal in a remarkably more lighthearted episode than I’m used to, especially after how dark last episode got. Admittedly, they are on a mission to identify a serial killer who uses nerve gas as his murder weapon. But really, that part of the plot slips into your subconscious as you see Team White Pigeon go Extreme Makeover on this laundry mill. Honestly, this episode is the closest the show has gotten to being a straight-up “cute girls doing cute things” show.
You know, for a show that has very willingly depicted the shady business that plagues espionage, it’s become pretty clear that the members of Team White Pigeon are good people. They lie, kill, and take their missions seriously (they have to be given their jobs) but when the opportunity arises, their hearts can be in the right place. This episode certainly made a compelling case. Did they befriend the local workers, purchase the mill, and renovated the place to better achieve their mission? Yes but I doubt most spies would go to such lengths in the first place. The Team even went as far as to draw pictures for the workers who are illiterate and promote the mill to get more revenue for the staff. They might tell Control that it’s all for the mission (which Control barely buys) but it’s clear that they did all of this in consideration for the mill.
It also dawned on me that Princess Principal likes going for a particular tone case by case and it gets very committed to said tone until the episode is over. Sure, we still have a grim Victorian England setting in the background but this episode was definitely a lot more lighthearted than what came before it and it rolled with that tone. I particularly cracked up when the girls revealed their aliases. How unoriginal can you be with names such as “Dorothea” and “Chieko”? Ange probably has the best cover-up out of the five and even then, she exaggerates her cover like crazy. It’s just plain weird seeing her act all aggressive and loud (Ayaka Imamura has a lot more vocal range than I expected). There’s also that bit where Princess buys the the entire mill and its debt so that the Team can continue working there with little interference from the outside. I’m impressed she even pulled it off without exposing her real identity. And the thing is that this event hardly feels like a gaping plot hole because it fits with what the episode is going for. If Princess pulled something similar in the more darker episodes, it’d be far more jarring.
Naturally once our villain of the week has been captured, Team White Pigeon has to bid the mill farewell. It’s interesting that however much involved the girls may be in other people’s lives, their involvement is left rather anonymous. Back in Episode 1, Ange kills her client but also tricks him into signing an insurance policy to secure money for his sister’s operation. There isn’t a single trail that leads to Ange and the sister is under the assumption that the brother died to secure the money. Last episode, Dorothy helps her father retrieve a cipher so that he can become rich. Danny ends up getting killed, any sign that he was working for the Kingdom is covered up, and his death is treated like any other unfortunate casualty on the street.
This episode, the Team is perhaps the most involved in the lives of those around them. They give their workplace a complete makeover, help them find more customers, and even pay off their debt. But like in any other case, they leave as though they were never there to begin with. The only proof that they were ever there is the reorganized work space and the workers’ memories of the them. In the end, the mill is back to doing laundry as normal and the Team resumes their work as spies. I wonder if this is a theme in the show: how spies play a huge part in the world around them and yet their presence is only barely felt and things move on without them. If Ange and Princess succeed in making the latter the Queen, would anyone ever know it was their doing?
- I love that the loan sharks from last episode are back again especially since this episode is chronologically earlier in the timeline. I wonder if they even recognized Dorothy and Beatrice.
- I really like the friendship Chise formed with Marilla, the veteran worker. A shame that the two don’t get to properly say goodbye to each other especially after Marilla briefly sees Chise’s combat skills. For all Marilla knows, Chise leaves because she’s ashamed that the mill almost saw a side of her she’s supposed to hide.
- I love how Beatrice looks super tired after renovating the mill but her teammates look perfectly fine (maybe they drank a lot of coffee/tea). No wonder everyone let Beatrice sleep on the job.
- Awfully convenient that the killer’s uniform (which the killer usually washes on his own) ends up in the mill. The Team was so close to working at the mill for a really long time.