We begin the episode with a breakdown by the investigation squad. This is a good scene for re-establishing how difficult it is to hunt Kira down, because what all this set-up does and continues to do for a while is show how intelligent and good L is at being a detective. The harder it is for everyone else the easier it seems for L.
It’s also a very realistic scene. 14 people claiming to know or have information about Kira, but none of which is relevant or not publicly known. 21 people claiming to actually be Kira. Presumably most of these people are people who will continue living in Light’s “new world.” Its not directly stated, but, there just are more problems with the world and people than just violent crime.
The police are also following up on L’s claims about Kira. They discover that the timing of the murders are indicative of a student as L explains. Now when L says this the Police Chief seems to perk up. “I think it’s safe to assume that he’s driven by a very idealistic notion of justice. It’s also possible that he aspires to be some sort of God-like figure. In short, we are dealing with a person who has a very childish notion of right and wrong.”
What L says is much of what I’ve been analyzing over the past couple of episodes. L puts words to the ideologically opposed viewpoint of Light’s. This better highlights their antagonism of each other. It further separates the moral issue at the center as well.
“You must re-examine the possibility that our suspect could be a student.” The reaction shots of the police in this scene seems to suggest that a student being at the center of all this violence is a shocking possibility. I might be reading too much into this, but doesn’t it seem like L is addressing a pre-conceived notion that a student is less likely to be this violent? This attitude about students and violent ideology wouldn’t seem to hold up next to the mass killing sprees that have made media attention in the real world. While some of those are older, a lot of young adolescent males cause harmful ideologically driven violence in the world.
At the end of L’s interruption, the police chief looks up as if he has been zoning out. Something was apparently on his mind during that conversation. But what could it possibly be? (No foreshadowing here doot doo doot).
Matsuda is addressed by name and stands up to say something. “In the last few days throughout the world, but especially here in Japan, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the number of violent crimes that have happened.” This results in a lot of disgruntled sounds in the room and a few nasty looks of frustration from the other police officers.
L requests information about the victims identities. He asks specifically about photos. Now, there are times when Death Note does this, where it seems like L had previously proven names and faces to the world when he did the broadcast thing. Technically he didn’t, but this still feels like it could be a backwards move in the plot. L needs something to do while the plot continues to thicken and build up, and getting confirmation of photos is a small, but almost superfluous from a writing standpoint, piece of information to focus on.
We cut to the Chief and Matsuda outside the office. Matsuda apologizes for what he says. “Nobody said it would be easy to speak the truth, but it has to be done, even when it isn’t easy to say.” If we think of this in terms of the moral discussion at Death Notes core, we get this little give and take this little push towards the gray. Of course having Kira around makes the job of the police safer and easier because violent criminals would be afraid of a conscious person punishing them. However, it further establishes the stance. Kira is a criminal, a murderer, and as a police officer, the Chief nor Matsuda can actually let them get away with it.
We cut to Light and the doorbell rings, “If the police try to come after me I’m pretty confident I have something that will give me the advantage.” We cut to the Chief who is revealed to be Light’s dad, Soichiro Yagami.
We listen to the family discuss Light’s genius, and Light asks about his Dad’s exhaustion. Ryuk recognizes it. Light reveals that he can keep track of the investigation against him because his Dad’s computer is on the home network. He quickly hacks in and sees all the investigation folders. He pulls up the information about the police expecting a student and he mentions the Death Note’s rules. Light says he should be able to write down the time of death in the details.
We jump to another Death Note montage of Light going about his daily business of being a student while prisoners die. A wonderful cut from Light giggling happily to a prisoner keeling over dead sort of perfectly contrasts this situation.
We jump back to the investigation where the police explain that criminals have begun dying every hour on the hour. They already begin saying this pokes holes in the theory that Light is a student. L however claims that Kira is sending the message that he can just kill at whatever time he wants. “As soon as we began to suspect that Kira was a student, the pacing of the killings changed. A coincidence? No, it’s too convenient. This can only mean that Kira has access to police information.”
Light seems to have placed the police and L into conflict with each other. “My real agenda is to get close to L, so I can eliminate him.”
“In this world there are very few people who trust each other. What’s important is that L and the investigators don’t trust each other.”
Light explains his master plan which is to create a rift between the police and L, so that the police can identify who L is so that Light can kill L. It’s a brilliant plan, and as we will see in future episodes, one that almost works.
After the break we come back to the investigation headquarters to see three police officers resigning. It eventually comes out that L’s theories are true to them and that they feel exposed as police officers. This is the start of the conflicts that Light was talking about as well. L not having a public identity is causing conflict between them. This moment actually exists as foreshadowing for WAAAAY later in the series also. The idea of a room full of investigators being murdered randomly at any time.
We go to a classroom where Ryuk seems to notice something. We see a shadow and Watari’s voice intercuts talking to L saying that the FBI are in Japan investigating the Japanese police. L has a list of people in the police force with access to classified information. There is a bit of a cinematic flourish were L drops the stack and Soichiro Yagami’s profile lands on the floor.
Ryuk talks to Light and tells him “I don’t have anything against you. I’m here because I have to stick around until the Death Note is finished or you die whichever comes first. I’m not your side or L’s side. I’m not here to support you or give you my opinion I’m just a spectator.” Ryuk explains that “You’re being followed by another human, he’s watching you right now.” We stop, and we see the shadow creep into frame then step out. Light continues walking.
Light wonders who could be following him. He thinks of how he must look to someone following him. He decides he has to stop him. Ryuk found his exposition file again and explains incredibly important rules for the Death Note world.
Ryuk says that Shinigami take human lifespans. This is an ongoing topic of interest in the Death Note world. As a fictional rule its explained that if a Shinigami kills someone before they would under a circumstance where a Shinigami hadn’t killed them, the Shinigami inherits the humans lifespan. Ryuk explains the Eyes of the Shinigami, which has the power to see any humans name and lifespan. He also shares information about the Eye Deal. A possessing Shinigami can grant a Death Note owner the Eyes of the Shinigami. The price is half of the humans remaining lifespan.
In other words, Light could make the deal and become an incredibly powerful person. And the episode ends on the question of whether or not Light will take such a deal.
This episode ends on a cliffhanger question, though when we get to the next episode I’ll have a bit more to say about what I think of this. For now, I won’t spoil anything because I like to keep this series as a moment to moment reflection.
This episode contains several elements that sort of build up the Death Note lore and universe. We have the dual plot of Light’s experimentation and attempting to throw wrenches into the investigation against him. We have the Chief being Light’s Dad, which is bound to get tied up in the mix eventually. We have the suspicion between L and the investigation team leading to conflict and suspicion. We have the Eye Deal, something of massive plot importance for the series, and some rules about Shinigami life. We also have Matsuda expressing a hard truth of what the police are doing, potentially hunting someone making their lives significantly easier if they just accepted Light as the God of the New World.
Overall this episode is a lot better than the last episode, although it doesn’t have a scene as strong as the Confrontation.
Join me next week for Episode 4: Pursuit