Something something, fish out of water.
This episode centered around Zed, who is a character I happen to like quite a bit. From the time he was introduced I found him particularly interesting. Among them all, he’s the “straight man.” He’s levelheaded, noble, and just generally likable. Any more I can get out of his character is a welcome addition. And the episode happily delivered in a way. The gist of it is that his breathing apparatus is taken. But we’ll come back to that.
The episode does delve into some of the things that really plague Zed’s mind. He comes across as a solitary kind of guy, but I like how they sort of played up the idea that it isn’t exactly by design. That his solitude is because he’s sort of an outcast. And he’s become used to it. It delves into the loneliness one feels from something like that, as this is perhaps the first real time we see Zed lose his usual composure.
I also really like his response to the setup of the episode. Zapp, being as much of a pompous arse as he is, complains about the monetary burdens that Zed places on the organization, due to his unique needs. Zed overhears the ensuing conversation. Despite it being very evident that Zapp is on the losing end of this argument (with Leo, Chain, and Steven picking him apart), Zed takes the matter to heart. The dude has companions now, and he doesn’t want to inconvenience them. So he takes matters into his own hands. It’s very like him. I’d have appreciated it if he’d gotten a dig at Zapp too, but it seemed everyone else had that more or less covered.
Speaking of his companions, I liked how they were handled here, for the most part. Zapp is still unfathomably annoying, never really seeming to breach that “lovable jerk” quality or even “jerk with a heart of gold.” But Leo and Chain are basically all-stars, this time. Leo takes it upon himself to help get Zed’s breathers back because he sees how much Zed was actually looking forward to an event that was going to gather everyone in Libra. And Chain continues to be exceptionally entertaining to watch, both for her understated moments, and her more comedic ones.
Now, if I’m honest, the reasoning behind Zed’s breathing apparatus being taken was just laughable. I’m certain it was stupid on purpose. But it wasn’t really played for laughs, so it makes it feel like it wasn’t intentional. The villain of the episode is a war profiteer who is evidently obsessed with music and mistakes his breathing apparatus for super high-end headphones. The episode plays it as if there’s going to be some sort of importance to his breathers as if they have some sort of other function. But no. It’s just that they conveniently look exactly like something entirely different.
The action isn’t exactly up to par with what we’d come to expect from this series. A lot of that flair is absent, here, but it’s also not like the action is in the foreground. This is a character building and comedic episode, above all else. So its lack of particularly thrilling action ultimately didn’t harm anything.
This episode is undeniably stupid, but it’s a lot of fun and gives us quite a few genuinely good character moments. It doesn’t advance the plot at all, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d say it’s not really gonna do it for you. It’s Junk Food, plain and simple. If it sounds like your thing, give it a shot. Otherwise, we’ve got plenty of other recaps and reviews for you to check out.
Blood Blockade Battle Front & Beyond is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Saturdays at 3:10pm EST.