Undershaft; Jormungand: Perfect Order Episode 14

I’m really enjoying how Jormungand so far has transitioned from an episodic format to a major arc one. The first season existed for a reason: to flesh out the sort of world Koko led and the team she’s working with (even if we never saw most of their life stories), but it also made things seem even more false when Koko ended up winning every battle she faced. In Perfect Order, we may have lost that sort of ‘slice of life’ element to the story, but we do have tougher players who are all, in a way, after one another – resulting in a situations that has strings attached to each character everywhere. No one can be trusted, and so there are higher stakes and more to lose when the battle goes down next week. It definitely builds up the excitement and tension, which frankly speaking, are what Jormungand is all about, isn’t it?

That said, I did like the introduction to how R joined the CIA and Bookman’s forces, but I still hold no actual sympathy for him until he actually goes and saves Jonah from Hex’s attack. It is interesting to note that despite R being with Koko for so many years, he still fails to notice that Koko’s weakness – maybe her only weakness – is Jonah, while Hex on the other hand, has caught on pretty early only through some basic investigation. Does this bring up the question that R’s sights have been clouded by being part of Koko’s team for so long? Jormungand hasn’t done a good job of really instigating some moral relativity in terms of secondary characters (though this season we have had hints: Karen, a bit of Hex, etc) so it would be nice to see that R is conflicted about his job. Based on his face after speaking with Bookman at the end of the episode, I have high hopes that he’ll do something about this, because Hex only seems to leave a bloody mess behind whatever she does, and I don’t doubt that she plans to fully crush Koko’s forces in the most crude and horrible manner possible.

However, the most exciting thing about this episode was the flashback into Hex and Koko’s lives. We’ve only had scraps of Koko’s past to feed on, and it was really great to see that the Koko who always smiles is an illusion. Of course, it’s been said plenty of times that Koko hides behind her mask, but this was the first time we actually saw a vulnerable and afraid Koko. I’m sure the mysterious “Echo” – probably Koko’s mentor and the guy in the OP whose face can’t be seen – plays a bigger role in this story, but I think we’ll leave that to future episodes to explain and flesh out. For the time being, it’s enough to see that our protagonist is still human, despite her nature and the type of career she leads.

Koko’s fear, paired with whatever Hex lost that day, also creates some interesting parallels. I can almost imagine Hex as a version of Koko who never found her path and was never betrayed by the people around her, which makes Koko’s relationships to the team even more important. They’re just not her defense: they’re her moral grounding, her family, and they keep her tied to whatever humanity she has left (which she does have, relatively speaking). Whereas the life of an arms dealer has made everyone sick and hungry for power, Koko paces herself, and I can’t help but think that if “Echo” and Koko’s present team hadn’t originally existed, Koko would just be another Hex, prowling for chaos. Hex herself is also an intriguing character, as she represents the anarchy of a life only led by betrayal, not forgiveness and teamwork. Any person Hex has cared about has died, and I’m sure that moon-lit day is the one that really pushed her off the edge. And it’s just so good because it shows that Koko is not someone we can sympathize or agree with, because she is cruel. She is vicious, she is powerful, and she is someone to be feared. The show doesn’t forget this, and that’s what makes Jormungand so great.

I would like to end with LADIES! though. Because let’s look at how pretty much every woman in this show is basically the one in control? Excluding Bookman of course, but I mean, really now – every woman in Jormungand is embowed with some sort of power, and it’s wonderful to see that. The ‘novice’ from last season, Amalia, returns, and is on friendly terms with Koko! Schokolade still hangs around with Scarecrow but isn’t just his tool! Mildo is probably still lurking about and Hex does what the fuck she wants. Karen moves on from her life after getting her revenge, and pairs up with Dr. Miami, who also works on her own terms.  It’s nice to see that women can operate on their own within a story’s narrative without becoming a regular device or trope for a male’s arc. If anything, that remains to be the reason why I watch Jormungand  (and Jonah too, of course), so hopefully we’ll be seeing a little more of this.

Next week: Hex’s attack, Jonah possibly in danger, R possibly in danger, Koko possibly in danger. Who’s ready for the high stakes to begin? I definitely am.

Enjoyment Level: 9/10

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