Persona 4 (ep 4): The power to fly free
This episode Yukiko must confront her shadow self, and it’s desire to be freed.
Yu and the gang have finally gone to save Yukiko, who was thrown into the TV by the killer. Yukiko is in the same room as her shadow self, who declares she is ready for her Prince to come and save her. Shadow Yukiko only has one desire, to have someone come and save her since she doesn’t have the courage herself.
Yukiko has spent her whole life knowing she will inherit her family’s inn. Besides the inn she has no redeeming qualities, and so part of her has begun to hate the Inn and the fact she was not given any choice about inheriting it. She hates herself for not being strong enough to run away and wants someone to help her escape, but even Chie has failed to give her the ability to run away. Yukiko recalls a bird she used to have, one she saved and kept in a cage and took care of everyday. To her, it was just like her, unable to fly away.
Yukiko cannot accept she thought these things, no matter how true they may be, and so she rejects her shadow self and its desires. The shadow self manifests itself and begins to attack everyone, and Yukiko becomes trapped in a cage watching her friends suffer. Honestly, this episode was almost more well done than the game. The flashback to Chie’s words and the bird escaping show you that Yukiko does feel completely alone and is unable to work up the courage to leave. But if she can’t even accept her own fear of leaving, how can she possibly leave at all?
Chie steps up to apologize for not seeing Yukiko’s problems and for all the things she had to accept about herself, and the party struggles to take on Yukiko’s shadow. Yu realizes his ability to summon other personas and uses Pyro Jack to fend off Shadow Yukiko. But as Chie and Yukiko talk, Yukiko realizes the truth, she has always been able to walk away. She just never had the courage. And so she accepts her shadow self and becomes a persona user!
And it’s at this point I must tell you that this episode was perfect in my opinion. If you ever played the game, this feels better because of the extra perspective. We learn how trapped Yukiko feels and how little courage she really has, but in the end she proves she is strong and becomes a member of the team. But the most important question is…how did Yukiko end up in the TV? And what is her connection to the first two villains? All they know is that if they don’t figure it out soon, the next victim may not be so lucky.