Episode 7.5 of 91 Days premiered last week and merely featured a flashback compilation and so there was an entire fortnight I had to calm down from episode 7. I had forgotten before this episode that 91 Days has declared war on its previous pace and outright ended any semblance of niceties from its protagonists. This episode began by scaring the poop out of me because its focus was on the very down on his luck Corteo. Corteo has long since been the one character who maintained humanity and seemed to be tugged along with everything in the show when he never wanted any of it. I have always believed Corteo would die and simply waited: but this episode proved the character had a far more significant role to play in what this show would become.
The episode begins by testing Corteo’s morals when a new Prohibition official comes to town and the Vanettis do their very best almost immediately to bribe and then threaten the officer in order to protect their family. Avilio takes Corteo to bribe him and then later supports they should kill the officials family. Corteo intervenes by telling Fango about this and in effect saving the family of the official, but putting himself into a precarious situation. He further tells Fango where Nero will be and almost gets Nero killed: thus prompting a search for who the traitor in the ranks could be. From here on out Corteo is essentially betrayed outright by everyone: Avilio tells him to get out of his life, the Vanettis are a ticking time bomb waiting to blow only until they learn the truth, and eventually Fango calls Corteo to his mansion to basically tell him “I have the formula for your alcohol and I don’t need you.” Fango then moves to call the Vanettis and tell them about Corteo, but what happens after that needs to be understood before it’s explained.
The entire episode we learn crucial factors. We see Avilio as the villain from Corteo’s perspective, and truthfully seeing him capable of killing a family much like his was killed he basically is the villain, and eventually everyone is a villain in Corteo’s perspective. His friends encourage him to betray the Vanettis and then can’t protect him from Fango. He douses himself in alcohol and realizes that no one in this game cares about him or anyone so long as it suits them. The scariest thing is that even in the end of it all, Corteo never uses his trump card. Corteo becomes far less moral and less good in the end, but he never thinks to reveal Avilio’s secret which might have warranted him a position to have the Vanettis forgive him. In the end when Fango discards him he could turn and tell Fango about this but instead he does something I never expected.
He kills Fango. Corteo snaps and essentially now holds the power to have the Orco family’s remains completely engulfed by the Vanettis. Even if his betrayal were revealed he has done the equivalent of a full redemption. The entire town now belongs to the Vanettis and it wouldn’t be the case if Corteo hadn’t done everything he did. The character I thought most likely to die instead just killed one of the characters I thought was most likely to live to the end. The reason he did it was actually exemplified in an earlier part of the episode. When the inspector almost lost his family he gave up: realizing he still had something to lose. But when Corteo lost everything and was pushed even farther than the inspector he had only the choice to die or to live. Corteo was backed into a corner and despite the impression he gives off he chose to live.
Corteo might be my favorite character now because what he did was so thematically fitting for this show. He remained moral and knew something about trust even after betrayal, but his greatest loss: the loss of his invention and self worth pushed him too far. Even though he has now joined the ranks of everyone in the show who has committed murder for self interest, he is the only one who I actually feel empathetic towards for his reasons and why he committed this murder. He isn’t trying to get some over zealous revenge, or keep power, or even just for fun like Fango. Corteo wanted to survive and was belittled until everything he loved was taken from him. Because of this, I have to say this show has beyond won my praise. I can’t wait for next week and I’m freaking terrified.