Steins;Gate 0 – Episode 18
What a stressful and sad episode to watch this week. Things have definitely arrived at a peak with the reveal we all suspected and had been waiting for, what is the involvement of Leskinen in all of this?
The first thing to get out of the way is last episode’s cliffhanger. Mayuri is lying on the ground motionless after seemingly being caught in crossfire and Kagari comes up and just reacts. What did they do to her mama? She skillfully starts attacking and killing the men around her, which shows just how deeply trained she’s been and how dangerous she is. Suzuha aids her eventually, getting in a few of her own. Turns out Mayuri is not dead, thankfully. That was quite a scare, but it was a well-planned and a needed one. Things had to be shaken up a bit.
While all this happens, Rintarou is slowly on his way to the roof again, but he’s considerably slowed down by his injure. He’s concerned and scared by all the gunfire being heard, of course. As he’s getting closer to find out what’s going on, Okarin is greeted by Leskinen, who is following close behind him. Here his involvement in the whole situation is revealed. Leskinen is the one who ordered the attack currently going on. His goal? To steal the time machine before it is destroyed.
Rintarou is shocked to find this out, obviously. Leskinen reasons are the typical scientist motivations, he just want to see things with his own eyes. I wasn’t particularly shocked myself to learn that Kagari had always been a mole, but I did feel very sad about it. The fact that an innocent child had been turned into a tool so easily for the sake of scientific discovery pains me.
We learn that Leskinen had help from someone else, too. He was sent Kagari and given instructions from himself in the future and due to the joined effort, he was able to realize his opportunity to be there today. He also talks about his real interest in creating Amadeus, which sets Maho in despair. He’s completely unemotional about this and even proud. It’s indeed despair-inducing. Soon enough more powerful enemies will arrive and join in the conflict for the time machine, so there is a sense of urgency here after Leskinen delivers his evil guy speech.
Kagari attacks him but he shoots her, treating her as disposable as he thinks she is. During this showdown, eventually Suzuha gets a hold of a gun and shoots him, too. Seeing Kagari pass afterwards made me cry. She was put through so much suffering and pain. She was able to protect the only good thing in her life, but it was still tragic that she couldn’t reach a happy ending.
Afterwards Suzuha and Mayuri still board the time machine and set Operation Arclight in motion, despite Rintarou’s protests. As the time machine sets off, it is attacked by the enemy, making it explode. It’s ambiguous if the machine made it to the past or not, but I’d rather believe it did.
Rintarou is very upset and he calls for Mayuri desperately. The voice acting in these scenes is particularly good. You can listen to the raw feeling in the character’s voice. As Rintarou runs back into the lab to try and get the phone microwave to work he receives a very heartfelt text from Mayuri where she finally confesses all of her feelings for him.
What a heartbreaking moment! Still, it’s so impactful precisely because of why Midnight mentioned last week which is that Mayuri is no longer a passive character, but she’s motivated and involved in the mission to set the world on the right timeline, the timeline where at least her Hikoboshi-sama will be happy and laughing like a mad scientist.