DARLING in the FRANXX Episode 12
Squad 13 (along with the Nines) returns to the Garden to undergo examinations, but both Hiro and Goro are particularly suspicious of what the adults are doing, especially since they undergone extremely simple tests, where as Zero Two seems to be undergoing that is far more serious, and one she absolutely does not want to participate in. With so many secrets just barely scratching the surface, I wonder how Squad 13 is going to respond once everything boils over. Zorome discovered something, but forgot about it (unless something triggers his memory), Kokoro is suspicious and wary about their origins, the squad as whole are increasingly growing more conscious and aware of not only the what at stakes, but how much APE is ramping up the production of Parasites. They witness young children receiving more concentrated Parasite Injections, and learn the system is being retooled to produce more capable and obedient parasites. This was clearly something they were not supposed to have witnessed, since they were banned from entering the Garden in the first place. And lastly one that is in the back of everyone’s minds: What happened to Naomi?
Zero Two completely lost herself today, her obsession of becoming Human is driving her into madness., but honestly, none of this comes across as a surprise to me. In fact I had my suspicions about how Hiro and Zero Two are connected for a while now.
For the last two episodes, Hiro has been tirelessly trying to get Zero Two to open up to him, and talk about whatever was bothering her. So this week Hiro confesses his love to Zero Two, but it was anything but romantic— to be exact it was terribly anticlimax, but I think it was meant to be that way. Hiro said it out of desperation in hopes for her to finally open up to him, and instead she lashes out, interprets his words as the intimate act itself, and outright calls him a Fodder. Zero Two’s instability has everything to do with being unable to cope with the fact she’s a monster, through and through. She keeps hurting herself, breaking mirrors because she can’t stand seeing herself, and has become even more obsessed with attaining Humanity. Oddly, she mentions how she is ‘running out of time’, and believes if she kills enough Klaxosaurs, she will become Human— but I can’t help but feel APE lied to her, intending to make full use of her by giving her drive to a promise that cannot be kept.
And finally, she has finally reached her breaking point. She decides to speed of the process, and emerges as the demon looking to drain all of Hiro life and become human. By doing so, Hiro is about to witness a good portions of her memories, providing clarity to his own fuzzy memories that he shares, revealing Zero Two’s Darling was perhaps right under her nose the entire time. The most prominent memory is the one was first time they met: Outside of the Garden, under the Holy Tree. I am curious to find out whether or not they made a pact there (potentially with a kiss), which may have played a crucial role enabling him to become her chosen partner.
Through Nine’s No-Name Blondie 9’α (*apparently that’s his name), we were able to learn why she is called the Partner Killer: She places her partner under a curse that drains away their life. That very power is also what allows her to pilot the FRANXX, and what makes her the “key” to saving the world. But the curse also has an extra side-effect for those who survives for as long as Hiro does: He too will become a monster. And we have received confirmations that Hiro is already undergoing a Genetic Transformation.
Yet for some reason, that doesn’t strike me as something Hiro would be particularly concerned about. I don’t think he would particularly care because he knows deep down, he is still him, where as Zero Two simply cannot accept herself as a monster.
It is also important to note, when they were little, Hiro was designated as a special research subject, around the same time Mitsuru went in to receive the Elixir Injection. This sort of confirms my suspicions that whatever sort of tests Hiro was put under, he experienced negative side-effects of losing perhaps his most recent memories (perhaps the promise with Mitsuru, and his fateful meeting with Zero Two under the Holy Tree).
9’α is a particularly interesting character, who has formerly worked alongside with Zero Two, and identifies her as Iota. He is especially intrigued by Squad 13, and is curious about what sort of tests Dr. Franxx is running through them. His personality is definitely the type to try and get under people’s skin, or provoke them, so it is incredibly satisfying to see Ichigo, as the leader of Squad 13 be able to hold her ground against him.
9’α also made sure to teased them about safely escorting Zero Two to “you-know-where”, (most likely referring to the Grand Crevasse), but Squad 13 has yet to be indulged of any of the details. The Nines however, being APE’s Special Forces Unit, clearly have more intelligence in their pockets. He also makes the point of all the Plantations on the continent is heading to that place as well, which sounds to me the Grand Crevasse is likely not only the Klaxosaur’s core domain, but also the most optimal place to obtain the Magna Energy.
As we reach the mid-point of the series, it looks like we will finally be getting some major backstory in regards to the unique connection between Hiro and Zero Two— unless someone were to interrupt them from completing the process.