It’s now time for the Rostelecom Cup back in Russia, meaning we finally get to have some focus on Yurio again, who the plot has been neglecting until now. We finally get to see his treasured grandfather, too. Yurio does run into Yuri in the hotel, but he’s not exactly pleased to see him. He’s had a growing anger at him, combining with what is undoubtedly jealousy surrounding Viktor’s treatment of him.
With a new cup comes a new batch of contestants, and this time its the blunt and stand-offish Seung Gil from Korea, the chivalrous Italian with a massive sister complex Michele Crispino (the sister in question is also a famous skater and is with him for support), the somewhat aloof Czechoslovakian Emil Nikola, and the ridiculous egotist Jean-Jacques Leroy (AKA JJ) from Canada.
Perhaps because kisses from Viktor grant you immeasurable strength, Yuri is able to pull off a completely flawless performance of the Eros routine, which has been considerably souped up since the Hasetsu battle against Yurio. Unfortunately for Yurio, while Yuri gets the luxury of the inspiration for his Eros cheering him on, his grandfather didn’t come to see him, despite being the inspiration for his Agape performance. Upset about this, and angry at the increasingly over-the-top loveydovey displays coming from Viktor and Yuri, his routine doesn’t go well for him.
Whatever upcoming meltdown he might have is neither Viktor nor Yuri’s top priority though, as tragedy strikes back in Hasetsu. Viktor’s beloved dog Makkachin has choked on some steamed buns and been rushed to the vet, and things apparently aren’t looking good. Knowing how important Makkachin is to Viktor (and remembering the pain of losing his own dog years previously), Yuri begs Viktor to return to Hasetsu immediately…and Viktor begs Yakov to coach Yuri in his place.
Of the many things I like about this show, yet another one is the fat that it can introduce so goddamn many characters and have them all be memorable in some way. Not only in terms of personality, but in distinct skating style and theme. There’s still a few more characters left to introduce so I’m seriously wondering what there is to come. I’ve been most interested in the glum-looking Otabek who appeared in the first episode and is on the series key art, and something tells me he might end up being formidable. To be honest I was pretty lukewarm on the Italian siblings – Sala seems a hell of a lot more interesting than Michele though, but Michele’s the one who’s performing. Its mentioned that Michele is apparently incapable of performing properly without Sala watching (because he’s kind of creepily obsessed with his sister), so I’m sure this will come up again.
I kinda feel bad for Yurio, because while this feels like it should have been his episode he got the show stolen from him three whole times. Firstly from Yuri’s amazing new and improved version of his Eros routine, and then by JJ. To be honest, JJ is so much completely stupid ridiculous fun (he kisses the goddamn ice when he’s done what the hell) that he probably would have stolen the entire episode if it weren’t for the next bombshell, the tragedy of poor Makkachin.
So last episode I called it that something bad was going to happen, but god dammit I didn’t expect it would be the dog. Mappa, please don’t kill the dog. I never thought this would be the kind of series where I would have to hope that the dog doesn’t die but please don’t kill the dog. While killing the dog would certainly have interesting narrative consequences – it would either show us Viktor genuinely upset for the first time and allow Yuri to get closer to him out of comfort, or it could send him into depression or even cause some kind of fight. Either of those would shake things up a bit for sure but PLEASE DON’T KILL THE DOG MAPPA. PLEASE DON’T.
Whether or not Mappa does go ahead and kill the dog or not, Viktor still has to leave, which is interesting on its own. It also potentially lets Yuri know more about him from the point of view of Yakov. I honestly have no idea where this may lead.
I’ll admit, I am just a little disappointed that the kiss from the previous episode wasn’t brought up – but unlike others, I don’t think that means that the show is pretending it didn’t happen because there is a definite change in the way Viktor and Yuri are acting together, and they’re certainly a lot closer. There’s some really nice scenes where they communicate non-verbally, and to be honest them getting so happy about Yurio’s passion (even if it was coming from the wrong place) was really cute.
And speaking of Yurio, it’s a shame that even after all that buildup from his new training he still kind of fell flat. I don’t know why his grandpa didn’t come to see him, but if something has happened to him it means that both he and Yuri will likely be facing the reality of performing those routines without their ‘inspiration’. I look forward to seeing what comes of that.
I also hope Mappa doesn’t kill the dog.