In last week’s episode of 86-Eighty Six, Lena learned the names of everyone in the Spearhead Squadron. A major feat for her own pride and resolve.
However, this week took a much more sinister turn and becomes the turning point that sets up possible future events in the series. Let’s take a look at what has happened.
The previous episode ends with Lena asking if Shin knew who “Shourei Nouzen” was, to which Shin replied that he’s his brother. This episode starts off with Lena at the scene of the helicopter crash where her father died (April 13, 2142). She ends up being rescued by Shin’s brother, Rei. So now it’s established how and why Lena knows Rei. Before this scene cuts to the next one, Rei says to Lena, “But if I don’t fight, I can’t survive. So I won’t die. I can’t. I have to go back to my brother.”
The camera cuts to a light shining on Lena as she’s holding the piece of chocolate Rei broke off for her.
The next scene fast forwards to the time of last week’s episode (June 16, 2148) when Lena is talking to Shin in the graveyard. He tells Lena that Rei has been dead for five years. This means that Rei died a year after saving Lena. Shin ends the scene by saying that his object is to find “him” to which Lena asks, “Your brother’s body?” He replies, “No.”
Shin, Rei, The Legion, and the District 1 Connection
At the beginning of the episode, Shin and Lena are having a casual conversation about the upcoming Revolution Party. Lena decides to pop the question of where Shin is from. Shin doesn’t say with utmost certainty but assures that he’s from the first district. However, near the end of the episode, Shin explains something sinister to Lena.
The reason Lena hears the screams is that a division of The Legion called the “Black Sheep” basically replicates the brains of the dead 86 soldiers to replace their broken processors.
If that wasn’t gruesome enough, Shin explains that some of these soldiers’ brains have not yet decayed. And that those who have obtained them are out there commanding The Legion – aka “Shepherds”.
He grabs his chest and reassures that the “Shepherd” he explains to Lena about is in District 1, where he assures he’s from. So it could be safe to assume that putting these pieces together that Rei is this “Shepherd” that he’s after.
Rewind to the end of episode one when Shin shoots Kujo in the head on the battlefield. At first, the audience thinks it’s to give him a quick and easy death. But now we know that Shin didn’t want Kujo’s brain to be used by The Legion. This series gets darker by the episode.
Lena’s Future as Handler for the Spearhead Squadron
During this episode, Lena begins to hear all the voices that Shin is also hearing. One of these voices is Kaie’s, who died in episode three. As she constantly hears Kaie saying “I don’t want to die” over and over, Lena has a mental breakdown as the handler. This same mental breakdown is what caused the Spearhead Squadron’s previous handler to commit suicide.
She learns about these voices thanks to Shin and now knows about the Black Sheep and the Shepherd. Now that all this has happened to Lena, just as the previous handler, it has now set the course for how she handles the squadron, and herself, going forward.
But it looks as if the Spearhead Squadron, specifically Shin, is starting to taking a liking to Lena. For example, during their conversation at the beginning of the episode, Shin and Lena are having a normal conversation about the upcoming Revolution Party in the Republic. Lena isn’t fond of going, but Shin tells her it’s okay to relax.
This is their first normal conversation signaling growth and trust in one another.
The next scenario is that after the battle and Lena’s breakdown, the Spearhead Squadron is back at their base. Raiden reminds Shin that no handler has ever called back after hearing those voices. Immediately after he says that Lena calls Shin and the entire squadron turns to Shin with a sort of shocked, but relieved, look on their faces.
The Fate of the Republic
The stigma around the current war is that the Republic will win it after two years. Part of this reason is that The Legion’s current processor’s giving out after two years. However, Shin lays a dark truth on Lena. “You’re going to lose this war.”
Lena is aware that The Legions forces are “down to about half the numbers they were a year ago.” But Shin makes her aware that there are much more the Republic, including Lena, doesn’t know about.
How much more of these “Black Sheep” and “Shepherds” are there? We know The Legion practically have two years left, but how long can the “Black Sheep” and “Shepherds” run for?
With tales of victory being within reach constantly blasting through the Republic’s PA’s system, there’s a true danger lurking around the corner that could turn the fate of the war. And now the series is starting to turn over to that danger.
The audience sees Shin taking off his scarf revealing a scar around his neck. In an instant, the screen shows a flashback of him being choked. Was it his brother who was choking him? What actually happened?
Now that we’ve seen this flashback twice in back-to-back episodes, it’s for certain that there’s a connection between Shin and Rei that we’re just scratching the surface with.
Stay tuned because this season is just getting started…
All images via Crunchyroll