The latest episode of 86 gave the audience more heart-wrenching moments and information on Shin’s past. At this point, the series is doing a phenomenal job of making its viewers feel like Lena. How many more deaths do we have to endure? When will the 86 just have a good day when nothing goes wrong?
Well, that wasn’t for today’s episode. While the viewers received a taste of that peacefulness, the next 20 minutes felt like another true and gritty 86 episode.
A trend with the series’ opening theme is that it shows the backs of all of those in the 86 who have been killed in the line of duty. So right off the bat, the audience realizes that we’re going to be witnessing the death of two people soon.
We see Shin in an abandoned church by himself four years in the past. He walks out to a Juggernaut that ends up being his brothers. He looks inside and it’s a body without a head on it. With what we learned last episode, this all but confirms that Shins’ brother, Rei, is a Shepherd in the Legion.
Fast forward four years. We see the Spearhead Squadron in the present-day on their way to another battle. The episode then cuts back a few months before Lena becomes the Spearhead Squadron’s handler.
It a scenic part of the show with cherry blossoms everywhere and a mood we aren’t used to with 86-Eighty Six.
Anju and Daiya are dancing. People are laughing. The wind is blowing ever so softly under a clear, night sky. Even Shin cracks a smile after talking to Kaei. She even explains that, despite cherry blossoms having a short life span, and that they all grow and die at the same time, like those in the 86, she thinks they’re “bold”. The cherry blossom ended up being her juggernaut’s insignia.
The entire squadron gathers around the pig drawing of Lena we’ve seen in past episodes. They begin to call her every name under the book, not knowing that she wouldn’t be like previous handlers. While some of what they said was true, they judge her just as the republic judges the 86.
The scene ended with a shooting start flying over all of them. However, it almost has a dark undertone. We see everyone fading away into the night running towards the shooting star while Shin remains at the site all alone.
The battle in present-day ensued and it was anything but a victory.
The squadron realizes that the Legion has grown to learn their ambushing tactics. So the Legion begins to flush them out of their hiding spots. As the battle gets intense, Daiya and Rin are both cornered. While the spearhead squadron tried to help, they were too late.
Rin faced a Legion in her final moments and made sure to take her brain with her. She holds a pistol to the bottom of her chin and pulls the trigger before the legion takes a swing at her.
Rin goes out like a true bad-ass.
Daiya tries to run and save her before they get to her but he, himself, gets cut off by more Legion. They deploy self-destructing robots that latch onto his juggernaut before exploding. The last word he mutters is, “….Anju”. The camera immediately shows Anju’s shocked reaction.
Daiya was still alive after the explosion but just barely hanging on. After the battle, Shin walks over to Daiya and makes sure to shoot him before Legion can get to his brain. He asks Lena if he wants to cut the feed so she doesn’t have to go through that again… She refuses and lets the feed stay running.
Immediately after Shin shoots Daiya, the camera quickly zooms in towards his back. It is almost as if someone was running up to him. He turns around with a shocking look on his face after hearing a voice. The voice is Rei’s.
The morale at the base after the battle is low. Anju is clearly the one who is hit the hardest after Daiya’s death. She tries putting on a tough face but at one point almost breaks down in front of Theo and Haruto. Meanwhile, Shin and Raiden begin to talk. Shin tells Raiden that his brother still hasn’t forgiven him for what he did.
The viewers finally get to see a longer version of the flashback we saw in the last episode with Rei choking Shin to near death. We learn that Shin is somehow the cause of his parent’s death and soon to be Rei’s. So, we’ll soon learn what Shin did to cause Rei to react the way he did.
In his own memory, it’s the first time we ever see Shin have a scared look on his face.
Lena reports to her uncle, Jerome, about the battle. She informs him that Daiya and Rin died. Jerome asks, “How many machines do we have left?” Lena replies in an angry tone, “Sixteen people.”
Lena proposes a plan to use the mortars the republic has. This is to ensure that 86 lives can be saved and it can defend the nation more efficiently, which pisses off Jerome.
Jerome reiterates that republic soldier lives would be lost and that they can’t be replaced, but the 86 can. Lena is on the brink of losing her cool as we see her grasping the two pictures she drew of Daiya and Rin.
Jerome denies her plan and proceeds to give a completely new mission.
The new mission is to take out a Legion base that’s currently being built. While Lena believes it to be a suicide mission, Shin also agrees with Jerome that this base needs to be taken out. If not, it would lead to a lot worse.
But Lena is worried because it doesn’t give them enough time to gather new members in the squadron.
The episode ends with Lena and Shin having yet another heart-to-heart conversation.
Shin tells Lena to eat some sweets and relax because she’s been on edge since the battle ended. It immediately reminded her of how Rei comforted her with some chocolate in the last episode.
She starts to unwrap a piece of chocolate and we suddenly hear her heartbeat picking up. Lena begins to blush and ends the call with Shin on a happier note.
After the phone call, Lena puts on a more serious face and prepares herself mentally for the upcoming mission.
All images via Crunchyroll