Durarara was close to revving things up to “exciting territory” this week. Close. It doesn’t quite go there because whilst several character groups do collide this week, nothing really exciting happens when you think about it.
I’m not saying that plotlines interfering with each other can’t be exciting. But if nothing comes from it, then it just becomes gimmicky, and I don’t think I need to spell out my feelings for gimmicky shows. As far as I’m concerned, the important plot points that happened this week are: the Toromaru gang know (or think, depending on your point of view) that Mikado is the leader of the Dollars, Shizuo is on the run from the Awakusu gang, and the separate gangs interfere with each other in a way that causes Mikado, Anri, and Akane to be stuck on Celty’s chariot. Oh, and Masaomi does f*ck all. It’s kind of exciting to see happen on a surface level – although the scenes involving the Russians are still pointlessly long because they have yet to add anything worthwhile to the narrative – but the only thing that was accomplished at the end of the day was more setup and more running. Nothing new about the characters or story has actually occurred.
Sure, Shizuo running away from the Awakusu gang rather than fight them is a nice indicator of how he’s grown from his violent ways, but that’s all it is at the end of the day. I’m sure it’ll pay off later, but here’s the thing: I praised last week’s episode because there was one major plot thread moving forward in an interesting way and I could see how the others would associate with it down the road. Here, I can see the associations even more, but there is no major plot thread moving forward. No, Shiki knowing where Akane is and Celty finally acquiring her target doesn’t count. Nor does Vorona realizing all her targets are gathered in one place by some strange coincidence. We didn’t even get much in terms of action this week.
All in all, this episode wasn’t bad, but it felt more like a prelude of things to come with its overall quality depending heavily on next week’s progression. Unfortunately, according to the episode preview, we don’t seem to be getting said progression. Instead of following up on this week’s cliffhanger, it seems like we’ll be halting the plot in order to see how Akane got into this whole mess in the first place, and unless it adds to the story (which I doubt), I don’t see how knowing that information will benefit me in any way. Maybe if it’s told in like three to five minutes, but we all know that won’t happen. It is Durarara, after all.