This was a good episode to end the first season of Spy x Family with. It wasn’t focused on the family itself and did have a lack of Yor, but it was a very important episode. After all, Operation Strix is what brought this whole family together. It makes sense to take a major step forward in that operation and finally have Loid meet Donovan Desmond. That meeting is likely to be a major building block for the series as a whole and whatever interactions/confrontations are had between Twilight and Donovan in the future. And I do think this episode does a good job setting up Donovan as an intriguing antagonist.
I thought there was a nice tension in the air when Donovan first showed up. Even Loid couldn’t help looking a bit on edge and going into serious mode. This is someone that the entire series has revolved around him getting to meet. Getting into this man’s head could mean the difference between peace and all-out war. There’s a lot riding on Operation Strix and Loid knows it. So, in a sense he looked as serious as he ever has. But in that sense, he had to be the most careful that he’s ever been. Even the slightest slip-up could cost Loid everything he’s worked for.
And there are so many ways that interaction could have gone wrong. If Loid looked too eager, then he’d be seen as suspicious. That could lead to never meeting Donovan again, getting reported to the secret police, etc. But if he failed to catch Donovan’s interest at all then he’d be forgotten and might never get another chance to build a connection with him. Loid doesn’t just need access to Donovan, but to have a connection to the man that he can use to gain intelligence. If he offends the man, then he might also lose his chance. But Loid also couldn’t just mirror Donovan’s mindset and betray all his beliefs. Getting close to him while acting as naturally as possible will make keeping a balanced approach easier in the future.
In some ways it is nice how this spy mission helped improve things between Damian and his father. It was looking like things would get much worse than it already was between those two. The kid is starved for affection as we can see. His father is giving basically nothing at all. Without Loid’s intervention then Plan B really wouldn’t matter. No matter how close Anya gets to Damian it won’t help if the kid has given up on a relationship with his own father. And I like how Loid does bring his own experiences as a new father into all this. Anya is inexplicable to him, and he really does struggle to understand her. But he keeps trying and he gets a lot out of it. It highlights the strength of the Forger family. They don’t know everything about each other (besides Anya) but they all keep trying.
Donovan himself is a pretty good opponent for Twilight. The man’s mindset provides something for Loid to battle against as much as his politics. He doesn’t trust anyone. Even his family are practically considered strangers to him. His solution to that lack of trust (at least from Loid’s perspective) is to crush others underneath military might. But he’s a good opponent because as a spy…Loid is always lying to people. He doesn’t trust that many people because his life is on the line if he trusts the wrong person. Even his family doesn’t know he’s a spy and he hides a lot from them. But he also clearly cares about them. Even if they aren’t honest about everything, the Forger family has that going for them. Loid will keep walking beside them even if he doesn’t understand them.
One would think a part of Donovan accepts that mindset as well. Why else did he show up to meet with his youngest son? That whim may reflect a part of him that isn’t so cold. It is obviously just a small part of him though. His son asking for a stronger reaction to him being punched just led to Donovan showing the most outward anger of any part of their conversation. He cares less about his son being punched than his son complaining about him not getting upset about it.
It’s probably a good thing that Anya fell asleep, and Loid handled Donovan solo. The girl is helpful, but any mistake would be one too many. Anya did a good job setting up Loid with his opportunity. So, it is only proper that he took care of business after that. And honestly without Anya, this meeting never happens. Damian would have given up on meeting his father and that would be that. Instead, Loid got the best chance he could to build a connection to a man that is incredibly hard to interact with.
No wonder Anya slept most of the episode though. She probably really wore herself out trying to follow Damian around. It was a real tricky mission to keep Damian from backing out from meeting his father without making him too suspicious of her. Or at least she had to make sure no one suspected her of being able to read minds. One reason I think Damian is falling for that girl is because she does mix the truth into her attempts. She was being honest with her concerns about her family. Even with the ability to read minds, there are going to be times when she worries. But I do think her idea of having faith in her father and loving him helped keep Damian from going off the rails himself. Anya is a goofball, but she’s also one with a good heart.
This was a good last episode for season 1. It was more Spy than Family, but it was the kind of event the story has built up to. Anya set things up, Loid took care of things from there, and now there’s a connection between Loid Forger and Donovan Desmond. Where things go from there remains to be seen. I am glad we aren’t leaving this series without confirmation of a second season though. This episode was just one part of a larger story. And just meeting Donovan wasn’t remotely the endgame of Loid’s mission. So I’ll certainly look forward to seeing where things go from here.
Honestly, I’m happy to hear that this show has both a second season coming and a movie. And I’m especially happy that the movie appears to be an anime original story. Normally that kind of thing can be hit or miss, but it works here. Spy x Family as a franchise has so much room for side adventures. The big goal of Operation Strix is something that can’t be immediately raced after. And unlike some other franchises there isn’t power growth that needs to be worked around. Loid and Yor are about as capable now in their fields as they were in episode 1. And by that, I mean they are already pros that aren’t going to get significantly better at what they do. Anya is also a kid, and her biggest growth involves academics.
A movie adventure can happen at any point in the timeline and won’t have any “this couldn’t have happened in the canon story” moments. That is especially helpful since anime movies still have a tough time getting to the global audience quickly. Sometimes you’ll have a One Piece movie that hits global theaters in a few months. And sometimes you’ll have anime movies that require waiting for a global bluray release which can take a year or more. I’m not sure how prominent Spy x Family is internationally, but it might not hit theaters over here. So a movie that can be watched “whenever” is kind of nice.
The second season is just good news in general. Obviously, we knew Spy x Family would get another season. This is a popular manga adaptation and will keep getting adaptations for the immediate future. But having that confirmation alongside a movie just feels like a win for the viewers. The show has an end goal for Operation Strix and we can imagine where the final conflict of the show will come. The family will eventually be faced with the truth and/or the jobs they hold will simply come into conflict with that family. But the road to getting to that point is very open and can go in a variety of directions. So a second season could do just about anything. In that sense I’m excited to see just where the show goes.
An announcement of course doesn’t mean we’ll get that season in 2023. It might be an early 2024 project. But at least we know it is coming and don’t have to wait for a relatively foreseeable announcement. Instead, we can look back on the show we got and appreciate that.
This first season was a lot of fun. It hit the ground running and you could feel the passion behind it. The best part of the show is that the strength isn’t simply the action or the comedy. Family is what drives this show. Loid, Yor, and Anya all come from difficult backgrounds and have lacked elements of a family structure. Anya especially has spent most of her childhood experimented on. Yor has the closest thing to it since she grew up with her brother. But she grew up having to basically be the parent to her own brother and did so alone.
Now all of them have the chance through this “fake” family to experience that connection. Yor and Loid both get the experience of being married and raising a child. Anya gets to have parents. Seeing them start to appreciate this family for reasons beyond the missions that led them to it is enjoyable. Loid and Yor to some degree still try to keep an emotional distance and remind themselves why they are in this family. But they are attached to it and are growing more so over time.
The show certainly had some ups and downs. There were some episodes that felt a bit empty and I didn’t connect with. But I think the show tried to do a lot of things and some worked more than others. But what it did well was the very start and the formation of the Forger family. The final episodes of this first season also landed nicely. So, I have full confidence that season 2 and beyond will be fun to watch. It might be a bit of a wait for more Spy x Family, but I look forward to talking about it whenever we get that second season and movie.
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