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3%: Frogs

"Deaths are part of the fight."

And deaths are part of this episode as well.

Marco has just been written back into the story, and he was already put front and center in this episode. The first ten minutes of "Frogs" were terrific. The tense interaction between Joana and Marco, the flashbacks to Marco's first few weeks in the Inland after the previous Process, his meeting with his mother, all great stuff. I actually pitied Marco, something I never thought would happen.

Marco went to hell and stayed there for a long while. What impressed were his will and determination to overcome his limitations and work through all the cards stacked against him. As expected, he blamed Joana for what happened to him, but he never let his hatred for her take over. He had his own agenda, like the best characters in this series do. For a moment there, I thought Joana was getting through to him, but I'm glad that wasn't the case: it's cool that one of the main candidates from season one is a villain, we already have four of them trying to take down the Process (well, kind of four, give or take a Michele).

For Marco, it has always been about living up to the Álvares' name. Failing the Process and losing his legs didn't take that away from him. Can you imagine how much hatred he had for Gerson after so much humiliation? How many times he rehearsed the moment he would finally have his vengeance? He waited for the right moment and opportunity to kill Gerson, take over his power and use his connections to... have another shot in the Process.

I had been wondering if we were going to meet an Álvares living in the Offshore and it turns out we already have. It's something of a soapy twist that Marcela is Marco's mother (then again, which mother/father reveal in fiction isn't?) and it worked well within the story. Marcela is cold and pragmatic, but even she can't let her child behind. Not completely, at least. So when he fails the Process and loses his legs, she pities him and gives him prosthetics that are only good enough. When he offers his help to protect the Process in exchange of another shot, she wavers. She retains her cold facade as much as she can, though. When she arrives, he wants to hug her, but all she offers is a handshake. When she is about to leave, again it's a handshake that she offers, but he goes for the hug anyway. That was a powerful moment. What an episode for Marco this was, I'm glad he is back.

Elsewhere, Joana is freed and runs into Silas, who is building yet another bomb. It turns out that he was the snitch that gave her location to the militia in exchange for more bomb ingredients. I never really cared about Silas, which meant that (1) I was completely behind Joana during their discussion and (2) his death didn't get to me at all. He meant well, but he chose the wrong path to fight against the oppressors. How curious that he saw himself as a selfless guy and Ezequiel as the selfish one and yet was adamant in following Ezequiel's plan. When he and Joana fell into the pit of poisonous frogs, my concern was solely that Joana left safe and sound, which she did. Now that Joana, Rafael and Fernando are all on the same page, I want to see how their plan to bring down the Process will take shape. They are running out of time. The season is about to end and Process 105 is right around the corner.

Bits and Pieces

- Joana is now carrying the guilt of a second death she feels responsible for. She shouldn't, not this one, at least.

- Michele and her brother spent the episode running away from Cássia and her guards, and are now hiding inside an underground base only her brother knew about.

- Michele's brother's memory has been erased, which is why he never stood up for himself against the murder charges.

- Gerson finally got some character development, which should have been a sign that he was about to bite the dust.

- There was no confrotation scene between Joana and Gerson. Disappointing.

- There was a flashback to Marcela visiting Júlia in the RTC.

- I noticed now that in the wikipedia page Marcela is listed as "Marcela Álvares." I'm glad I didn't catch that spoiler.

- I am enjoying how this season keeps putting the characters through tests, as if their lives were a never-ending Process. In this episode, Marco needed to answer Gerson's charade and Michele had to guess the password to enter the secret base.

- Sad, real life stuff. The building on the left of the shot below burned and collapsed. The building had been vacated years ago, but many homeless families lived in it, and there were casualties. The second picture is one I took when I went to São Paulo last May, three weeks after the building collapsed.


Marco: "I did what they told me to do."
Joana: "That's the problem, don't you see?"

Joana [to Silas]: "You really think you're fighting them? You and they are the same shit."

The second half of this season has been great. Three out of four drones.

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