The final episode of Dishonor sees the detective story come to a rather dissatisfying end for almost everyone concerned. Kircheis talks to Johanna who happens to have been a key player all along. However, she forces Hoffman and Kircheis to go straight to Basel to try to incriminate him. They nearly have him before Johanna enters the story again at the climax. However, Keyserling returns to save himself at enormous emotional cost.
This final episode of the first Gaiden series (from my perspective anyway) comes to a rather dissatisfying end. I can’t think of any character in this arc who comes out of this with any shred of dignity.
Let’s start with Johanna, the wife of the villain Christopher von Basel. Kircheis gets information from her that she had been the one leaking all of the details that Basel was behind the drug ring. However, she won’t turn him in because it would make him unhappy if she did it. So she wants him to get caught because she loves him, but doesn’t want him to be caught because she loves him. That might make sense if she were younger, but she has the emotional stability of a 16-year-old here.
Moving on, Hoffman and Kircheis have to go another route if they are to catch Basel. Their plan B is to get him to incriminate himself. It works far too easily as he doesn’t even try to deny Kircheis’s accusation that the captured hitman fingered him as the suspect. He has plausible deniability after all, why go straight for trying to bribe Kircheis into keeping his mouth shut. They probably just had him admit it so they could fit the plot into the episode.
After a few minutes of angrily arguing the logistics of how he would be prosecuted, Hoffman lets himself down by letting Basel call Johanna on the phone. He tells her to destroy the evidence against him. So they go from one plot device to shorten the episode, then another to lengthen it.
So back over to Johanna’s room where Kircheis finds her holding papers over a fire. She managed to have her husband incriminate himself so she wouldn’t be the one to put him away. Yet since she completely lacks the will to act on her own and do nothing, she says she must destroy the documents because he ordered. The only way she wouldn’t do it is if Kircheis shoots her. Kircheis then goes through moral dilemmas in his head only to decide he can’t do it.
But wait! Keyserling appears out of the blue and does it for him. There’s a bit of conflict in his actions here. He shot the woman he loves just to save his honor that he lost in battle, which appears pathetic. At the same time, he shot the woman who could be seen as being the cause of his life not going to plan. That latter one is pretty weak justification in my eyes, since it was really Keyserling’s own inability to move on from rejection.
In the end, Basel gets caught, Johanna’s dead and Keyserling has dignity again in the eyes of the Empire. These people were friends for 40 years? Anyway, Kircheis has an incident to store in his personal archives . As he sees Reinhard again, he comes to the realization that he can’t do things the way Reinhard does. I suppose that’s a legitimate point to make in the end.
Thoughts: This was the penultimate post in the Blogging Legend of the Galactic Heroes series of posts here and the final one that isn’t a movie. It’s unfortunate that the Gaiden stories ended on such a sour note, though I don’t think there was that much to really write home about for quality. So next week brings Overture to a New War and marks the return to where this blogging series began. I suppose I was due another shot at it 350 posts or so after writing those first few.