The 25th episode of Pirates is a setup episode to next week’s clash between the ships with Letters of Marque and the Grand Cross. This week, Quartz Christie appeared in the pirate’s nest once again only to reveal that she was also a pirate, albeit one representing the Empire. While all of the pirates assembled calm down and eventually let her go off unharmed because of Marika’s desire to have a fair fight, one group to try to finish her off anyway, but are stopped by Ironbeard’s crew containing Ririka and Kain’s twin brother. The party continues until planning for the battle begins.
There were a large number of misgivings I had as I watched this episode. Right away it began with the comical resolution to where Luca was. Alright, fair enough that they are running out of time to get plot strands tied up, but it wasted episodes with the yacht club doing cosplay piracy and then racing.
Then there was Ironbeard’s arrival into the pirate’s nest. He pretty much contributed a line that I will get to later and then let Ririka and Kane’s brother do all the work. Even though he was supposed to bring Quartz Christie back, he just decides to leave without her. It may be an official order that he has from the Queen, but he’s just going to half-ass it and let some other pirates get killed before trying again.
In addition, there was also the point where I lost the reason for this final battle between Marika and Quartz Christie. Before this episode the latter came off as an incompetent villain doing the typical underestimating of her foes. After the scene in the dining hall, she was now a pirate from the Empire who just disliked pirates from the frontier, so she wanted to kill all of them. All I can tell is that she was humiliated by having Ironbeard do the job he was told to do and because Marika stood out from the rest of the pirates.
On that last part, I did like the rather absurd visual sequence with Marika and Quartz Christie. The lights instantly went dark and spotlights shone on the two of them. Quartz Christie took a few steps out of her spotlight intentionally, only to have another one shone on her. I think it’s just commentary on the theatrical performances they have had to put on for their roles. Maybe Quartz Christie rejects that, while being sucked into it unwillingly at the same time.
Also, on a much more simple note, the son of the legendary chef was being helped by 20-foot-tall giants. I think at some point this would have seemed incredible to anyone there, but not a word about it. Plus, there was also this week’s bit of “comedy” in that Marika and Chiaki evidently had some time to go out and rent out a sound studio to record a terribad pirate fighting anthem. Why couldn’t they cram that in to one of the filler episodes, rather than just making it feel like one of those random clips from Family Guy? It would probably be introduced by a line like “Remember that time when we went to karaoke after you ate so many chocolate parfaits you couldn’t remember where we were?” or something like that, but I digress.
As for the part of Ironbeard’s appearance that I did find interesting, it came when he said that the the pirates would have to make a choice. They could either become true pirates, or they could just continue to go to job after job renewing their Letters of Marque every couple of months.When Marika was with the yacht club on the pirate jobs they did, it was clear she was in the first category while Chiaki was in the second. However, I think the larger point he was trying to make is that pirates who served the government weren’t really pirates at all. They are really just privateers acting as pirates. They don’t necessarily need to form their own government to have freedom, they just have to choose not to serve one.
As for next week’s final episode, I think it’s clearly heading to a conclusion where Ririka can watch her daughter proudly become the pirate to lead all pirates. It’s going to be one of those episodes where Marika will win while Quartz Christie will learn her lesson while heading back home knowing that the frontier pirates are every bit as good as those in the Empire. The real question I have for next week is about Ironbeard. Will he actually be unmasked at all, or did his “food poisoning” leave embarrassing scars on his face?