Well, this week’s episode of Steins Gate can only be described as exemplary. We had action, we had emotion, and there was even a bit of time travel! Read on to see our opinion of Steins Gate 0 episode 20.
Back… To the Future
Episode 20 opens with Okabe waking up in the future, but this time, something’s different. He’s old! Yup, you guessed it: he’s in the world line where all of his friends are part of the resistance. It was really interesting to see how the supporting cast rallied around Daru, but it kind of makes sense: after all, next to Okabe, he’s the one with the most knowledge of time travel.
While some of the character roles were slightly predictable (Suzuha as a bad-ass scavenger, Maho as a scientist), there were a couple of huge exceptions. For instance, who saw Faris as a gun-toting commander? Or Ruka in any kind of combat role? Oh, and on that note…
We Need a Ruka Spin-off
Listen, we get it: Ruka is nobody’s favourite character. However, this week, we saw his entire arc concluded in a way that rarely happens for a minor recurring character. Who could have guessed he’d use Okabe’s (entirely made up) swordsmanship techniques to take out several heavily armed ambushers? This poses a peculiar question: has he been carrying a sword this whole time?
It’s something that’s unlikely to be expanded on, but if so, it shows the level of trust Ruka had in Okabe. Despite his misgivings about fitting in as part of the team, he was willing to put his life in the hands of a mentor, regardless of how little real combat experience he had. That shows real heart, and it seems like there’s a lot of ground left to cover in Ruka’s story.
So What Now?
We already know that Okabe’s mindset is going to change. After all, we’ve seen the D-Mails from the future where he’s cool, calm, and calculating. After a fairly uninspiring performance throughout, he finally starts to change at the climax, when he declares he’s going back in time once more.
So what does this mean? Well, best case scenario, he finds a world line where everyone survives and the war never happens. Bad news: the time machine probably can’t exist in that world. Good news: it has to happen soon because there’s only three episodes left. Bad news again: we don’t know for sure that there won’t be a third season.
Honestly, as good as this episode was, it doesn’t make up for a season that’s been mostly filler. The writers had years to craft a plot that keeps the viewer excited for the next episode, and sadly, that hasn’t been the case. As it stands, we’re keeping our fingers crossed, but Steins Gate 0 is unlikely to go down in history as an unforgettable classic.