I’m split about this episode. One one hand, I enjoyed it: the repeat of Christina’s death was pretty exciting, and Okabe returned to being Hououin Kyouma. But on the other hand, it just felt cheap. Okabe spent so much effort saving Mayuri, but now his future self just tells him what to do?
Christina’s Death: Take Two
I did like this scene (even if I have issues as to how we got here). Once it was revealed that the guy giving the talk was Christina’s father, everything clicked into place. Those kinds of *snap* moments are rare and hard to come by. From this, it became clear right away why Christina was attending the nutjob convention in the first place and who would kill her. Plus the events of the first episode made a lot more sense.
The creators did a nice job at including Okabe into what should have been a
touching father-daughter reunion. I liked especially how Christina’s father decided that Christina and Okabe were conspiring to ruin him. It’s a reasonable conclusion, even if it’s wrong.
No Free Lunch
Okabe just finished reliving Mayushii’s death over and over again. But now, he gets a time travelling girl and a message from himself in the future telling him exactly what to do. It just feels like a cheap ending tacked onto the end of the VN as an afterthought to make everybody happy.
In the uncountable set of multiverses, there is exactly one timeline which will break free of local attractors and make everyone happy. We know this because… of science! From the future! And it just so happens that we’re one step away from reaching this perfect universe right now! It shouldn’t take much math to convince anyone that the probability of this happening is zero.
Inconsistencies and Changing the Rules
I probably shouldn’t think about time travel in Steins; Gate too much, because it’ll just make my head hurt. The show seemed to have a well-defined set of rules governing time travel, but this episode felt like the creators punched in the cheat code so we can get the ending where everyone lives happily ever after. One thing that changed is minor: Suzuha’s time machine can go forward now. That can easily be explained from improvements in Okabe and Daru’s research.
But the change that bothered me the most is Okabe receiving a message from himself in the future. What? How? Every other time Okabe has sent a message to the past, he doesn’t remember receiving it. If his future self can send messages without Okabe himself experiencing sending them, why didn’t that happen in the Mayushii timeline as well? Why did Okabe have to live up to the point he sent the message every other time, but not this time? It seems inconsistent.
In the same vein, why did the Okabe in the universe where he killed Christina have to send the message in the first place? Couldn’t the Okabe that sent Suzuha have done the same thing? He already knew that Okabe would need to receive the message. If he knew that Okabe needed to receive the message, couldn’t he have just sent the message himself?
Another thing: Christina saw the Okabe from the future originally, in the first episode (go watch it again if you don’t believe me). Now, to prevent her death, he can’t change what the other Okabe experiences. But he already did. Christina met the future Okabe before. Hopefully the remaining episodes will clear things up, but it all feels like a giant pretzel of contradictions to me. Does anyone have some better ideas for how to resolve the seeming contradictions? (no VN spoilers please)
It annoys me when science fiction shows make the entire universe anthropocentric. In this episode, the multiverse will explode in a set of contradictions if Okabe happens to see himself in the past. Right. Future Okabe has already affected past Okabe, and the light cone has become a light donut regardless of whether Okabe’s mind recognizes that fact. The universe is non-causal (or dissipates in a puff of contradictions, if Steins; Gate is to be believed). On the other hand, perhaps the universe is anthropocentric, and the universe disintegrates not because of non-causality but because Okabe’s mind recognized a contradiction in the structure of the universe. Then Okabe’s mind (from the future) can recognize the contradiction regardless of whether he sees himself. Either way, the idea of the universe self-destructing after causality is broken is silly: causality has already been broken. Furthermore, if we assume that all possible universes exist (as is implied), an infinite number of self-contradictory universes exist. Goodbye multiverse.
A similar application of anthropocentrism occurs in Noein. Haruka is the
Steins Dragon’s Gate, and hers is the absolute reference frame (she’s the only one who matters when it comes to looking inside Schrodinger’s box). Some guy dies behind a door, and Haruka knows it. If Haruka opens the door and looks at him, he’ll die for real, and if she doesn’t he won’t. It depends on the mental act of seeing rather than the physical or mental act of observing.
This is just silly. Why are these stupid humans so full of themselves?
Hououin Kyouma Returns
Bwah ha ha ha!