Babylon Episode 6: The great debate


Tsutsui's remains are investigated

Okay, this episode was a rough one. Surprisingly enough, we get to see the big debate over the suicide law, which was admittedly cool. However, the arguments used in that debate felt really flimsy to me, which made it hard to watch. I think this episode shines overall for its portrayal of Nomaru against Kaika, but both sides could have had way better showings in the debate itself.

Also, I'm aware that suicide tends to be a sensitive subject, so this is a preemptive warning. I'm going to be discussing the debate about legalizing suicide from this episode in great detail, so bear that in mind.

Zen calls his wife

To its credit, the episode has a strong start with Zen. His call with his wife is incredibly foreboding, and her insistence that suicide is bad feels like a bad sign for her. This is excellent foreshadowing. In addition to that, Zen's reformed plan is great. He realizes that he can't find legal recourse to do what he wants, so he chooses to take illegal action in the form of kidnapping. Given that he's supposed to represent justice in this series, this suggests a potential fall from grace.

The politicians are introduced

I get that this is television, which is a medium that can't go into nuance, but these politicians felt like they had paper-thin arguments designed to allow Kaika to smack them down. The economic argument had the most promise, since he cited a numerical loss in GDP, but he doesn't give great reasons. And to be fair, Kaika's response comparing suicide to marijuana seemed pretty bad.

The statistic about the Netherlands having a lower incidence than countries where marijuana is prohibited is one that I don't doubt. But since you're comparing different countries, you can't discount the possibility that relaxed laws just slowed the growth of usage, rather than outright reducing it.

Nomaru makes an emotional argument

The guy giving the argument that suicide is bad because it's against the rules was probably the most hilarious one. I actually agreed with Kaika's response to that one. The third guy didn't even have an argument, so I have no comment there. Nomaru actually has a decent point, even if it's a bit condescending.

Kaika talks about his goals

Honestly, I think Kaika has an interesting point when he says that an open conversation about death might promote better understanding. That's what drew me to this show in the beginning. However, I'm not a fan of how romanticizes the law. I'm fairly certain that it's been demonstrated that a large percentage of people who attempt suicide don't try again. I don't personally see how legalizing it makes those heated decisions any better.

Nomaru talks about the suicide law's effects

Honestly, the interaction between Nomaru and Kaika in this episode was interesting because it felt so suspicious to me. At one point, it was starting to sound like Nomaru was trying to say that the suicide law couldn't be debated theoretically, so it needed to be put into practice to see how effective it was. That might have been a solid reversal.

Kaika reveals the kid's identity

To finish things off, Kaika successfully manipulates Nomaru into promoting Kaika's own son as a candidate in the election. It's a nice development given the rest of the content in the episode, and I'm curious to see where it goes. I still find it hard to believe that Nomaru wouldn't have recognized the mother, but I've already mentioned that I somewhat suspect that he's working with Kaika. This show definitely has some crazy twists.



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