So in the end, Sugata eventually did make his move for power as the show had been hinting at for some time. Still, before leaving, he made quite the grand exit with Wako before switching sides and joining the Glittering Crux. I thought this episode tried really hard to emphasize, via Takuto’s conversation with the RA and her trio, that Sugata wasn’t only leaving Wako, but the trio as a whole. That makes Sugata’s actions in Zero Time a little difficult to understand, as it seems he had already made up his mind to join the Crux early on in the episode.
Now I’ve taken two psychology classes in college, so I am obviously an expert in group psychology, but one of the things I remember from my textbooks is that people have different stages of involvement in groups. It starts from joining the group, to working towards the group goals, to taking from the group in the form of status/position/rewards, to then eventually leaving the group when you have nothing more to gain from them. This episode seemed to focus on that last part. Sugata clearly had saw the writing on the wall in terms of Wako and him, so he either took one last shot at her hoping he could change her mind, or just wanted to see what his life could have been like after investing so much of his time with her. It appears, however, that it doesn’t really matter why he left Wako to Takuto as his “backup”, Keito, is awesomer in every sense of the word, and more importantly really seems to appreciate Sugata’s actions on their own merits, rather than lump them in with Takuto’s, as Wako remarked after the battle.
Still, it seems as though Sugata must have come to this conclusion before the battle in Zero Time, so why was he so adamant about helping Takuto beat the 3 Vanishing Age members. I suppose you could use the bros before hoes line of reasoning, but there seems to be a little more at stake here than in a normal friendship. Perhaps, Sugata has fallen into the same trap that other members of the Crux have in that he needs to be the one who defeats Takuto, but it seems to me like he already has everything that he “needs” and he seems to be completely aware of what is happening to him, unlike Columnar in the play.
But aside from the main trio, this episode made a point of showing us Benio’s trio at the school, and most notably George and Tetsuya questioning as to why they were still even in the Crux at this point, given the fact they are no longer drivers. The two commented that they both had other possible love connections waiting for them, but that they were going to stay by Benio’s side within Fliament as that is the way it had always been. That kind of suggests that if there were no Filament, or Crux, that George and Tetsuya might have moved on and be doing something different with their time. They also mentioned that while they were singing out their youth the others might reach departure.
It’s rather difficult to either agree or disagree with that statement as it seems like the higher levels of the Crux are not necessarily departing from their youth, but are sticking to it as it seems to be the case with Head. This danger of being stuck in this developmental stage seems to have been mentioned earlier in the series as becoming trapped in Zero Time after breaking the third seal is a real possibility. Likewise, it appears that some of the lower levels of the Crux have begun to realize they are on the wrong side of maturity(its difficult to say what the wrong side is as growing up is important, but so is the ability to appreciate simpler things is too) and are looking for a way out, as Kou and Madoka did. It’s difficult then to determine where Sugata is on this spectrum, because as I mentioned it seems like he is aware of the changes in people, but he is also retreating into the cocoon from reality that is the Glittering Crux. Why some of the lower rungs of the Crux continue to hang around despite not having real marks, or being drivers is beyond me, but it would be interesting to see how their lives change if and when Takuto defeats the Crux and it is disbanded.
That aside, it is still difficult to determine who the ultimate foe for Takuto will be. It seems like Head is Takuto’s opponent in the next episode, which would then leave Sugata for the conclusion, but I keep thinking that things aren’t going to be that simple for Takuto. Looking back on fish girl’s story, it seems as though Sugata might be the one to recognize that he doesn’t need power, and that Takuto and Head are Sam and the Squid Emperor, respectively. The build up for this conclusion has been a long time coming, but I am looking forward to these two final episodes as even though the show up until this point has been fairly predictable, there has been enough evidence for many different arguments as to how it will end.