Pandora Hearts Ch 74

Though chapter 75 is already out, I’m not going to skip a post for the spectacular marvel that was chapter 74! Wow, talk about a dramatic series of events. o_o I think the last time we had such an insane number of plot twists all at once was chapter 65. I didn’t think a chapter that utterly destroyed all preconceived notions of what happened 100 years ago could be trumped easily, but here we are with chapter 74, which does precisely that.

[NOTE: SPOILERS FOLLOW AFTER THE JUMP]

Interestingly, I believe this chapter gave more answers than questions, which seems to be a sign of the series starting to wind down toward an epic conclusion. First of all, it seems that the Intention of the Abyss asked Oz to lead Jack down to her? Oz!RabbitPlushie 1 sacrificed himself to pass on Lacie’s message to Jack, and then Oz!RabbitPlushie 2 (now a chain creature) accepted Jack as a contractor–presumably with the intention of helping Jack come to Alyss?

One question I’ve been wondering about a long time has finally been answered. I could never grasp why Glen wanted the Baskervilles to kill everyone in Sablier, which seemed especially odd when considering how the whole city blew up and entered the Abyss shortly thereafter anyways. Interestingly it turns out these are two separate events, the latter of which was orchestrated by Jack, rather than Glen. Obviously the Baskervilles would be painted as the villains in this situation, since there was no way for people to know all the details of Jack’s machinations… It’s an amazingly bizarre and terrifying setup for tons of conflict. Jack has certainly been cast in a dark light in all this, and while Glen’s actions have become much more understandable, I find it fascinating how Jack still has a significant degree of sympathy, and Glen still comes off as a bit diabolical for some reason. (The whole ordering Glen to kill Oz may have something to do with it!) Love the complex level of characterization in this series.

While I understand Jack!Oz’s desire to kill Glen!Leo, I’m not so certain why he wants to kill Alice as well. Assuming she is Alice. I’m not sure how Alice is around in the first place, if she’s not actually B-Rabbit and if Alice killed herself one hundred years ago. And what Jack did exactly when he used Oz!B-Rabbit’s power to make another Tragedy of Sablier-type explosion… I’m not sure if he’s actually succeeded in some way? I mean, it doesn’t seem everyone’s been sent to the Abyss or anything…

One big plot twist that took me by surprise entailed what happened between Alice and Jack, after Jack presumably killed Glen (if that is what actually happened… I can never assume too much with this series). I absolutely loved how resolute Alice was in this sequence. There’s just something about how small and (seemingly) helpless she is compared to Jack, and yet stands her ground so firmly against him. And when it’s revealed just how much chain!Oz has suffered through all this… It’s definitely one of the most harrowing images of the series. I am curious though about what Alyss was hoping to accomplish by trying to switch places with Alice. Did Alyss really intend to help Jack shatter the world’s chains? I suppose Alice killing herself would prevent Alyss from making contact with Jack. But now the question is, why is there another Alice now, and how did she become B-Rabbit? And did Jack ever actually die? And if he did–then how? And why does Alyss want to be destroyed, going by her wish she asked Break to fulfill? But at any rate, it’s at least been revealed who killed Alice, and I wasn’t expecting it to be herself. I first thought Vincent of course, and later on Gilbert, and then finally Jack… But no, Alice killed herself in order to stop Jack from plunging the world into the Abyss–and perhaps more personally, to keep Oz from having to go through so much pain and suffering once again.

The finisher for the chapter, of course, is Gilbert shooting Oz… I can safely say I never expected this to happen, but looking back at past chapters, it’s impressive to see how much this had been hinted at in the past (eg Break telling Gilbert that if he’s not careful, he’ll end up pointing his gun at his master and hurting the ones he loves most). I was worried that Gilbert would go crazy and attack Jack!Oz for Glen’s sake, and was relieved when he came to protect Oz from the approaching Baskervilles. But somehow Glen!Leo had the power to force Glen to shoot Oz… It definitely didn’t look like Glen did so on purpose, at least. Was it mind control, or some kind of brainwashing-level persuasion?

And this is the SADDEST CHAPTER CONCLUSION EVER. If there was ever a manga character who needed a hug, it’s poor Oz. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a story so thoroughly brutal to its main protagonist. ;_; How Oz will get through this, I can’t begin to imagine. Definitely can’t wait to see where things go from here–possibly toward a final story arc? TT.TT

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