Steins Gate 0 is no longer a one-man show. Despite its over-reliance on Okabe in previous episodes, episode 17 finally showed the supporting cast acting of their own accord. There was particular emphasis on Mayuri and Daru’s characters: something fans of season one will greatly appreciate.
A Hostage No More
Episode 17 showed the audience a new Mayuri. No longer content with being a bystander, she’s taken her future into her own hands. Even the way she talks makes one thing clear: she’s done messing around. However, it’s doubtful she knew what she was getting into. Unlike Suzuha, she’s never seen combat, and is taken completely unawares by the strike team at the end of the episode.
Then there’s the whole romance aspect. It’s long been hinted that she had feeling for Okabe, but any doubts were dispelled this time around. Just like Maho, Mayuri found a rival in Kurisu, only to find she was the second choice all along. It’s hard not to relate to her in this episode, especially when she says she just wants Hououin Kyouma back. So do we, Mayuri, so do we.
Let’s Go To Plan B
Suzuha is effectively taking on Okabe’s role from now on. She’s going back to when Kurisu died and attempting to find a way to save both her and Mayuri. The audience got to see Okabe in full desperation mode here, which was particularly interesting since he tends to keep things bottled up. However, there’s a flaw in the plan: Kagari (presumably) has returned and is trying to take the time machine. Due to revelations at the episode’s end, time travel is now all but inevitable: we’ve seen worlds where Kurisu or Mayuri dies, but never one where both do.
It was especially interesting to see Daru’s reaction to Suzuha leaving. He’s usually so aloof, but there was real determination in his eyes when she left the lab. He may not like it, but in his heart, he knows that she has to go. The stakes are just too high not to.
Plot Threads Neatly Tied
With just a handful of episodes left, all the pieces are in place for the plot to be tied together in a bow. We’ll likely see Kagari’s story resolved in one or two more episodes, after which we can focus on finding the Steins Gate world line. It’s hard not to lament lost time, though, particularly given how slowly Steins Gate 0 started, and how much was devoted to filler.
Still, for the first time in forever, Steins Gate 0 is acting like the show it was supposed to be all along. There are still a few questions awaiting answers (why is Kagari acting this way? Does a perfect world line exist?) but we’re confident they’ll be resolved in a satisfying way in the episodes to come.