Hello again! Time for the second episode of this lovely romp through doomed love and heavy-handed foreshadowing.
So we start off literally seconds after the first episode ends, with Romeo and Juliet staring at each other in the garden while the music swells dramatically and the man who wants Juliet dead is throwing a party inside. Romeo breaks the silence by asking if Juliet likes the flowers and they both kind of stammer adorably until Romeo has the presence of mind to ask the pretty lady what her name is. Just before Juliet can think of what to say, Benvolio calls out for Romeo across the courtyard and Juliet runs off. Romeo wants to follow, but his father is calling for him – and if there’s one thing we know about Montague so far, it’s that you really don’t want to piss him off.
Juliet is delighted at having heard Romeo’s name, so much so that she has to repeat it to herself as she runs breathlessly for the door.
I think this is a good time to mention that I’m watching the Funimation dub, which is a mixture of Shakespearean language and vernacular english that’s… pretty charming, actually. I understand how it could be jarring to some people, but it gives the dub personality and the actors sound like they’re having fun with it so I can’t complain. (I might later, but about specific lines rather than the overall decision to write the dub this way.)
After the opening song, Juliet is stopped at the door by two guards, who think that the fact she doesn’t have an escort is suspicious. But lo! to her rescue come fair Francisco and bold Currio, companions of the Capulet guard who’s been protecting Juliet all these years. They claim Juliet is a member of a noble house and that they are here to escort her home, then promptly stuff her into a carriage, looking none too pleased. To be honest I had to go back to see if those two were introduced before this episode, and you do see them sitting next to Capulet guard (his name is Conrad, we find out later) when Odin and Antonio return from their shenanigans, but they don’t speak or do anything before this point, so I forgive myself for being confused when they showed up.
At the ball, Romeo’s dad tells him to “rejoice” at the “gift” he has “procured for him.” This gift is a person. More specifically, it’s Hermione. So yeah, Montague isn’t just an asshole, he’s a sexist asshole. He then proceeds to tell the whole assembled nobility that Romeo and Hermione are going to be married, apparently without even warning the young couple in advance. So yeah, asshole. At least Hermione seems happy about it, but Romeo is just confused again.
In the carriage, Conrad and Francisco are upset that Juliet ran off without telling them, and even more that she went to the palace – but won’t tell her why the palace was such a terrible place to be, or why it was dangerous to wear a dress in public. To be fair to Juliet she finally gets angry and yells at them for it, but Conrad simply repeats that he’ll tell her everything on her sixteenth birthday. She calls him an ass.
Have I mentionned I love this girl?
At the ball, Romeo and Hermione are dancing but Romeo is being all distracted, so he excuses himself and leaves Hermione with Benvolio. Hermione seems really sweet, worrying about Romeo’s well-being and saying she’ll pray for his recovery (Romeo is the best liar ever and said the smell of all the roses (?) was making him feel sick (??)). I really hope they don’t turn her into the catty jealous girlfriend stereotype to “justify” why Romeo and Juliet belong together.
The next morning is Juliet’s sixteenth birthday, so we’ll finally find out what’s going on with this Capulet plot! But first, Odin decides he hasn’t done enough rebelling yet, so he sneaks off with Antonio while Conrad is out of the house.
In the town, some loan shark is kidnapping young girls in payment for their families’ debts. It’s implied he intends to sell them to noblemen for sex, which just… ew. EW. Also there’s a pun about their “maidenheads” because of course there is. Someone read Romeo and Juliet in high school…
But fear not! The Red Whirlwind is here to save the day!
While Odin fights off the guards, Antonio is busy freeing the captured girls. Despite his awesome fighting skills, the Red Whirlwind is eventually overpowered but lo! a cloaked figure appears to help. It’s Currio, stating that this is the last time he’ll go along with this Red Whirlwind game. Odin is adorably sheepish as he thanks him. They slice up the document allowing the loan shark to legally take people as property, but let him go.
Odin was scratched in the fight, so the group next goes to see a local doctor named Lancelot. We find out that when the Capulets were in power, they used to distribute food and medicine to the poorer residents of Neo Verona, but now the Montagues have stopped all aid and the Red Whirlwind is the only one willing to provide the people with necessary goods – probably stolen from the nobles. Lancelot is the middleman in this arrangement, but since Odin keeps the costume and mask on while getting bandaged up, I suspect he doesn’t know the Red Whirlwind’s identity at all.
Currio says that he disapproves of the Red Whirlwind because he sees it as addressing the symptoms of Neo Verona’s problems, not the source. When Odin angrily asks what else he would have him do, he replies that there is a greater purpose in Juliet’s future. Juliet points out that her sixteenth birthday is finally here, so he has no reason to keep the truth from her anymore. Currio just… walks away in silence.
Hey guys, this is why not telling her was a bad idea. Everyone keeps getting angry at Juliet for putting herself in danger, but then they never explain why exactly a given situation was dangerous at all (wearing a dress, going to the ball,) or why it’s especially important that she not draw attention to herself (as the Red Whirlwind) or why Juliet could do more good as the head of House Capulet than as a vigilante. If she had known the truth all these years you wouldn’t have to constantly get mad at her for this stuff, because she’d understand the stakes and would be able to take steps to protect herself.
If these guys are planning to lead a rebellion against Montague they’re going to need better communication skills, is what I’m saying.
Conrad is of course furious about this, and yelling at absolutely everyone who cares to hear. Odin mutters something about going to see William and runs off before the old man can finish though, and Conrad wonders how Juliet’s even managed to live this long, what with the whole world out to kill her. Francisco thinks that the city of Neo Verona itself is protecting her (and everyone treats this like a perfectly sound proposition and not the sentimental hogwash it probably was.) Then there’s vague talks about “tonight” and others being summoned and Juliet never knowing peace again.
Hey guys, just a thought: maybe the reveal of her great destiny tonight wouldn’t be so hard on her if you had prepared her for it. Like for example, oh, I don’t know, TELLING HER ABOUT IT FROM THE BEGINNING.
Odin and Antonio are chilling with William, comfortably oblivious to all the vagueness going on upstairs. Will is working on “As You Like It”, which he describes as “A girl named Rosalind disguises herself as a young man, then takes off her pants for the one she loves.” This leads Antonio to think this is a play about pants, because he is innocent and must be protected at all costs.
Please protect my darling children, for they are precious and pure.
Odin is wondering if love can bloom between people of different social classes, because he totally hasn’t been thinking about Romeo all day, no siree. William throws a Shakespeare quote at him in response, which doesn’t seem to do much for Odin’s spirits.
We haven’t seen Romeo for a while, so let’s see how he’s doing, shall we? He and Hermione are enjoying a stroll through the rose gardens, and we are treated to this gem of an exchange:
Hermione: These roses are a joy to the eye, are they not?
Romeo: Uh… Verily.
Seriously Romeo, could you be more of a dork?
Hermione continues to be an absolute sweetie pie, but I’m starting to think she idolizes Romeo a bit too much; either that or no one ever told her there’s a difference between compliments and outright boot-licking.
Romeo notices an iris blooming in the garden, and this seems to perturb him. Juliet was looking at irises when they met, so maybe it reminds him of her?
Juliet is now wearing a dress and determined to find a place where irises bloom. Why? Something about reminding her of Romeo, but IRISES! Irises are suddenly very important to our two protagonists. Cordelia tells her of a spot in some abandonned ruins, and she runs off.
And who should she meet there but Romeo? (Because of course Romeo also had a sudden craving for irises. Are irises addictive or something?) The two bumble around a bit until Romeo asks for her name a second time. “Juliet,” she admits. Amazing Grace starts to play somewhere off into the distance.
Then we hear the clock strike, which means that Juliet must leave before her carriage turns into a pumpkin. Not really, but she knows her friends are waiting for her to celebrate her birthday, so she excuses herself. But Romeo, now all flustered that the girl he likes is right there, and it’s her birthday, and he didn’t even think to bring her a present, bends down and picks her an iris.
Look at his face. LOOK AT IT. Why are all of you so adorkable?
They promise to meet the next day at the same spot, and Juliet leaves with a smile on her face.
At the theatre, the music turns somber and everyone has gathered for Juliet’s birthday dinner. Apparently even Antonio didn’t know Juliet was a girl, because his reaction to seeing her in a dress is priceless. “But… you wore pants every day!” he protests when Cordelia tells him the truth, and I bend over laughing.
After the meal, Conrad tells Juliet that “the time has come to lift the veil”. This doesn’t sound ominous at all, so everyone minus Cordelia follows him to a cemetery (yes, even the ten-year-old kid. I guess someone needs to stay and do the dishes, but why are we bringing a kid to a super-secret rebellion meeting in the middle of a cemetery again?)
They bring Juliet to a ruined grave with no discernable markings, while Conrad declines ominously about dead Capulets and evil Montagues and a thunderstorm brews ahead. And then he drops the bomb on her: she is the last remaining Capulet.
They are joined by a group of men who turn out to be Capulet loyalists, ready to back Juliet’s claim to the throne and oust the Montagues. They start chanting her name as the rain starts to fall. Juliet is visibly upset throughout all of this.
She took that well.
The episode ends on a shot of Romeo staring lovingly at an iris and whispering Juliet’s name, followed by the still-completely inapropriate ending credit song.
Welp! I guess we finally got to the “forbidden” part of this forbidden romance.
Hark! ‘Tis the plot:
- It seems that roses are being associated with the Montagues and irises with the Capulets; on this note, perhaps the bit where we see an iris bloom in the rose garden is meant to be a clever bit of foreshadowing? But does it simply foreshadow Romeo and Juliet’s eventual secret wedding (which I’m assuming will still happen), or maybe something more, like a legitimate alliance, or a child, or maybe even a sign that Juliet will topple the Montagues from the inside? TBD.
- Cordelia calls Juliet a “slug-a-bed” for sleeping in, and I will now use this insult liberally in my daily life because it’s perfect.
- Earlier in the episode Cordelia mentions her calloused hands from all the hard work, and how she could never pass as a noble lady and attend the ball; later, Odin gets her a poultice for rough hands from the market. I just thought that was really sweet. The relationships between Juliet and Cordelia, and Romeo and Benvolio are really sweet in general.
- The animation is still keeping up it’s good quality! Colour me pleased.