In D.Gray-Man HALLOW’s third episode, It’ll Be Fine if I Wash My Face, Allen Walker makes a sobering discovery about his sword; the Central Order sends two more CROWs into the field; the young thief steps up and confronts the Akuma — and his own past; Kanda becomes suspicious.
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What Happened (Spoiler Free)
Timothy Hearst, the young thief from the last episode, is in despair. His orphanage family lies in front of him, turned into puppets. The Exorcists had been ready to take him back to the Black Order’s headquarter; now the Akuma were going to take him to the Millennium Earl!
Gunfire from Emilia Gaimar snaps him out of his funk. It also attracts the attention of a huge Akuma. It attacks her. Fearful for her safety, Timothy unconsciously activates his Innocence, and he possesses the Akuma that had turned his friends into puppets. But he doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing, and he pitted against multiple Akuma who are powerful and deadly.
The Central Order sends two CROWs to the orphanage, and one’s able to bypass the Akuma’s seal and enter — much to the shock of the Exorcists there with him. But the CROW is not an Exorcist — what does he think he can do against high-level Akumas?
Allen, Yu Kanda, and Noise Marie continue their battle against the Level 4 Akuma. Kanda’s able to slice off one of its arms, but it grabs Allen’s sword and tosses it away from them. Allen’s withering under its spirit energy machine-gun fire.
The rest of this review may have spoilers, so please be careful!
What Happened (Spoilers!)
Timothy Hearst, the young thief from the last episode, remembers when he first visited the orphanage. Dispirited at what looked like a life ruined by his worthless father, Timothy sat beside the Sister who was the Director of the orphanage. She asked him if he could wash his face. Indignant at the thought she was mocking him, he mellowed when he realized she just pointed out that to her, he was just like any other boy — and she would welcome him into her family.
Back in the present, Timothy’s in the grips of two powerful Akuma, who intend to take him back to the Millennium Earl. Timcanpy helps Allen, still fighting upstairs, try to comfort Timothy. The boy retorts that the Black Order’s trying to take him away from the orphanage, too, so what’s the difference?
But even as he said that, even as he remembered that he started using his power to steal in order to fund the orphanage, he remembered Allen judging him for hurting those whose bodies he possessed. His moment of despair brought clarity, and he saw that he had hurt those people.
Gunfire from Emilia Gaimar, a young woman who worked at the orphanage and considered herself his adoptive sister, startled Timothy. He was trapped in the embrace of one of the two powerful Akuma; the other charged Emilia. His panic activated his Innocence, and he possessed the Akuma holding him. He sprang forward and grappled with the attacking Akuma. At the same time, his Innocence projected an ethereal human form that called itself the trainer for Tsukikami and that began trying to teach him how to use his power. The trainer can take shape now because Timothy finally possessed an Akuma, which the Tsukikami in Timothy’s forehead can turn into Innocence. Timothy makes the connection that his Innocence is why the Black Order wanted to take him away — to protect him. And he needs protecting, because even though he scored an early victory, the other Akuma are a level too high for him to possess.
Timothy’s battle spills over into the battle between Allen, Yu Kanda, and Noise Marie and the most dangerous of the Akuma on site. Everyone — including the most powerful Akuma — was amazed that Timothy had possessed an Akuma. But the commotion brought Timothy to the attention of the Level 4 Akuma. It ordered the others to kill the child.
Outside the orphanage, a team of Exorcists discovered that the building was encased in a seal. As they prepared to work on disabling it, a red-robed man from Central Order simply walked through it — to their collective astonishment.
Allen tried to get between Timothy and the Akuma, but the Level 4 prevented it. Just as the other Akuma was about to kill Timothy, the red-robed man, who the Akuma says didn’t have any Innocence (so he wasn’t an Exorcist), activates a device in his arm called Primordial Void. It consumes the Akuma. The Level 4 Akuma takes a moment from its battle with Allen to wonder how the CROW had defeated the seal.
Allen and Kanda just assume the CROW is a new kind of Exorcist and renew their attack on the Level 4. Kanda slices off one of its arms, but it rallies to catch Allen’s sword in its teeth and tosses it aside. Allen uses Crown Clown to summon the sword, and it skewers both the Level 4 and himself.
The Level 4 chides him for killing both of them; Allen tells him his sword only harms Akuma or Noah. Then, Allen’s dismayed to cough up blood. His sword has injured him!
The Akuma is overjoyed that Allen, too, is suffering. As it prepared to fire its oral cannon and kill Allen, the Exorcist gently reached up, touches its cheek, and says, “Good morning.”
In a Noah’s voice.
The Level 4 hesitated, saying, “Noah,” in a longing voice.
Kanda’s sword slices through its skull. Allen, released from his trance, grasps his sword’s hilt. Together, the two of them slice the Level 4 Akuma into many pieces.
With the Akuma defeated, the Order was able to heal those turned into puppets. Timothy is overjoyed.
So overjoyed that he decides to join the Exorcists of his own free will. Emilia decides to go with him as his tutor.
Much to the Black Order’s Director Komui Lee’s dismay, since Timothy has joined them, the Order must pay the value of all of his thefts, as well as fund the re-development of the orphanage’s building, since it was destroyed in the fight with the Akuma.
Timothy meets one last time with the orphanage’s director. He’s amazed at the expense of his new clothes (the Exorcist’s uniform) and at the quality (and quantity!) of the food. She tells him she’s leaving for Paris soon, and he tells her that her nose is running. His is, too, because he’s crying so hard. She tells him she’ll be okay as soon as she washes her face.
Kanda remains concerned about what he saw during the battle with the Level 4 Akuma.
What I Liked
Timothy’s reaction to Allen’s offer of protection felt powerful. He just wanted to stay in the orphanage with the family he loved. He didn’t want the Black Order or the Akuma to take him away. As he said that, he was looking at the pile of dolls that had been his friends. His entire world had imploded in a matter of moments. No wonder he was crying so hard!
I thought the back-story showing how and why Timothy had started his life of thievery was likewise powerful. He couldn’t stand to see the Director’s resolve broken or his impromptu family scattered.
Most of the time, when I see a scene that pushes someone into realizing something awful about themselves, the lead-up felt contrived. In this case, I thought the line of thought that showed Timothy how he had hurt those he had possessed fit perfectly with the story. The story prepared me for the moment, so when it came, it seemed inevitable.
When Timothy’s battle spilled over into theirs, the Exorcists thought the Akuma were fighting among themselves. It took Allen finding Timothy’s body (his spirit was in the Akuma he had possessed) and Timcanpy using pantomime to communicate what was going on. I thought that was a nice bit of humor in an otherwise dark battle.
That Level 4 Akuma that attacked Allen, Kanda, and Noise is about the ugliest thing I’ve every encountered. I felt the same way when I saw its type of Akuma back in the original series; I just got around to commenting on it! It looks like an obscene mix of beast and human with distorted features from both. It’s baby sweet voice adds to the overall horror it projects. D.Gray-man’s Akuma have always been horrifying; this is the epitome of that work.
So it looks like the CROW from Central Agency has a new technology that’s effective at least against Level 3 Akuma. It’s good to know that the Akuma aren’t the only one capable of adapting and changing!
After Madarao defeated the Level 3 Akuma, Allen and Kanda came together to attack the Level 4. I liked how they didn’t even have to talk about it; they knew what had to be done, combined their forces, and did it. I don’t think I’ve seen them work this well together since, well, ever!
I thought the motif of face washing was a good frame to this episode. It was enough of an indirect emotional reference not to be too affected while still being genuine.
What I Liked Less
I wonder why the Akuma let Allen talk to Timothy through Timcanpy and the radio pen. They could clearly hear Allen comforting the boy, so why didn’t they attack Timcanpy or at least swat him away? That seemed pretty unrealistic to me.
There were two developments this week that I think will have a big impact on future episodes. First, we got to see Madarao, representing the latest in Exorcist technology, in action. He was able to defeat the Akuma’s barrier and completely obliterate a Level 3 Akuma — apparently without exerting much effort. Unless his device has a significant down side, this could change the whole complexion of the war. It’ll be interesting to see how well he does against the upgraded Level 4 Akuma. It’ll also be interesting to see how the other “old” model Exorcists react to him.
Second, Allen’s Crown Clown hurt Allen! That means it, at least, recognizes some part of the Noah within him. Does it mean that the Fourteenth is gaining power? Is Allen in danger of being possessed, as Malcolm C. Lvellie fears? Or are the memories within simply an added complexity within his character — a complexity that his sword interprets as corruption? Is there something else going on? Kanda was certainly concerned about what he saw.
So, what do you think? Does Madarao represent a new, fresh direction for the Exorcists? Or a new move in a power play whose scope we don’t yet understanding? Something else?
Reviews of Other Hallow Season Episodes
- Episode 104 (episode 1) HALLOW: The Fourteenth
- Episode 105 (episode 2) HALLOW: Lonely Boy
- Episode 107 (episode 4) HALLOW: Blood Crusade
- Episode 108 (episode 5) HALLOW: Alma Karma
- Episode 109 (episode 6) HALLOW: Friend
- Episode 110 (episode 7) HALLOW: The Truth about a Sterile Flower
- Episode 111 (episode 8) HALLOW: Awakening
- Episode 112 (episode 9) HALLOW: Little Goodbye
- Episode 113 (episode 10) HALLOW: Sinner in Despair
- Episode 114 (episode 11) HALLOW: Hidden One
- Episode 115 (episode 12) HALLOW: My Home
- Episode 116 (episode 13) HALLOW: Walker