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SPY x FAMILY Episode 4 Review – Best In Show

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SPY x FAMILY Episode 4 Review – Quick Summary

In SPY x FAMILY Episode 4, “THE PRESTIGIOUS SCHOOL’S INTERVIEW,” The Forger family had prepared all they could. Now, it was time for the entrance interview! Loid, as an accomplished spy, immediately realized that he and his family were under surveillance the moment they stepped on campus. Yor, too, felt something was amiss. Anya desperately wanted to pick her nose, but she valiantly refrained! With the faculty failing families right and left for the most minor infractions of etiquette, does Loid’s plan have any chance of success?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from SPY x FAMILY Episode 4

SPY x FAMILY Episode 4: I now officially don't dislike Henry Henderson

My opinion of Henry Henderson went up considerably at this point! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I don’t use the word “frolic” very often in my reviews (only four times so far, and two of them were in my review of Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka – which seems frankly bizarre!). I’ve only used “frolicsome” five times. But you know what? This show so exuberantly embraces the tropes of its genre and elevates them that it feels like it deserves to be called frolicsome. 

Case in point: Henry Henderson lives for elegance. His part in evaluating families was to throw obstacles in their way so they would do something inelegant, which would disqualify them. Loid flirted with disqualification when he stepped in a sewer to save a small child. But he thwarted Henry’s plans by bringing a change of clothes! 

When Loid and Yor stopped the rampaging escaped farm animals (okay, it was mostly Yor – Loid merely saved someone’s life, thus tearing his jacket), all seemed lost. Henry came down to the courtyard because the escaped animals were a real accident. Out of recognition of Loid and Yor’s efforts, he said they could go home and change.

Thanking Henry with elegance, Loid said that there was no need. “We anticipated something like this and prepared another change of clothes,” he said cheerfully.

Shocked, Henry thought (10:19), “This isn’t about elegance anymore! These people are just scary!”

I’m starting to like Henry.

Best in Show Moment for SPY x FAMILY Episode 4

SPY x FAMILY Episode 4: Yor's move to protect Anya was as instinctive as it was potentially lethal

This was so raw, so honest, and so in tune with Yor’s character that I just had to pick it as my favorite moment. And that’s saying a lot in this episode! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: A Moment of Pure Instinct

My favorite moment in this episode is like the epitome of favorite moments. It’s like, if I wanted a mascot for favorite moments, it would be this moment. If I needed a reference implementation for the state or quality of “favorite-ness,” it would be this moment. And the reason I chose this has its roots in a hog house on a farm in Ohio about fifty years ago.

My family ran a farm. The “hog house” was a low building where we kept the sows (female pigs) after they gave birth to piglets. One of my first jobs was to wait for my dad to open the gate to the pen (one sow per pen), then dash in to shovel out what pigs leave behind when they chow down. 

It wasn’t glamorous, though it was honest work. But it was dangerous in a way the young me didn’t understand. One day, I was hard at work. I didn’t have a lot of time to shovel the stuff out of the pen. The sow would leave, walk to the end of the aisle, drink her fill of clean water, then return. Not only did I have to work fast; I had to work around the piglets.

SPY x FAMILY Episode 4: The normally unflappable Loid could not tolerate Murdoch's mistreatment of Anya

Loid didn’t want to fail in his mission, but he couldn’t let Murdoch mistreat Anya any more. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Well, I was running out of time. I think I might have shoveled a piglet out of the way, and it squealed. My dad had just opened the gate to let the sow back into her pen. Mama pig heard her baby squeal.

I looked up to see the sow pause. Her eyes locked on me. For an instant, just the briefest instant, she stood utterly still. Then she charged. 

I don’t recall exactly what happened next. I think it involved my collar, my dad, and a brief moment of being airborne. I remember my dad telling my mom that he thought I was a goner. Looking back on that moment taught me an important lesson: Never, never, never come between a mother and her children. Everything that sow was; her entire being; every ounce of energy she possessed: it all went into the effort to eliminate me as a perceived threat to her children.

Delivery: Murdoch Swan’s Brush with Death

Years later, I faced a charging Holstein bull. It weighed about a ton. It wanted to crush me between its massive head and the fence. But you know what? That was nothing compared to that sow. The bull weighed about a ton. The sow probably weighed five hundred pounds, if that. Sure, if the bull had caught me, I would have been dead meat. But I was almost completely calm. It was an utterly different experience. The bull was all like, “Dude, nothing personal, but I’m a bull, and you’re annoying me, so I’m going to like, crush you and stuff.”

Whereas the sow was more like, “I will destroy you and rip you to shreds and feed you to my children.”

For the sow, it was personal. I had triggered a primitive reaction at the very core of that creature’s being. And you know what? That’s something we humans share with our mammalian friends the pigs. 

Murdoch Swan triggered Yor’s mother-reflex in this episode. Swan practically gloated over having made Anya cry because he asked her about her original mama, saying he was disgusted she would cry over something so trifling. Anya cried big tears, too. He had hurt her deeply.

SPY x FAMILY Episode 4: Murdoch's words deeply Anya

As soon as I saw how much Murdoch had hurt Anya, I honestly feared for his life. Though, to be honest, I would not have mourned his passing! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

And for an instant, I thought Yor was going to kill him for it. “Trifling?” she hissed (18:52). “You call this trifling?”

I thought the moment was just perfect. I’m not even sure she realized she had switched to combat mode. Seeing how much she already cares for Anya was part of what made this moment so cool. That, and it reminded me of something I haven’t thought about for decades. 

And in case it’s not clear: Yor impressed me in this episode. Her reaction was honest, pure, and instinctual. And it had me thinking of her as a real person, reacting to a real threat. That’s the kind of moments I want to create for my characters!

What did you think of how Yor stopped the rampaging herd? What were your favorite moments in this episode? Feel free to share in the comments!

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5 thoughts on “SPY x FAMILY Episode 4 Review – Best In Show

    1. The part of my brain that just wants to be a viewer is ecstatic about this show. The part of my brain that’s a story engineer is impressed as all get out.

      It’s right up there for this season. I’ll wait a few more episodes before I start thinking about AOTY!

  1. Thanks to the Navy pounding something akin to combat reflexes into my brain and nervous system… Yeah, you don’t think. You don’t have *time* to think. You just MOVE. NOW. Exactly as Loid did.

    But Yor did something far scarier. She very deliberately drew herself back like a snake about to strike. “You call that trivial” – that was her tail rattling. Her *one* warning before taking his head off. She *wanted* Swan to know that Death approached. And there wasn’t going to be a damm thing he could do about it.

    Which, if you look back to the second ep is her basic modus operandi… The assassins’ mindset – “May I have the honor of killing you?”

    Mind you, I am emphatically not denying how important it is that the trigger for the mode swap was Anya rather than a mission.

    1. I’m glad you commented — Even though it was my favorite moment, I hadn’t made the distinction between Loid’s response and Yor’s. You’re right. She had switch to assassin mode. And the story prepared us for it with the quote you referenced.

Please let me know what you think!

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