Welcome back to EVERYDAY EVA, the blog series where I aim to cover one episode of Evangelion every single day for Mecha March 2022!
SEELE heralds the arrival of the final messenger. Shinji meets Kaworu, the fifth child. The destiny they share causes Shinji to rethink everything.
Asuka’s descent opens this pivotal, groundbreaking episode of the series. Misato pieces together SEELE’s plans for the apocalypse. Ritsuko confronts Gendo about her dead cat, her killing of Rei’s clones, and her rejection of his touch. Shinji, with no one else to turn to, encounters Kaworu Nagisa, the Fifth Child, on the flooded sands of a Tokyo-3 lakebed. It’s an episode of fated meetings, tragic partings, conspiracy, and pain. Truly one of the highest points in the series—and the immediate drop afterwards plunges us to Eva’s lowest. From this episode on, paying special attention to the classical scores selected as part of the soundtrack will yield immense insight about the themes at play.
Kaworu meets up with Shinji again after his tests. He’s seen listening to his SDAT player, which instantly reminds me of a similar shared encounter in 3.33. From Kaworu’s intimate stares to Shinji’s anxious smiles, the ties that bind them are obvious. The bath scene gets straight to the point: Shinji’s underlying fears and his inability to connect with others. Kaworu’s directness is charismatic. I love this scene. Misato’s parting with Pen Pen immediately drives home the bittersweet sorrow of this episode. Her suspicions of Kaworu (no doubt her “woman’s intuition”) end up being just as dooming as Ritsuko’s forecast.
Suspense continues to amass as Kaworu, Unit-02, and Shinji in Unit-01 plummet to the lowest depths of Central Dogma. This is the closest any Angel has come to “Adam,” and just as Misato and Hyuga prepare for the worst, a new identity is detected. “Adam” is actually Lilith, implying that humanity (SEELE) does not seek the power of destruction, but rather the rejoining of all mankind into one body—reunion, harmony, order. We don’t realize this in its fullest clarity just yet, but Kaworu’s allusions and well wishes to mankind leave Shinji with a horrifying predicament. “That was the first time someone told me they liked me,” Shinji tearfully mumbles to Misato. “Kaworu should’ve been the one who survived.” Misato’s remark that Kaworu sought death instead of life is too cruel for Shinji.
Kaworu’s lyrical musings on the human mind open Shinji’s heart and wound him gravely. “Humans can’t permanently be free of loneliness. Because man is ultimately alone.” The drama and themes, as outlined in the production notes, are fully explored in the final episodes to come. Herein, the story homes in exclusively on the solitary mind of Shinji Ikari before unfolding to show the world around him in the film. Shinji’s decisions will yield prophetic and catastrophic consequences, many of which fans find difficult to interpret. We’ll try to unpack what we can, together. Thanks for reading, and ‘til then!
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