This episode is coming to us a week later than usual, thanks to November having five Saturdays instead of four. That said, it was well worth the wait. As we already knew from the previous episode’s preview, Mamoru returns, but he’s under the control of the Dark Kingdom. Although his appearance is completely unaltered, he still assumes a different name, and this is apparently enough to throw Usagi off; while she wants to spend time around him (presumably because he looks like Mamoru), she tells herself it’s not him because he is being held captive by the Dark Kingdom. I suppose this speaks to the power of the human mind to trick itself—or perhaps it just speaks to how ditzy Usagi is supposed to be. Either way, she finds herself being lured into the Dark Kingdom’s plan.
The episode isn’t completely dark, however. At one point, the Sailor Senshi gather at Ami’s home to have a meeting, to which Usagi has brought an absurd number of snacks. More humorous, though, is that Minako walks down the street in broad daylight while cradling the sword that the Senshi brought back from the moon. I found myself thinking it absurd that no one would think this odd, and the thought doesn’t even occur to Minako herself until the girls are in the lobby of Ami’s apartment complex. It could have been amusing to see this joke played out a little more (the girls having to explain the sword, for example), but it doesn’t happen.
Watching through this episode also reinforces the fact that Usagi isn’t as weak as she tends to appear. While undoubtedly heartbroken over Mamoru’s disappearance, she does her best to put on a strong face, although her veneer very clearly cracks when she encounters the possessed Mamoru (who, again, she doesn’t believe is actually Mamoru). Without spoiling anything, the episode climaxes with what can only be a painful encounter, leaving the viewers with a tense cliffhanger for another two weeks.
A Christian Perspective:
While I don’t have a Scripture for this perspective (the closest I can think of is 2 Corinthians 4:4 – The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God), I think the most obvious lesson is that we can be easily deceived by people by allowing ourselves to be blinded to the warning signs. Usagi quite readily throws herself into the companionship of the possessed Mamoru (who she believes to be someone named Endo) without thinking it at all suspicious that someone who looks just like Mamoru happens to show up as a part-time employee at the game center where she always hangs out. It seems that her desire to be around Mamoru is so strong that she will even settle for being around someone who simply looks like him. While it certainly appears that other forces are at work here (as evidenced by the final scene that includes Usagi and Mamoru together in the game center), I do not think all of her time spent with him is against her own will. In this sense, she has been blinded, not considering the truth so that she can have whatever bit of joy remains in the lies. Actually, any number of Scriptures about false teachers would probably fit here, as well.
The point in all of this is that we should be careful of who we trust and weigh their trustworthiness against the facts instead of following what we desire. Sure, that preacher may say things that you like hearing, but do his words match the Scriptures? That “Christian” friend of yours may seem to be super spiritual, but then you find out he’s sexually active with his girlfriend. I’m not saying people don’t make mistakes, and there is certainly a difference between slipping up once or twice and living in active sin, but we should certainly consider more than just the outward appearance that the person is putting forth before we place our trust in them.
Language: 1 “j**z”
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Venus, Mercury, Mars, and Moon transformation sequences; Queen Beryl cleavage
Violence: A flashback shows a woman preparing to stab herself; Rei knocks Makoto into a pillar; the Sailor Guardians do battle with two foes—Venus seems to electrocute one with her whip; Luna bites someone; Sailor Moon attacks with a beam of energy
Blood/Gore: Flashbacks to the red petals, which I’m still assuming represent blood; there seems to be some blood from Luna biting a person
Other: The usual special powers that are employed by the Senshi and denizens of the Dark Kingdom