This recap contains spoilers for the Onyx Equinox episode “Mended and Broken.”

I’ve always said that no episode that starts with a bunch of howler monkeys fighting can be all bad. “Mended and Broken” proves this is the case in Onyx Equinox as well. Monkey combat (which crops up more than once here) aside, the episode’s rather literal title is a reflection of its central plot. During a fight, Izel accidentally pushes Yun off of a tree branch and he messily breaks his leg. All would be lost were it not for a mysterious healer who offers to fix him, should the rest of Izel’s party do a small task for her. All she needs is an axolotl from a nearby lake.

Onyx Equinox has made a point that its central characters don’t really get along. Yaotl has historically been the prickliest of the bunch, but he’s absent for “Mended and Broken.” Instead, that role is split between K’in and Zyanya. K’in because he is (understandably) furious at Izel for injuring Yun. Zyanya because she is of the opinion that she and Izel should simply leave both of them behind.

In a Deep Forest

To be frank, the entire premise here seems a little odd. I wouldn’t quite go as far as “contrived,” but Onyx Equinox seems pretty determined to speed-run character development and I’m not entirely sure why. The sudden-ness of the detour combined with the fact that “Mended and Broken” features more than one character just straight-up stating their feelings in the moment left me a little wary of the episode by the halfway mark. In general, Onyx Equinox seems to have something of a “telling instead of showing” problem with this aspect specifically. The worldbuilding, action scenes and so on remain good to great. More complex character writing is evidently something that it’s still finding its footing on.

Izel being carried away (Onyx Equinox, season 1 episode 3)

Things take a better turn in the episode’s back half. Izel refuses to abandon K’in even when he has a convenient excuse to do so. The restoration of trust this creates feels more organic and better realized than the fight that was the catalyst for this issue in the first place. Yun, meanwhile, has never really had any problem with Izel, and they bond in the final minutes of “Mended and Broken.”

Lakebed

“Mended and Broken” is an all-around solid episode despite its rough start. Fighting monkeys come up again near the episode’s end as Izel, K’in and Zyanya flee the lake.

K'in ambushed by howler monkeys (Onyx Equionx, season 1 episode 3)

A recurring thread throughout the episode teases the healer woman as perhaps being something more sinister, but she does, in fact, heal Yun’s leg with her magic. “Mended and Broken” then ends on what is easily the show’s best cliffhanger so far. As Izel and friends prepare to leave, she teleports them away to a city far from their destination. There, they’re surrounded by humans with colorful wings as the episode ends.

Onyx Equinox is only five episodes deep, so saying that “Mended and Broken” is in the top half may not seem like much, but it’s still worth noting. And if the cliffhanger is any indication, we’re in for a real doozy next week.

Until then, Onyx Equinox fans.

Check out our previous coverage of Onyx Equinox here, and stream it on Crunchyroll!

 

 

Jane Y. Auman
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