This recap contains spoilers for Tower of God episode “Beyond The Sadness”.
Disclaimer: Pre-release screening and screenshot materials for this recap were provided for GGA by Crunchyroll.
“Beyond The Sadness” is the episode’s name. It’s an apt one. We pick up after the immediate aftermath of the “Tag” test that’s taken up the bulk of the last few episodes. The scene is somber, but determined. Hoh is dead. Rachel is paralyzed from the waist down. You could say that our heroes have a choice to make, but really, the one making the choice is just Bam. Bam, of course, is not one to leave friends behind, and promises to climb the Tower with Rachel, Khun, and Rak, no matter what.
The actual first thing that happens in “Beyond The Sadness” is Rak being comically shrunk by cappuccino-sipping Tower bureaucrat Yu Han Sung. This foreshadows Yu’s larger role in this episode, but mostly it just serves to cut the big lizard down to size. Literally, even.
After that brief break of levity, we open on Hoh’s funeral. Organized by the very people he betrayed. Tower of God in general, and “Beyond The Sadness” in particular, is very good at imparting a hard-to-qualify humanity into its characters. This scene, where the whole cast mourns someone that they really don’t have much of a “reason” to, is quite effective in that regard. “Beyond The Sadness” is the episode where Bam’s “group” takes a much more cohesive shape. This opening scene is just one part of that.
The funeral is followed by a wake. The cast take the opportunity to drink and for the most part, bond with each other. There are some side-cast glances, but this is largely a surprisingly positive scene. It becomes clear that almost everyone intends to continue climbing the Tower.
The sole exception, as alluded to two episodes ago, is Serena. She departs the group–and the show–here, tossing Shibisu her knife as a keepsake.
The next third of “Beyond The Sadness” revolves around a rather unexpected character; Yuga, the sheep-like Wave Controller ‘professor’ we were briefly introduced to several episodes back.
Here it’s revealed that like seemingly everyone else but Bam in Tower of God, Yuga is not what he seems. Yu confronts him in an undisclosed space somewhere beneath the test area.
He identifies Yuga as “Royal Enforcement Division Unit #67 Lo Po Bia Ren”. What that rather lengthy title seems to mean is that he works for the King of Jahad (or thinks he does, at any rate). His job in the Tower turns out to be the elimination of Anaak and the retrieval of the Green April and Black March.
This succinctly ties together several plot threads from nearly a half-cour ago, though in a very odd way. Yu, contrary to Lo Po’s expectations, does not try to stop him. After a brief show of force where Yu effortlessly demolishes a giant snake that Lo Po summons, he in fact promises to help him. The beurecrat even brings up the doctrine of the Tower staff defending the Tower, rather than merely seeing who is worthy to climb it, first brought up some five episodes ago. (As a side note: Yuri Jahad again shows up here quite briefly. If I have a single complaint about the story so far, it’s that she’s done essentially nothing since episode one).
A brief interstitial scene shows Lero Ro again being subject to Yu’s differing interpretation of their duties. “Beyond The Sadness” hints here and elsewhere that some combination of Yu and possibly the redheaded Hwaryun is responsible for the note that Hoh was slipped. This further brings Yu’s status as an antagonist in particular into sharper focus. A focus made all the more clear by what else happens in the final third of “Beyond The Sadness”.
The time comes for the results of the “Tag” test to be announced. As expected, all of the characters we’ve been following so far make it. (Plus several who we haven’t been!) With two notable exceptions: One; Ghost, the large, oni-like man who vanished in an instant when Rachel was stabbed. Two; Rachel herself, who Yu declares disqualified because of her injury.
A third person who fails the test openly challenges Yu. Yu offers to immediately pass him if he can prove he’s worthy of it, and promptly assaults him with shinsu, drowning him on dry land. Undeterred, Khun, who knows Bam wants nothing more than to take Rachel with him to the top of the Tower, also challenges Yu. It’s here where things again get a bit, well, rules-heavy.
The gist is that Khun wants to take a test to become an Administrator. It’s notoriously, gruelingly difficult, but those who pass have access to the shortest, fastest route to the top of the Tower. However, he can’t take the test, as he’s not an Irregular. An Irregular, if you’ll recall, is someone who entered the Tower of their own will as opposed to being chosen to enter. Irregulars are considered bad omens by the Tower’s population at large. As such, the revelation to most of the cast that Bam is one causes a stir. If anyone helps him–assuming he even passes the test–they’ll be branded as outcasts.
All this in mind, is it really any surprise that Bam almost immediately demands to take the Administrator’s test himself?
After some brief hemming and hawing, every remaining member of Bam’s class throws their support behind him. Bam is escorted to the testing area, where he must face this grueling examination alone. “Beyond The Sadness” closes with a shot of the same giant eye that haunted Bam’s vision when he made his Wave Controller contract, this time terrifyingly real.
It says a lot about how Tower of God’s structure that despite being late in the season, “Beyond The Sadness” feels like a beginning as much as the start of a conclusion. It’s true that Bam must overcome the administrator test alone. However, he has his friends behind him now. what could be more classic shonen than that? Wherever Tower of God goes in its remaining few episodes, it’s sure to be thrilling.
Until next time, Tower of God fans!
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