Dorothy’s backstory is the focus of the episode and while the other girls gave us informative tales, this was perhaps the first one which was heartbreaking.
Down on His Luck & Taking It Out On The World: Dorothy, Beatrice, Danny
There was a time, long ago, when Daisy, Dorothy’s real name, was happy. Her father was a steam engineer, her mother Dorothy [note]Daisy took her mother’s name for her spy name[/name] was still around, and everything was peachy. However, after an accident, Danny lost his hand, Dorothy left, and Daisy took on the brute force of her father’s drunken hand as he lashed out at the world. This, of course, led her to run away and never look back. Essentially abandoning her father to his own demons and eventually becoming the spy we know her as today.
Leading to how these two have become reunited. Control wants to intercept a cipher being hidden in a body [note]The Kingdom’s Foreign Office’s cipher[/note] that is being delivered to a morgue – one which Danny, Daisy’s father, is working at. He is the known contact for the Duke of Normandy so she is tasked with getting close to him. Her backup is Beatrice. Someone who she, at first, cautiously allows to learn her truth but there comes a time where she decides to just spill the beans about her life.
With this, Beatrice feels their friendship isn’t a cover but real. Making their shared journey all the more heartfelt. For Daisy sees Beatrice as someone who might understand. Yes, Beatrice went through a much more violent time with her father, but even spies need someone to open up to.
Out of all the characters, I must admit that Daisy, or rather Dorothy’s, story I wasn’t expecting to mean much. If only because she has been portrayed as someone who relied on sexuality to show her worth. So with actually getting to see her father, see them interact, and even begin the process of healing old wounds, that was quite touching. Especially Beatrice being along for the ride.
Someone who, outside of Chise, maybe the only person who might be open about her past. A type of vulnerability that may seem like a weakness to everyone else, but I think Dorothy appreciates. After all, unlike the other girls, she wasn’t raised a spy. For a good part of her life she had a loving home and when she didn’t, the memory was still strong enough to not die and fade away. So to hide her true self away and not open up in this very triggering period would have been difficult.
A New Beginning Stopped By a Tragic End: Danny, Beatrice, Dorothy
Just as things were looking up for Danny, he meets his end. He thinks with getting the money from the Duke of Normandy he can seal the progress he has made with Daisy and will earn her back. He’ll make up for all he has done, thanks to his rubbish life, and buy her dresses, show her off, and be that father she used to know. However, him trying to be greedy, making sure his daughter gets a good cut out of this deal, leads him to get killed.
Something Daisy doesn’t learn about for she was just told to wait at a bar. A place where the debt collectors who stalk Danny find Daisy and Beatrice and think they’re supposed to be Danny’s payment. Leading to Daisy thinking she was betrayed until she whoops all three of their asses and they reveal how he begged them to not take his daughter.
Making it so, as she waits for her father at the pub, thinking he’ll come in and share a drink, ready to start over, she takes solace in Beatrice’s singing. First in her father’s voice, then in her own. She sings the song her father used to sing when he would put Daisy to sleep. Thus ending the episode in a somber tone as he is pushed into the morgue.
Have you ever felt with some shows that it would purely be a means of entertainment? That is, it wouldn’t necessarily be mindless but you wouldn’t be all up in your emotions? That is how I felt about Princess Principal. I was expecting quality action, maybe a few twists here and there, but I was completely caught off guard with how Danny’s death made me feel.
Mostly because everyone else’s backstory has been presented in a lackluster fashion. Beatrice’s story, as sad as it was, didn’t have any oomph. Neither did Chise, who also had daddy issues, and I’m still not 100% sure what is going on between Ange and Charlotte. So for Dorothy, of all people, to pull out a tear jerker left me so vulnerable.
Yet, here comes the problem with that: Now I have expectations. Before this episode, I really didn’t think much of Princess Principal. Its timeline was all over the place, it has been dragging these character backgrounds out, and I’m not even the least bit sure what the end game is? If only because, I don’t feel convinced that we’ll see Charlotte ascend to the throne by the time this is over. Never mind the Kingdom and Commonwealth reconciling. So what are we working towards here? What is the purpose of all these missions in the long run? Just providing some B-Story for us to get to know the girls?
With this being the halfway mark, let’s hope Dorothy has started something which will consistently continue rather than be a high point before the show barrels down a hill.
- The first emotional background story of the season.