A flashback episode (kind of).
(Spoilers in this review)
And the episode isn’t too out of place considering how Eric, the ill-fated “defector” from episode 1, expressed surprise over something that a lot of viewers probably had in mind: a princess is actually a spy? Thus this episode, which chronologically happens after the first episode, explains how this came to be.
The episode opens with Ange transferring into Queen’s Mayfair School so she can take the place of Princess and serve as a mole in the royal family. Dorothy and Ange end up meeting at the roof in order to discuss the details of the mission. Afterwhich, Ange decides they should attend a dance in order to launch a surprise attack.
However, Dorothy and Ange end up receiving another emergency order alongside Operation: Changeling. In order to successfully complete this new mission, which entails preventing a man named Morgan from giving the Duke of Normandy a key, Ange befriends the Princess and then takes impersonates her in order to get the key from Morgan.
It turns out that Princess knows the two girls are actually spies. Apparently Princess wants to become the Queen, but she is fourth-in-line to succeed the throne. As a result, she offers them a deal: she’ll work with them and they’ll help her to become the Queen. Tensions run high as Ange tries to get her superiors to agree to the deal while the Duke of Normandy starts searching everyone. In the end, however, Ange’s superiors agree, Princess takes the key for herself and walks away from being searched, and both missions are successfully completed. However, her superiors are left worried over how Princess knew Dorothy and Ange are spies.
The episode ends with Ange and the Princess meeting at the school rooftop, much like how Ange met up with Dorothy earlier in the episode. Several things are revealed in quick succession: Ange was the one who told Princess that they were actually spies, Ange’s real name is Charlotte (and it seems like Princess’ real name is Ange), and the two of them knew each other 10 years ago. I talk more about this over here.
As I stated earlier, I think a flashback episode at this point of time is inoffensive and safe. There was little momentum after the first episode, which was essentially self-contained, so it was as good as a time as any for some ‘splaining to happen.
I was particularly impressed with the slow camera pans and the swooping camera angles (as if the characters were dancing and rotating in and out of your point-of-view).
Something interesting to note is how Ange and Princess were both so confident that Ange’s superiors would accept the Princess’ deal. As Ange claims that the two girls are opposites, I guess their shared ability to read others serves as something to bridge the two girls. Admittedly, the fact that this is a flashback episode keeps the tension low(er) considering how the viewer already knows that the Princess will join their ranks, but it was a thrilling episode nonetheless. Both Ange and Princess have stated that they will kill each other if need be, but I wonder if that will actually come to pass. Or if that was just a pretense in order to get Princess on-board.
With two self-contained episodes in a row, I am a bit worried of how Princess Principal will progress from here. I predict it’ll be another flashback episode to show how Chise joins the spy organization (I hope I’m wrong). Still, I am enjoying the show thus far and that’s largely due to its strong writing, proper fanservice, and characters with depth.
THIS is what a spy thriller should look like. Joker Game, you’re a joke.
Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.
EDIT: each episode features case numbers. Episode 1 was case13 Wired Liar. This episode was case1 Dancy Conspiracy. We anachronic order here, maybe?