Episode 9 of Yuri on Ice was underwhelming overall, but not bad.
This week Victor went back to Japan to tend to his dog, leaving Yuri to a different coach for the Free program. We saw all of the performances, and the win.. Didn’t really feel earned.
Mid performance, Yuri messes up. He’s monologuing, and he acknowledges that when he’s thinking, he messes up. But he doesn’t stop talking to himself. The performance had an effortless feel to it, like he wasn’t trying very hard. Moments after seeing Yurio give his all, we have Yuri too engrossed in his own head to go all out like he should be. And while it could be romantic that he’s thinking of Viktor, and he feels like he cant perform very well without viktor there to support him, there should have been at least a little fire behind his skate, because there’s been hints (and viktor kinda said it) that if he doesn’t make the grand prix then their coach/student relationship is over.
As a viewer I didn’t feel the kind of desperation we’ve felt from him in the past, to put on a good show and try his best. Especially with the music supposed to have represented his journey and growth as a skater.. You mellow out the second your coach isn’t there? The way he was talking towards the end of the routine, he knew he wasn’t trying as hard, and I was expecting him to pull out the Quad Flip again, but no. it ended… on the fish face. The fish face returned. And not the fish face, then zoom in to see him all out of breath, we got 2 fish faces. Could they not use the out of breath close-up because he wasn’t out of breath? Maybe!
It feels like a step back but also an important step back he acknowledged it. he knew he wasn’t nailing it. and a scrape by win.. Its hard to be proud of that..
As for underwhelming performances, JJ.. It felt very different from last episodes. There wasn’t as much arrogance in the skate, or that ‘King JJ’ attitude. During his monologue there were a few sentences, but overall it was.. Underwhelming. For a character moving into the Grand Prix, he has an extreme lack of backstory. Although the added episodes he is in may be the time to reveal his backstory, but with the other skaters we’ve gotten at least a hint of their story.
Seung Gil Lee, the Korean skater, obviously he was shaken up by something that affected him pre-skate, and to mess up his routine, but we never find out what. He was more or less passed over.
The dynamic between Sala and her brother, is something to contrast Yuri and Viktor too. Mickey was ‘rejected’ by his sister, the girl he openly loves(in a family friendly way of course) and instead of using that pain as an excuse to flub his routine, he imbues so much of his love for her into the routine she physically starts crying. It’s a physical representation as to what Yuri should have done. Added to that, they both received the exact same final score, but Yuri was chosen because of his higher standing in the china cup. It was like an undeserving win.. He didn’t win his spot in the Russia cup, he won it because of the china cup, where he had Viktor. It just leaves you with a sour note.
Yurio! The spicy meatball and star of the episode. This kid, oh this kid! His spunk and his attitude and his fresh frames are a sight to behold. And his smile!
He has such a nice smile.
Yurio this episode beat his personal best, and was angry at Yuri, for good reason. Here Yurio was, literally pushing himself for 6 jumps in the second half, with 8 in total, literally dry heaving after his performance, and Yuri’s.. Not trying as hard. Its still the one sided battle of the Yuri’s. Yurio sees Yuri as a rival, and he’s not getting that rivalry back.
They two end up somewhat friends at the end, with Yurio having Yuri try the pirozki katsudon his grandpa made. It’s a cute moment.
The animation of Yurios performance was really a cherry on top. He wasn’t stingbeany, his hair as in a ponytail, (very Viktor like) and you could feel that desperation to win, to one up JJ and Yuri, and neither of them really acknowledged his efforts.. Which is kinda sad..
Overall, im disappointed in Yuri, in his overall attitude this episode. But I think that was the point. I think we were supposed to see the effect Viktor had on Yuri, or how the lack of Viktors love and support affected him. He was a hugging zombie afterwards. He was low on Viktors hug! So he hugged every other skater to get his fill. It was quite cute.
And the ending, of course. The marriage proposal and the crying, it was all felt so couple-y. like you cant say that there are not feelings there, like at all anymore. romantic or otherwise, those two are in love. To hear that Viktor essentially never wants to leave Yuri.. Its so sweet and such a heart squeeze. Its a continuation of the “when i open up, he meets me there” line from episode 3
So the whole episode as underwhelming, and I wasn’t expecting anything really different with Viktor being gone. The theme is love, and the source of that theme is gone, so they showed the absence of love, followed by Sala and Mickey succeeding ‘without love’ or ‘on their own’. I hope with this development Yurio has gotten the anger out of his system, and will be the best man at Vikturis wedding.
p.s. Happy Belated Birthday to Yuri!! 24 years young! I wish it was on the actual Wednesday, not the day before, but what can ya do. They mention his birthday in the show, but as a future event. Any Viktor planned surprises~~
Thanks for reading!