I forgot how frustrating justice-seeking dramas can be, and Theseus no Fune is starting to test my patience.
To be fair, i knew acquitting someone, especially after 31 long years, wasn’t gonna be easy. The more if the real perp were someone powerful. But who the culprit is is the bigger mystery here, and i thought this drama would be more about identifying who that is rather than fighting for Sano’s innocence. At least, i thought Shin would gather enough inklings in the past to help him to set Dad free in the present. And i thought we’d spend more time in 1989 than in 2020, but so far, it’s been 50:50. The plot holes are also getting bigger they’re harder to ignore.
For instance, while it’s reasonable for the police to suspect Shin, it’s actually easy to prove his innocence since he had a strong alibi when the second girl went missing and the newspaperman allegedly took his own life, yet Sano who’s also a cop doesn’t say anything about it. Shin is also too impetuous and incautious, which not only lands him on the bad side of the townsfolk but also makes him an easy target… that he might very well be the scapegoat for the poisoning instead of Sano if he continued to stay there.
Like, i can’t believe he throws away his ID card and the clipping book in the open like that, giving away the fact that he comes from the future and the incident’s aftermath to whoever discovers them. And of course they fall into the wrong people’s hands. I can’t believe how easily he trusts Kanemaru-san (Santamaria Yusuke) — the detective who keeps a close eye on him — and confides in him either. My gut feelings tell me someone in the force (or the school) is involved in the grand scheme of things, that joining hands with him doesn’t seem a wise idea. But Kanemaru-san may actually be a good guy given how quickly he’s taken care of. Snap!
The past has certainly deviated a lot from the original timeline, but Theseus has been quite lenient regarding its time traveling rules. What brought Shin back to 1989 and what triggers him to zap forward to 2020 remain unclear, and there seems to be no restrictions as to how much he can reveal about his identity or future events (he already tells Sano everything by the end of episode 3) or repercussions for changing the past… until he returns to the present and gets hit by how much things have changed.
His timeline has gotten much worse that his family members who have survived until his time-slip are no longer around, his wife who already passed away is still alive (the kind of happening that’s always crazy to think about), and his newborn baby doesn’t even exist in the new present. Because now, he and Yuki are strangers. And the latter who used to be the first person believing in her father-in-law’s innocence now works as a journalist hounding Shin down for statements.
Fortunately, she’s quite open minded, that despite having been covering the news supporting Sano’s culpability, she’s willing to listen to Shin’s sentiments about Dad’s victimization then voluntarily stepping up to speak in front of the victim’s families of that possibility when Shin can’t bring himself to. Moreover, she agrees to meet with Sano in prison, which introduces her to the convicted’s perspective. Since then, she becomes Shin’s biggest supporter in fighting for Dad’s freedom.
Not that it makes things easier. Finding new evidence or witnesses after three full decades sounds impossible that Sano himself has resigned to his ill fate. And digging into the old case will not only aggravate the victims’ families but also subject the siblings to a fresh onslaught of scrutiny. The bigger problem is, doing so will destroy his sister’s newfound peaceful life, gained after changing her face* and name to Murata Ai (Kanjiya Shihori), as she’s married to Kato Mikio (Ando Masanobu) who’s wheelchair-bound due to the incident. Worse, her mother-in-law is Kimura Satsuki (Asou Yumi), the then-unassuming Satsuki-sensei who turns into an unnerving hag spying on her meek daughter-in-law. Yikes!
(*despite this claim, she looks exactly the same as she did in the opening scene of episode 1. Then, she didn’t even get rid of the scar on her face yet was still with Kimio, which i thought was the second child of the family, which means the latter knew about her identity?)
Which brings us to the second case of gaping plot hole. I can make sense of her personality change from her feisty tween days, and i can understand her reluctance to pursue to the truth after all this time, but not her doing Satsuki’s bidding that’s essentially stabbing Shin’s back. She consents to her brother gatecrashing the last annual gathering of remembrance even after knowing that her MIL is present, claiming that she’s ready to deal with the consequences when the plan may not be fruitful… yet cowers when Satsuki confronts her about it. Sigh. Yes, the creep blackmails her, but she shouldn’t fear it, especially NOT after hearing that a crucial witness has finally stepped forward and agreed to testify for Sano. Her words and actions don’t add up that i can’t decide who irks me more between these two.
I wonder what’s the deal with Satsuki, though. She seemed a harmless sensei back then but now is a bitter person monitoring Ai’s movement via hidden CCTV. Mikio isn’t her biological son and she ain’t directly affected by the incident yet she hates Sano so much that she’s willing to go as far as getting rid of anyone getting in the way of his execution. And while i don’t think she had a hand in the poisoning, her pulling strings behind the scenes suggests that she has something to hide.
Theseus certainly takes us on an emotional roller coaster so far. It showers us with heartwarming family moments in early episodes, wrings our tear ducts with Sano’s huge heart (those prison scenes, ugh), then frustrates us with how things play out in episode 5. It also baffles me that no one from the past timeline but Sano remembers seeing Shin before? When he stood out like a sore thumb despite his fleeting time at the village?
That key witness seems to be the last straw of hope, even if she only witnessed that Kanemaru-san wasn’t killed by Sano, that the latest development crushed both men deeply. I hope this case is investigated properly, though, because her death is obviously unnatural. However, all i could think of after the fact was that it’s time for Shin to slip back to the past again — if that were to happen again and Shin got to figure out how to. Because the altered present is way sadder and messier than before.
The only good things about is are perhaps the fact that Yuki is still alive and we can watch the should-have-been-spouses bond, and the rapport between the previously estranged father and son, heartbreaking notwithstanding.