For a character who has had the amount of screen time Godzilla has, it’s still surprising that so many directors opt to keep him waiting in the wings and dramatically bide their time before wheeling out the titanic leading man for all of us to lay our eyes on.
Yes, Ishiro Hondo laid the groundwork by keeping the Big G a gargantuan enigma until the time was right, but other projects since then have drawn complaints about a sparce usage of all things Godzilla with the 2014 American version and the Netflix anime trilogy drawing the most fire.
Well, add Godzilla: Singular Point to the list as despite the odd blast of Akira Ifukube’s fanfare and a glimpse of the titular Kaiju in an alternate form that looks far more similar to Titanosaurus, we’ve waited seven whole episodes to get a glimpse of the big bastard himself and even then, we have to be content of almost a single shot during the pre credits sequence. Nearly 70 years in showbusiness and he’s still fashionably late?
The world is agog as the huge, aquatic creature that’s been chasing the snake-like Manda’s throughout the ocean finally catches and kills one and then, in a cloud of red dust, emerges on land and proceeds to switch to a form more suited to rampaging on solid ground. Elsewhere, yet more red dust is being scattered around the globe by countless Rodans as their numbers continue to swell and the seem to now be resistant to suddenly dying after spending a certain time in our atmosphere. Finally, the horned, brawny Salunga is still trying to punch it’s way out of the containment unit that’s stopping him from unleashing yet more red dust all over India and there’s only a bunch of rocket launching soldiers dangling precariously on ropes that’s standing in it’s way. So what are our scattered heroes doing about it? Having yet more discussions about time travel, alternate realities and theoretical weapons of course. However, despite my glib jab, it seems that seven episodes of scientific musing is getting ever closer to having an answer as a discussion between Mei and Li reveals that the confounding element known as archetypes are actually made from the red dust and they’ve been mined from special mineral veins called Singular Points (someone finally said the thing!). Furthermore, missing beardy weirdly Professor, Ashihara once predicted that destructive monsters would emerge from the red dust to wreak havoc and it falls in line with an ancient prophecy Mei is familiar with. The only thing that can halt the spread of the red dust is the mythical thirteenth and final stage of the architypes known as the Orthogonal Diagonalyzer, a state that cannot possibly exist this soon in history – but if that’s the case, why are the bigwigs in the Indian facility about to use something with that name against Salunga?
There is a lot to unpack in this episode with complex exposition, monster action and enticing set ups happening all over the place as all the pieces continue to be in a constant state of flux and the most important of these surely would have to be the first, proper glimpse of Godzilla; however, that’s pretty much all we get – a glimpse. Now don’t get me wrong, I grew up with Jaws and I appreciate a good slow burn as we build up to seeing the monstrous, toothy reason we’re all here, but even my patience is starting to get stretched thin at the time it’s taken to get the title character on screen. Elsewhere, the other monster characters are getting into position with yet more Rodans crop dusting the world with their crimson, sandy deposits (ew) and Salunga making a serious bid to escape his prison in India and it’s with this latter thread that we find most of the action. Watching the hefty, swole, reptile try to climb out of his pit while troop impotently firing rockets at the guy as he scales the structure evokes thoughts of King Kong and it by far the most significant sequence of the episode mainly for the introduction of the Orthogonal Diagonalyzer (which is a phrase I’m already sick of typing). Not only is this important because, according to the wall of exposition unleashed by Mei and Li this episode, such a component shouldn’t exist yet, but, in a neat touch, the makers of the show have made the thing look highly reminiscent of the Oxygen Destroyer that wiped out Godzilla in his debut movie. Elsewhere, other intriguing things lie with the Otaki Factory gang, who, after rebuilding Jet Jaguar (again!) have not only downloaded Yun’s A.I., Naratake, into the gangly robot, but also kitted him out with a sick spear made out of one of Anguirus’ spikes, thus making him the coolest he’s looked in fifty years.
However, even the might of Godzilla, Salunga, Jet Jaguar, Manda and a horde of Rodans isn’t enough to stop the episode getting swamped by not only the reoccurring issue of exposition that stops the show’s momentum dead, but there’s a bunch of subplots that’s now suddenly sprung up around the show’s utterly forgettable supporting cast that just makes things even denser. Yes, I’ve gone on and on about the science-speak for seven episodes now, but, as I stated in the review from the previous episode, at least it’s starting to crest, finally offering explanations as to what and why things are happening despite still being one step removed from being utter gobbledegook.
No, the real problem in this episode is that a bunch of outlining characters suddenly become important without any warning whatsoever and any impact these twists might have had are lost as we struggle to remember who the hell they actually are.
The droopy-eyed BB giving Salunga a face full of Orthogonal Diagonalyzer, which solidifies the red dust into spikes that manages to prolong its containment, is a legitimately badass moment, I’ll admit. But the scene where Sato (remember him?) is knocked out by Kai (remember him?) after discovering that it’s the giant skeleton that’s somehow been broadcasting the old folk music that’s started everything off sort of buries the lead as you’re trying to remember what plot points these little used characters are actually connected with.
As per usual, we have yet another episode that smothers its Kaiju moments with an overindulgence of plot and while the sight of Jet Jaguar twirling his Anguirus spear like a martial arts master is the gift I never knew I needed, the chances of Singular Point ever finding the sense of balance it so desperately needs is feeling ever more remote.