Hello and Welcome to a review of what many consider a midpoint for the series: Punished
The show has three distinct portions to it: A section with Oscar, a Weiss section and a section continuing the fight with Tyrian. This itself is a bit of a problem as it kills the momentum built up by the fight in the last episode but the sections with Oscar and Weiss do build the story.
First, the section with Oscar. Oscar is currently revolting against Ozpin’s intrusion into his mind but Ozpin says that their aura and soul are one including memories. In addition, Ozpin says that Oscar has a role to play. This segment’s impact is dampened a bit by not having a visible representation of Ozpin to work against. In most narratives with alternative personalties or souls, they either make the other soul an ethereal body to communicate and react to or they have the same body but different voices come out of it. Not doing either option dampens the interactions as there is no real presence to bounce off of. In addition, when Ozpin is questioning Oscar about the Headmaster Room of Haven, they missed a chance to do a sweep transition with Oscar’s room slowly transitions into the headmaster room until Oscar gets snapped out. In terms of visual impact, it would have more clearly shown the impact of Ozpin’s intrusion into the mind and made for a visually interesting scene instead of the rotational pan they did.
The second section with Weiss has a lot of narrative meat to it. Weiss actively is stating that she wants to leave Atlas and that she is the real Schnee, not the father who married into the family. Jacque counters by not only forcing her to stay on the manor grounds but also transferring the ownership interest of the company from Weiss to Whitley. From a script perspective, this is interesting narrative as Weiss is dissociated from her family and the source of her name’s prestige and toward battle and the frontline. From a presentation standpoint, it’s lacking. The discussion scene with Jacque and Weiss is simple cut to cut side view of the faces. Compare this to the opening scene of “The Social Network” where even when the camera is focusing on one of the speakers, it is still facing the person with the other person framing the speaker in the shot. Here, it’s a bland presentation of side shots of faces though when both Jacque and Weiss are both in frame, there is use of posing and motion to convey power in the scene. A similar issue occurs between the scene with Whitley and Weiss where the camera is uninteresting and doesn’t enhance the power struggle between the individuals as it is mostly flat forward facing shots without the other person framing the shot. Another issue is the lack of nuance or real character beside evil that Whitley and Jacque have. There is no real character behind them, only the idea of hinderance against Weiss and not for any real explained reason that is rooted in character.
The final section and the one that disappoints me the most is the fight between Qrow and Tyrian. First off, compared to reference films like “Hero” or “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, the flow of the battle is completely off, the music doesn’t enhance the pattern of trading of blows and the movements seem far too staggered for there to be connecting rhythm to it. In addition, there is a shot when Qrow and Tyrian are charging each other that cuts to a axis reversal that disorients. However, there are other shots with both fighters in frame that have clear geography and smooth transition of position. What the main issue is when they cut too often and too early out of those shots. Instead of having a continuous shot of Tyrian firing his tail and disarming Qrow, we have three cuts and no repeat shot to increase the power of the disarm like in professional films. There is also a cut too early when Qrow is punching Tyrian in the face which dulls the impact.
After the fight, we get some foreshadowing with Qrow asking Ruby “what’s your favorite fairy tale”. This implies some sort of connection to mythos in a narrative sense but a personal concern is if the writers can pull it off.
In the end, the narrative in terms of the script is stronger than the previous seasons but the action and camera is weaker to the point of being amateurish.