Episode 4 – Spy×Family – Anime News Network

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Spy×Family ?

Community score: 4.7

elegance in the extreme/gives style to the hours/of coaxing warmth outta/no where

Thus spoke Ntozake Shange in her poem elegance in the extreme, and if Henry Henderson, a teacher at Eden College, had a theme poem, this would be it. The man’s obsession with elegance in all forms (including the extreme) is unrivaled by almost everything else anyone could be obsessed with, and as it turns out, Anya’s future – and therefore the future of Operation Strix – is entirely dependent upon whether or not she and her parents can live up to Henderson’s ideals of elegance.

Whether they’d want to under other circumstances probably doesn’t even bear asking, because Eden College’s ruthless interview process is pretty much the answer to that in and of itself. We’re talking about an academy that judges people not just by how appropriately they’re dressed, but also by how perfectly they comport themselves when merely walking onto school grounds – all while actively setting traps for the unsuspecting applicants. I know I wouldn’t want to send my kid to a school that seeks to punish people for stopping to help a child stuck in a gutter because they got their clothes dirty, and by the end of the episode, it seems like Loid is having some serious second thoughts about it as well. Not that he hasn’t fully prepared for every eventuality (including getting their clothes dirty), although given that each suit he whips out after a misadventure grows increasingly formal – and, dare I say, elegant – he might have simply been taking into account any dress codes that might crop up. But the actual interview portion of the episode makes him do something that he clearly never even considered would happen: act like a dad.

Honestly, I’d hope that any adult would get face-punching mad at a jerk making a small child cry, but the scene of Loid and Yor going full momma bear on the repulsive Mr. Swan is significant because they’re both fully aware that they’re putting on a deliberate show for Eden College. Yor has been specifically recruited for the purpose of being Anya’s mom at the interview and Loid’s mission hangs on Anya getting accepted to the school. So if they were simply following their own playbook (or at least Twilight’s playbook), they would have sat tight or responded with something other than rage. But he did, and when Loid ushers his wife and daughter out of the interview room, telling the teachers over his shoulder that he wouldn’t send his child to any school that toyed with their emotions like Swan did to Anya, it’s an incredible moment, because it’s when he fully admits that being Anya’s father may actually be more important than an easy route to Donovan Desmond. He may not have set out to become a dad, but in that instant, it’s 100% who he is.

It’s also a great indicator of how neatly SPY x FAMILY can change the tenor of an episode. Prior to the advent of Mr. Swan things were much more on the goofy side of things, culminating in the school farm animals, led by a cow with Batman eyes, breaking out of their stables. Everyone in the Forger family gets to strut their stuff in a way that complements each other: Loid saves a kid from the cow, Yor knocks the cow down, and Anya soothes the cow into returning to her barn. The family that subdues bovines together is surely one that will stay together – especially when they have more than enough changes of outfit to make up for anything that may be stuck on said cow’s horns. We saw this starting last week, but the whole cow fiasco (with bonus ostrich) really drives home how much of a real family the Forgers actually are, even if none of them, Anya included, quite trusts that they are. That they send Henderson into some sort of elegance seizure is just the icing on the cake…or maybe the icing is when Henderson elegantly punches Swan?

Either way, there are more important things than getting into Eden College. I’m sure our super spy can figure things out.

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Spy×Family is currently streaming on
Crunchyroll.

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