In the year 2036 that Suzuha knows SERN maintains control over the world with a dystopia created through the use of time travel. But still with this against them, there are those who resist and Suzuha was one such person before she found the time machine her father left behind.
As she explains all of this in the present she and Kurisu expose the names that they use on message boards while they already knew Okabe’s, and she goes on to tell them that in the future Kurisu is heralded as the mother of the time machine while Okabe founded a resistance movement, however by the year 2036 they’re both dead. She also tells them of a way in which they can cross the divergence line, they need to hack into SERN and delete the message which indicates their discovery, in short to a world line where they never completed a time machine. To do this though they will need an IBM 5100, but before Suzuha can go back to 1975 for one, they find that her time machine has broken down and what’s more, the police have found the rope they used and have moved in to investigate. So in order to buy Kurisu and Suzuha some time to get away, Okabe provides a distraction in his usual eccentric way. In which time Kurisu convinces Suzuha to take her hand.
Following this they deduce that it was damaged on the night that Okabe tailed her and as they’re running out of time, they decide to have Okabe time leap as far back as he can, and as he does this he sees it as a mission to save Mayuri. Having arrived back he then leads his fellow lab members to Suzuha’s time machine, which Hashida agrees to fix if it means a date with Ferris, while Kurisu works on the time leap machine, and Mayuri takes it upon herself to find Suzuha’s father. And as he works on repairing it, Hashida finds the interior to be familiar and he and Suzuha talk about her father. Some time after this, Suzuha returns to the lab to find Okabe and return the divergence meter to its rightful owner and the one who’ll actually be able to use it. However he’s disgusted in himself for living on after Mayuri died but she reminds him of the goodwill he would have had.
The next day the two of them go around the streets of Akihabara asking anyone if they recognise the badge, and on one such person Okabe is able to use his fantastic english skills to introduce himself as a Mad Scientist but the guy happens to be able to speak Japanese. But still, at the end of the day they don’t really have much to show for it and Okabe has to convince her to keep going, and soon after this they bump into Mayuri who’s been handing out pamphlets of the badge explaining that it belongs to a kidnapper, which has unfortunately drawn the attention of the police. They then all make their way back to the radio building where Hashida is on the verge of completing the repairs and even hits on Suzuha. After this they have lunch together, Suzuha tells Okabe how she was afraid of this peaceful past and thanks him, also entrusting him with saving the future, and as the episode ends Okabe receives a call from a street vendor about the badge’s owner.
Another fairly solid episode, while it managed to do quite a lot for Suzuha’s character, I was starting to wonder how they were going to shift the world lines and at the same time why Okabe wasn’t really making full use of the time leap machine (even if the it was just to get a more stable result). Going further back just seemed like an obvious way to save Mayuri and shifting from the alpha world line to the beta world line would have had to be something big.
But at the same time it could simply be something small that would just have a great impact on the future, so there could have been quite a few possibilities for what it could be. However from what Suzuha had said earlier it seemed kind of obvious, that the most recent way to cause this shift was the creation of a working time machine in 2010. So this presented two possibilities, either they make it so they never built a time machine (more accurately finding out what the phone microwave does), therefore eliminating the problem and any connection to them all together. Or they would have to find a way to ensure that SERN never found out about them, or they’d have to find a way to ensure that SERN never found out about them. And while it did go for the latter it became apparent they would need the IBM 5100 again, which just seems to ask another question, just who took the one they had before?
For what it was I also liked the look that we got of the future that Suzuha is from, from what we’ve heard her say about it there were easily quite a few things we could assume about it, that SERN maintained control through the use of a time machine and brainwashing people. But up until now we hadn’t really seen it, and even then the idea of an unwinnable struggle like this where a young member of the resistance is forced to travel back in time is almost enough to make for a decent story on its own. Suzuha would even give it a fairly solid protagonist given her search for her father, providing something personal as well as the overarching mission to stop SERN. However with all of that I kind of had mixed feelings about her relation to the future Okabe, on one side I kind of like how she’s meeting the guy she must have looked up to in his younger days, him unaware of what he’ll do one day, but on the other I was kind of expecting her to already know him.
Finally I also loved the part of this episode where they searched for Suzuha’s father, it may have been kind of irrelevant to what was at hand but either way this question needs to be answered at some point, and while who he is may be kind of obvious at this point leaving it open would just leave a bitter taste. And if that wasn’t enough we were also able to see those lighthearted antics that have been missing in the past few episodes, allowing us to see things like Okabe speaking English (which almost made me burst out laughing), and that Mayuri, as good-hearted as she is, was labeling the owner of the badge a criminal at the same time. However it seems that there’s something that they’re not exactly taking into account, Suzuha is from the year 2036 so unless he’s hanging around the present, her father would be a good 26 years younger than what they’re expecting him to be.