Part 97: Part Ninety-Seven: Variations on a Scene (Oath by the Sea)Part Ninety-Seven: Variations on a Scene (Oath by the Sea)
Having followed Angelo to the flower field, it's time for a somewhat lengthy cutscene. It starts with whichever non-Rinoa party member is at the top of your party making some comments.
Irvine's scene starts with Irvine babbling about something that's not immediately clear.
: See this bruise here? I had to put up with Rinoa's kicks and punches for you.
She beat you up because you're a prick, not out of love for Squall.
If your party is Rinoa and Irvine, there's a little exchange here:
: I'm sorry, Irvine.
: Hey, don't worry about it.
And that's the end of Irvine's scene! If you don't bring Rinoa, there's always a throwaway line about going to get her. Anyway, I started with Irvine's scene because it's the least substantial (read: worst) of all of them. I think it's just a symptom of Irvine being the least integrated party member. There are some interesting directions they could have taken him in after Deling City, but he mainly ends up as "guy who does something or is in a location".
The next version of the scene is with Zell.
: About what?
Zell apologising to Squall who doesn't understand the scene is a good gag.
Then he comes in with a little bit of the ol' racism. Dammit, Zell.
: What about you, Zell? That girl in the library...?
: What!? I don't know what you're talking about!
I think this is the only place Zell's little romance subplot is explicitly mentioned in the story, and as far as I know the scene isn't any different if you don't get the scenes with Booyaka. I like that it is mentioned, though, because it grounds Zell in the world a little more. You can also compare this to Irvine's scene and look at the small play of Squall's personality against Zell's, a guy who tries to be professional against a guy who's basically just a high schooler, and it's a nice two-line interaction.
Speaking of Zell being basically just a high schooler, he immediately tries to play off liking a girl. And that's the end of that scene!
: Get what?
: I never imagined you two would end up together. I mean... You guys are complete opposites. So I didn't think Rinoa's straight-forward approach would work.
Selphie's scene is like Zell's, a little bit of fun. She's also acting like she hasn't been trying to set Squall and Rinoa up for a while.
With everyone except Irvine, there's a little bit of high school gossip here.
I think this line is sweet. It also reminded me that the first time I played this game, I thought there was a Selphie-Irvine love story in the background, but now I see that, no, that's just Irvine hitting on Selphie while she completely ignores him.
And now for our last party member scene, featuring Quistis Trepe.
: Yeah, the flower field... I forgot all about this place.
It's likely that the player has never seen the flower field before this scene. The entrance isn't obvious and there's never any reason to come here.
Quistis delivers a little bit of wisdom to Squall, since she likes to do that.
And then she, uh, gets a bit weird.
: The only issue was whether you would make a place for her... And you did, pretty quickly.
In the other scenes here, Rinoa has a back-and-forth with party member #3, but this is her only line to Quists. Quistis and Squall actually have a fairly close relationship.
Yeah, then you wouldn't have been able to awkwardly hit on your student. Would have been a real tragedy.
And so, whichever party member you took with you also leaves.
BUT! There's one other thing to see, which happens if you take two non-Rinoa party members with you to the flower field.
In this scene, Squall stares very intently at a dog.
: (Nothing about the sorceress, huh? I'm sure she's trying not to think about it.)
While he's contemplating, Rinoa shows up.
She just leaves him to his thoughts. I like this little moment of thought, it's nice to see Squall considering others. "Rinoa's just Rinoa" is also a good line to lead into the scene coming up.
Now, let's get to the main attraction.
This is a very good question, and one we don't have an answer to right now.
Great answer, hoss. Good work.
: There've been many good sorceresses. Edea was one. You can be like her.
"Please, please do not mention the murder attempts."
Rinoa's not swayed.
This is still a problem, and it's not one we've made any forward movement on since we first heard of it.
: You saw me. She controlled me in outer space and made me break Adel's seal. What might happen next time? What will I end up doing?
Well, on the plus side, it probably won't be worse.
This is probably why she wasn't swayed by the argument of "be like Edea." A major point from the flashback at Trabia was that the SeeDs couldn't think of a better plan than to just kill her anyway. Getting sealed up might have been a horrible fate, but it's a better plan than letting herself be responsible for Ultimecia killing a bunch of people.
Squall doesn't have a real answer to this.
: (Even if you end up as the world's enemy, I'll...)
Instead of an answer and a plan, he makes this resolution to just stick by someone no matter what. This is probably something you can see coming from miles out, thematically, and builds on Squall carrying Rinoa to Esthar and following her into space.
He, uh, didn't say that out loud, though, so she's still hanging here.
And there's the elephant in the room.
: And the leader of SeeD is you, Squall...
It's a tight spot to be in!
: I guess it's ok if it's you, Squall. Nobody else.
Squall is also upset about the idea that he'll have to kill someone he loves. This contrasts against the realisation that Edea wasn't evil, when the SeeDs unanimously decided that it didn't matter and they'd fight her anyway. It's a much more personal decision. It's also a break with his job as a SeeD. Way back when Cid made Squall SeeD boss at FH, he was wondering what he'd do if he quit SeeD and it tears him up. Here, he makes that kind of decision without hesitation.
: My enemy is the sorceress from the future... Ultimecia.
This isn't really about this scene, but I was thinking about Ultimecia being from the future and I kind of like it as a reversal of the more common concept of some evil that was sealed years ago and is now coming back into the world. On another note, Ultimecia works as an embodiment of the uncertainty of the future and the need to face that. Ultimecia possessing people is also part of that - it represents the fear that people you care about will change.
: She uses my body as her extension in this world. How? How will you save me?
And here, Rinoa gives voice to the concern that there might not be anything Squall can do to prevent her from "changing."
This is a symbolic gesture more than a practical one. It's no plan at all.
: Well, until you find a way, maybe... Maybe I should stay at Esthar, at that memorial? Wouldn't that be better?
On the other hand, the prospect of Rinoa being sealed represents running away from change and trying to "freeze" the present forever. An attempt to maintain the status quo endlessly, or to remove yourself from the whole setting, rather than take a chance.
: I'll just end up going after you again.
Squall used to be all about maintaining the status quo but, again, he breaks away here.
: Oh... Those words!
Squall's line here recalls this:
But he doesn't.
: You don't remember?
: Something I said?
: Oh, just forget it!
He's way ahead of you there.
Yeah, I have a feeling she's gonna be hearing this one a lot. "Forgot your birthday? Nah, no, I've just been using a lot of GFs lately."
He picks up on the change in her body language and tone here. Earlier in the game, he probably wouldn't have noticed or cared.
We've covered a lot of ground so far, but there's a second half to this scene.
The theme of this half is Rinoa talking about her dream where all her teeth fell out and she couldn't fit in her car.
Even in their dreams, these people will not let Squall sleep.
: I get dressed up and put on your ring. But the thing is, I can't remember where I'm supposed to meet you.
She probably forgot because of GFs.
Oh, you ran from Timber to Balamb? BS. You took the train. Try again.
: When I realize I can't run any longer... I...I just want to see you so badly...
: I'm sorry. You don't have to say anything. I just felt like I had to tell you.
: It was just a dream... It doesn't mean anything.
It is CANON that Squall does not believe in dream analysis!
: Don't worry about it.
: ...I guess you're right.
Suddenly not feeling content with this conclusion to the "Rinoa's dream" saga, Squall starts on this.
This line might seem familiar to you. This is probably because you're a human being and someone has likely said these words to you in your life! But also:
That's right! The text from the intro is taken from this scene, with some minor changes to punctuation.
: The reason why you couldn't find me was because we haven't promised yet.
These two lines aren't in the intro.
But all of this is.
And so, they make a promise, which is a very important thing to do if you love someone and you live inside a Japanese story, as near as I can tell. Anyway, it's a commitment, and that's important.
: Thanks, Squall! Next time, we'll meet for sure!
Well, that was a sweet little moment, and I'm sure it's leading to something romantic.