Some characters die in long allegories, others in blazing glory — their very souls reflected in those fleeting last moments. Yet here we have a cold and distant death, placed off-screen: not once mentioned or alluded to, though the consequences are heartlessly pushed to the forefront of the characters’ lives.
Indeed, the trepidation afforded to me in the very first scene slowly accumulated into a stark horror as I realized that one of the most spartan and deadly characters was murdered and replaced with a pitiful replica. Yes, that staunch and insufferable Laura Bodewig has disappeared without a hint from the writers, supplanted by a far mimicry — only similar in shape and voice. The rest of the cast are not suspicious; perhaps lulled by the change in environment (the enchanting lure of the beach) despite her new incarnation upsetting the power balance in the struggle for Ichika.
This indelible development was such a startling change of pace that even now, a week after the fact, I am still at a loss of words. What this means for the future developments, only time will tell.