“Everybody Wants to Be My Enemy” tees up another big closer for the second Act, as the sisterly feud at the show’s core heats up and war seems likelier than ever.
This recap of Arcane season 1, episode 5, “Everybody Wants to Be My Enemy”, contains spoilers.
Arcane is nothing new. It’s wading in fantasy and sci-fi waters that have been thoroughly explored before, and while its worldbuilding is dense and expansive, it’s built on constituent parts that most of us are familiar with. This, in a way, works to the show’s benefit, because the effectiveness with which it leverages familiar material is more apparent. We’ve seen, for instance, a character like Caitlyn before, a well-meaning member of an obviously corrupt and dangerous organization trying to do right by the people. Marcus, and by extension Silco, controls most of the Enforcer’s operations now, and Caitlyn realizes quickly in “Everybody Wants to Be My Enemy” that lots is happening without any official approval or record. That includes the incarceration and torture of Vi.
Arcane season 1, episode 5 recap
Of course, Caitlyn needs Vi to track down Jinx, and since an Enforcer wouldn’t exactly be able to investigate unmolested in the Undercity, she lets Vi go. For Caitlyn, the preservation of her people, of the city, is the long-term goal, allowing her to make short-term sacrifices secure in the knowledge they’re for the right reason. Jayce is very much the same up in Piltover; he believes in the city, he believes in his research, so he’s determined to do right by both despite the pressures from people like Viktor to press on half-cocked. What is quickly emerging is another theme, that of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, looking the other way regarding matters of corruption so as not to paint a target on one’s own back, even if it means becoming part of the problem.
Arcane does a good job of making its politics interesting by keeping them rooted in character. Much like how Jayce helpfully cracks a window into the upper echelons of Piltover’s governance, Vi does the same thing with the Undercity and its own complex internal politics, especially given the time that has passed between Acts. We also see that passage of time in Jinx, who is almost literally baptized by Silco here – the sense of a charismatic man manipulating a vulnerable woman is deeply felt, being weirdly reminiscent of Joker and Harley Quinn (at least for me). Jinx is barely holding things together; the angry kid, desperate to please, that we met in the first Act isn’t much different from the version of the character we see here – she’s just closer to the edge, more adrift in her own psyche and more tightly ensnared by those who would use her to do others harm.
Case in point: In trying to track Silco and Jinx down, Vi is stabbed by Sevika, and only saved from death by Caitlyn. Having learned of Jinx’s relationship with Silco, and with Sevika returning to inform Silco of Vi’s survival, the stage has really been set for Act 2’s finale.