“But then there’s the preview for episode 10, wherein Yuri talks to Viktor about giving him “something round and golden.” Surely, that implies a gold medal in Barcelona, and it could mean absolutely nothing else. Nope, no sirree. Especially something like, oh, I dunno… a gold wedding ring. They’d never get away with that.”
Um… you’ll see why I brought that up in a moment.
Everyone’s now settled into Barcelona for the big event coming up, and Viktor’s taking the moment to have a swim, pondering to himself about the two things he’s neglected himself for over 20 years: life and love. But no time for that, Christophe’s here to take a swim as well. And maybe take some shots of one another… as in, picture shots, not those other kind of, oh never mind. Now, normally I refrain from using some of the more colorful language in our collective lexicon, but there are always some exceptions to the rule, and in this one exception, I have to just come out with it: Christophe is one real hot son of a bitch. I’ll redirect you all to watch the first few minutes of this episode, just to see for yourself. Yurio’s not having quite the same experience, though, because as he’s checking into the hotel, he’s accosted by, of course, his legion of fangirls, and even JJ and his lady love, making note that his fans are much more respectable. Yurio, dapper as he is, defends his fanbase with the following eloquent statement: “Don’t diss my fans and call them ugly, you ugly-ass bitch!” Eloquent. And as for Yuri, laying in bed in a half-asleep daze, he ponders what’s coming up and his own chances of success, only before both Viktor and Christophe barge in for a dogpile. After swimming, they’re both pretty cold, so you know what they say, body heat works wonders.
Now, to bring everyone up to speed, here are our six competitors for the Grand Prix Final event: Christophe, from Switzerland; Yurio, from Russia; JJ, from Canada; Yuri, from Japan; Phichit, from Thailand; and someone we’ve seen pop up only a couple times so far, a man named Otabek Altin, from Kazakhstan. I’d look out for him, he could be an odds-maker favorite.
After a long day of practice, Yuri decides that he wants to sightseeing through the city. So what do Viktor and Yuri do? They go on a date through the streets of Barcelona. Really, they do the usual date-like things; go shopping, have a lunch together, see the sights of the city, all of that jazz. Like boyfriends do. Yurio, however, isn’t having a similar time in the city, as he’s trying to get away from his fangirls. But here comes Otabek, to save the day and take him to safety on his motorbike. Both dapper gents spend some time talking and catching up on lost time; see, the two of them knew each other from years prior, under Yakov’s tutelage. Looking out at the city, Otabek simply asks Yurio, “Are you going to become friends with me or not?” Yurio shakes his hand, and a new ship is—I mean, a new friendship is born.
Evening has fallen, and both Yuri and Viktor are still out on the town, ready to head back. Yuri, however, has other plans. Yuri’s eyes are roaming through the shops, until he finds… a jewelry store? And he buys… a… and then… a-and then… ohhhhmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodOHMYFREAKINGGODTHISISHAPPENING. I… uh… Yuri… and Viktor… exchange gold wedding rings… and they… put them on each other’s fingers… I’m sorry, I need a minute. Excuse me.
[actual happy crying break]
Okay, I’m all better now. So, uh… ahem, yeah, Yuri and Viktor give each other gold rings, placed on their right ring fingers, serving, as Yuri made it out to say, as a good luck charm of sorts, something for him to glance at and bring him to victory. But, COME ON, we know what you’re doing, show. It’s about as subtle a metaphor as a superkick to the face; hell, one shot, if you look in close enough, where Yuri is buying said ring says, on the receipt, that it’s an honest to goodness wedding ring. And later on in the episode, at a small meet-up with everyone, Viktor even says that, yes, it’s an engagement ring and, in his words, “We’ll be married by a gold medal.” And I don’t think he was joking, either. I think he was completely serious about that. This makes me really damn happy, too. And going back to that little tease I put on the last recap? I honestly did not think they would actually go all the way with the “something round and golden” allusion. I FREAKED OUT when I saw this happen, and even I was about to have a panic attack from this. I’ll save my expanded thoughts on this, when I give a final review of the show, but… man. That is probably the most romantic thing I have ever seen, in my near 23 years of life.
Anyway, after all of that happy gayness… ahem, sorry, I just can’t help myself sometimes. Okay, as is custom with this event, a small little gala is taking place, and all the competitors are here, but something’s about to come to the surface. See, last year, at the after-event banquet Yuri got hammered on champagne and started dancing like a drunk idiot. In front of everyone. Add both Christophe and Viktor took video of it. And he doesn’t remember any of it. For what it’s worth, though, Yuri can certainly handle his booze. Not a lot of time for embarrassment, though, as Christophe notices their gold rings. Phichit notices it next, and assumes… well, the only thing there is to assume: marriage! Don’t jump the gun, Phichit, it’s coming. Just be a little patient. And then JJ comes in and says, he, too, will be married soon; everyone completely sandbags it and leaves, despite his claim of “just kidding.”
But what exactly happened, one year ago, with Yuri? Well, as said before, he got completely drunk on champagne, and a lot of it, and started dancing like a madman. Dancing on the floor with Yurio, dancing on a pole with Christophe (in their underwear, even), and dancing together with Viktor, and it was quite the spectacle to behold. And it all ended with Yuri, wasted out of his mind, approaching Viktor and asking that he become his coach. This was a much different Yuri than before, a much different Yuri that Viktor thought he knew, not reserved or shy, but forward and open. And so, having been moved by Yuri’s drunken forwardness, Viktor knew that he had to see this man again. The wait may have been excruciating, but it was a perfect plan; he’d move to Japan for a bit, proclaim to Yuri that he would be his coach, and through all these months together, both Viktor and Yuri would grow close, at times intimate but always professional. Sure, the Yuri at the banquet wasn’t the actual Yuri, but that only made their connection that much stronger. All this time, Viktor thought Yuri remembered everything that happened, but in turn, it was, for all accounts, going to be a completely fresh start, but something else bloomed in the process. Love grew, and it developed between them, with each hug, each kiss, and in the moment where they exchanged rings. A simple good luck charm? That’s a fool’s gambit. It’s more than that, it’s a goal to work toward, it’s a symbol of their undying devotion toward one another, knowing that one could never be complete without the other, and through personal want and emotional need, what has grown between them could never be diminished.
That’s not me putting a fanboy spin on things, either. This is legitimately what has happened throughout this show. But the time for fun and games and love is drawing to a close. It’s time to get serious. This is the biggest stage, the world is watching, it’s now do or die time for Yuri Katsuki. Also, as a side note: in Spain, the custom is for wedding rings to go on the right ring finger. Do with that what you will. And dang, this went way longer than I was hoping it would. That’s the power of this show, though, it makes me feel. And I can’t say that about a lot of other shows. Again, I’ll save the final thoughts for later, but man, oh man, these last two episodes are going to be an emotional roller coaster.
Yuri!!! On ICE is available on Crunchyroll as a weekly simulcast, every Wednesday at 3:00pm EST, and on FunimationNow as an English simulcast dub, every Monday at 9:00pm EST.