I’ll be honest, when I started this show back in October, I had no idea what I was getting into. Now that we’re at the end, I can say that this show has given me so much more than I could have ever imagined. This show has been fantastic from the start, so all it needs to do is stick the landing and come out strong. My fingers are crossed and my box of tissues are beside me for all the tears that’ll be coming from my eyes. Let’s do this, yo.
Episode 11 – “Gotta Super-Supercharge It!! Grand Prix Final Short Program” (Part 1)
Alright, here we go. These last few episodes are going to be very heavy on the skating, so I’ll keep all of that fairly short and just focus on the storyline development. First on the ice is, of course, Yuri, back on the grand stage exactly one year later, but with a much larger goal set for him. This being the last grand stage for him, Yuri’s decided to change up part of his short program, changing a jump to a quad flip; it’s a tall order, but Yuri believes he can pull it off. And on the ice, he lands it, albeit with a hand breaking his fall. It wasn’t perfect, and Yuri knows this, falling to the ice in an emotional heap; it’s all that pressure, it’s tough to handle. The rest of the competitors run through their programs, with a ton of grace and finesse and emotion; Phichit does his program, placing just below Yuri, and then we come to the young prodigy himself, Yurio. Short version, he broke Viktor’s short program world record and took a commanding lead. Figures as much, right? Off the ice, Viktor is looking on at Yurio with determined and stern eyes, and Yuri sees this from behind, not knowing just what it means. Up next is Christophe, and I have to say, from hearing his music, it sounds a lot like it’s in the style of The Weeknd. It’s actually a pretty good track, too. Oh, and as a final note, Chris actually did his whole routine without getting his pants wet. I think. Now we come to Otabek, the dark horse of Kazakhstan; earning a personal best, he’s sitting right behind Yurio in the rankings.
And very last on the card is Canada’s resident douche-nozzle, JJ, who… comes in last? Dead last? That’s a bit of an unexpected turn of events. Guess he wasn’t in the zone, after seeing Otabek run through his performance with very little flaw. Or it’s just the pressure finally cracking him. Either way, I couldn’t help but crack a chuckle at that; sometimes, the world works to your advantage. This places Yuri down in fourth, after the first round of competition, with a LOT of ground to try and climb up. But back at the hotel, Yuri decides to have a talk with Viktor, having seen him give some smiles and looks of approval to his fellow competitors. And in the cliffhanger of cliffhangers, Yuri simply says this to Viktor: “After the Final, let’s end this.” And THIS is why I didn’t do this recap last week, because I am a benevolent human being who will not lead you all on with a cliffhanger.
Before continuing on, I feel as though I need to give this one small disclaimer:
DO NOT READ ON UNLESS YOU HAVE SEEN EPISODE 12 IN FULL. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.
Episode 12 – “Gotta Super-Super-Supercharge It!!! Grand Prix Final Free Skate” (Part 2)
Right where we left off last time, Yuri explains to Viktor his intent to retire after this season, thankful to Viktor for him giving everything he had on the ice. But Viktor is beside himself over this, crying in sadness and anger over those words being said. Yuri, dude, you done effed up, BIG TIME. And the last thing we see from that scene is Viktor grabbing Yuri’s shoulders, unable to believe being told about him returning to competition by Yuri. Just like that, we’re off to the next day, with both men making their decisions for what to do after the event is over. As a side note, this episode had a special cameo by Swiss figure skater Stéphane Lambiel, as an analyst for the event, speaking his native language with it subtitled in Japanese (and again in English). Pretty cool little spot, I have to say. Running through the free programs, JJ takes the ice first, and—wait, is this JJ in flashback dressed as Eric Cartman from South Park??? Well, I guess they returned the favor back to Matt and Trey for that little Easter egg in their season finale.
Anyway, JJ made up for his performance in grand fashion, giving Phichit a bit of a hill to climb for his own program. But now it’s time for Yuri to take this ice, and this really is his last chance to come out on top and win. Viktor gives him some reassuring words, and Yuri simply replies that he wants to smile one last time on this ice, speaking while holding Viktor’s hands. Viktor leans in to tell Yuri one simple thing, as a means of motivation: he’s a 5-time world champion who took a break from competition to coach Yuri, so how come Yuri still hasn’t won gold, after all this time and all these events? It’s time to get out of warm-up mode, and the two embrace and hug before Yuri takes off. On the ice, Yuri ponders everything that’s happened so far, his own personal growth and strive, and his continually growing bond with Viktor, and it shows in his performance. Before, the free skate was always the point of difficulty for Yuri, but here? Not so. And in the moment that will define his career, he lands the final quad picture-perfect, giving him a commanding lead, and also breaking Viktor’s free skate world record in the progress. Dang, two records broken at this event. Viktor, with a soft smile on his face, pulls Yuri in for a hug, proud that his records were broken, but calls these feats a diss, “as a competitor.” So yes, he’ll be coming back to competition in the future, because he’s found some motivation for his own. Interesting little development, right there.
Time for Christophe to take the ice, and—oh, for the love of… you creamed your pants again, didn’t you? Ranking in third after that. Next up is Otabek, taking the ice for his show of finesse and poise, but only manages to take the third spot from Christophe, behind Yuri and JJ. That’s… surprising, given he was built up as this dark horse ringer. Well, anyway. Backstage, Viktor finds Yakov and informs him that he’ll be going back to competition next year, for the Russian Nationals. Yurio inquires if this means Yuri is retiring, but Viktor simply says he’ll decide after the Final is over. Keep this in mind for when Yurio takes the ice, because… well, I’ll just come out and say it since there’s no point of building up to it.
Yurio won gold. By 12 hundredths of a point. And it bumps everyone else down a spot. I just… AAAAARGHHHHH!!!!!! I HATE THIS BUT IT WORKS IN CANON BUT I HATE IT ARGHHHHHHH. But I suppose it shouldn’t be overly surprising. What is surprising, though, is what Yurio said to himself, about Yuri, and I’ll quote him verbatim: “If you retire now, I’ll make you regret it for the rest of your life.” Yurio was so motivated by the notion of Yuri retiring that he pushed himself as far as he could go in the free skate, so that he’d win and keep Yuri’s career going. Which is, by chance, what happens, with Yuri, pleading for Viktor to stay with him in skating for another year. And of course, Viktor can’t say no to that lovely face of Yuri’s. Serving double time as a competitor and a coach could be tough, but knowing these two, they’ll pull it off. I have to say, though, a silver on the world’s biggest stage isn’t too shabby of a performance. Be proud of that, Yuri.
To close things out, we go to the post-event gala, with Yuri and Viktor dancing a duet together on the ice. I can’t adequately say just how moving a scene this really is, go and scope this out for yourself and just take in the magnificence and beauty of it all. And so our story ends with Yuri running across a bridge, in a small city in Russia, where both Yurio and Viktor are on the other side, and with a simple “Yuri!” from Viktor, and a smile from Yuri, our series comes to a close… FOR NOW.
Wow… this was quite the finale, I have to say. But following along with the spoilers, I was a bit conflicted with how it all turned out. From an objective standpoint, it did just about everything right; it heightened the drama and suspense, it tied up all of the loose ends, it had some surprise outcomes that you weren’t expecting, and the end of the episode keeps Yuri’s character arc alive, and also revives Viktor’s character arc, with a promising outlook on what’s to come as a future. But speaking as a fan, something about how it was all handled and executed just bothered me, and I STILL didn’t know what it is. I’m not gonna tell you that it was a bad ending and I hated it, though, because it wasn’t and I didn’t. It’s just… I dunno. Maybe it’s just a case of me building up my own self-hype, but after watching it in full, it didn’t bother me as much, and like I said, everything done was the right thing for the purposes of the story. I’ll have more to say when I give this a final look, I need to sleep on it a bit more.
What is for certain, though, is that this show will be coming back for more, sometime in the future, ending the episode with a “See You NEXT LEVEL” message, and I am totally alright with that. When you have a property that’s grown so hot and so profitable, of course you’re going to want to get more out of it. And speaking as a fan, I’m alright with this news because I do want to know more about this world, these characters, their dynamics, everything. I’ve grown incredibly attached to everything and everyone within this show, so the notion of there being more, coming soon, is alright by me. So where do we go from here? Well, with the show over and done with, the only thing that’s left to do is give a final verdict and a final review of this show. But I won’t make you all wait for too long: Christmas Day, you’ll all see it in all of its glory. This has been a wonderful show to cover for you all, and it’s been something I’ve poured my heart into, from first episode to last. Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you back here for my final verdict.
All episodes of Yuri!!! On ICE are available on Crunchyroll, and premiering on FunimationNow as an English simulcast dub until January 9th, every Monday at 9:00pm EST.