I laughed and facepalmed at Lawrence referring to Horo as "cargo." I suppose it was a cute way for him to avoid mentioning his feelings for Horo directly. Otherwise, the lack of Horo continued in this episode – and I think I’m suffering from Horo deficiency – but it was an important episode, because Lawrence finally realizes his answer to a very important question.
Lawrence approaches Bartose for help, hoping to speak with Deanna in order to get at the alchemists’ pyrite stock. I suppose Lawrence comparing Horo as cargo he absolutely doesn’t want to abandon is a novel way to spin the tale. And I appreciated the flashback memory of seeing doe-eyed Horo (although if they were really stuck, couldn’t she just have turned into a wolf and nudged the wagon forward?). But I wondered if Lawrence referring to Horo as "cargo" was his way of masking his feelings for her, so he tell the story to Bartose without being too rabu-rabu, or whether that was how he actually felt about Horo – not a real companion, but someone just temporarily along for the ride. I also really liked the sound design as Bartose is mulling Lawrence’s request over – the rising roar of the crowd, then the cut to silence. Definitely a nice tact to increase the drama.
Bartose agrees to help out Lawrence and provides him with a special passphrase, which Lawrence uses to get the foot in the door to Deanna’s. Again, Lawrence tells Deanna his story about not wanting to lose his cargo, to try to convince her to help him out. Amused by Lawrence’s story, she agrees to sell him pyrite, but informs him that someone’s already beat him to the punch and bought pyrite themselves, albeit on credit. This immediately pops thoughts of Amati in Lawrence’s head (and to be fair, in mine as well), and he pressures Deanna to tell him the buyer’s name, although she quickly smacks him down, telling him that she’d be in charge of negotiations. I gotta say, I really like Deanna. I think Spice and Wolf has had some really interesting and independent women – from Nora and Chloe in the first season, to Deanna, and obviously Horo. These are not your typical housewives.
As Lawrence leaves, he asks Deanna about legends of gods and humans mating. I wonder what Lawrence has in his mind. Hmmmm.
With Lawrence’s fortunes completely in the hands of Deanna, he returns back to Mark’s stand to catch some Z’s, and prepare for watching the market when it opens. Mark turns out to be a really good friend for Lawrence. And because Lawrence is so blissfully self-unaware, Mark astutely points out how Lawrence probably doesn’t think of him as just another convenient town merchant. He also points out that Lawrence is running around town, trying to do everything he can for his female companion, something he probably wouldn’t do if Mark was in a pinch. If Lawrence hadn’t completely realized it before, It’s in this moment where he seems to finally realize what Horo means to him. And perhaps it’s in this moment where Horo graduates from "cargo" to something more.
As Lawrence continues to wait for Deanna to arrive with the goods, he heads out to watch the pyrite prices continue to soar. So many buyers, and no sellers. He then notices Amati. And then is shocked to find Horo standing by him. Amati walks over and smugly consummates his contract with Lawrence – no doubt believing that he has the girl and a crapload of money to boot. I’d probably be smug if I was him too. And to be perfectly honest, even though he looks like a little kid, I think Amati’s merchant skills are heads and shoulders better than Lawrence’s skills. If they were to engage in a merchant duel 10 times, I would bet on Amati to win 9 times. He’s calm, collected, he thinks ahead and plans things out. Maybe he’s a little reckless, and his lack of connections hurt, but I have no faith in Lawrence beating Amati on his own… Which brings me to an interesting observation – the white feathers on Horo’s cloak. I’m guessing she may have been the secret buyer and will ultimately manipulate who wins the duel, based on what she sees from Lawrence. I really doubt that she’s doing this just to make Lawrence sweat. I think she really wants to see some sort of commitment, or at least an answer to her question from Lawrence, otherwise, I think she would stay with Amati. Now clearly she’s going to end up with Lawrence, since the show isn’t called Spice and Wolf and Amati, but if I didn’t know that, I’d think Amati has a 50/50 chance of winning.
Here’s hoping for a Horo overdose next week, because I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more Horo.