Free! EP 12 thoughts (of the pro swimmer haru kind)
It has been a long road full of struggles but we’ve finally reached our destination and I am so happy about it that I wasn’t going to comment; especially because I think that next episode we may have more insight as to what things touched Haru and in what measure.
But then I rewatched the episode and I couldn’t help but to form my own guesses; and given that this is the topic that has got me more emotionally invested this whole year, here goes nothing!
When the season started airing, I said that I felt it would be necessary to make Haru acknowledge his competitive drive beyond Rin. And then when Episode 7 aired, I said that personally:
I feel that there are mainly two things that fuel that fear and that keep Haru from honestly addressing the possibilities being presented to him; on one hand, it’s his own philosophy - aka “free”. On the other hand, it’s the future itself and more specifically: the change that future brings. (x)
And I can’t help but to feel that this episode tackled both things. The first I feel was through Haru’s interactions with Russell and Lori; or more specifically, through watching Rin’s interactions with them.
We had an inordinate amount of focus on Haru noticing these things; complete with his eyes trembling right in that last shot. It struck me as peculiar and I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first; but after giving it some thought, to me this feels like Haru may as well have been realizing that you can have a home away from home. That change does not have to be something negative; that leaving Iwatobi does not have to be a depressing prospect. That he can forge bonds and belong somewhere else, too.
In other words, I feel that Haru being able to experience the bond Rin was able to form with Russell and Lori - how welcoming they are, how much like family they are - eased Haru’s fears and hesitation regarding change; regarding leaving his roots and his comfort zone and stepping out into the unknown.
So I feel that is one of the vital pieces that allowed Haru to give that step forward at the end. Another one would be Rin’s talk to him in the bed; because it lead to something fundamental (at least to me):