First of all, this theory is not mine alone. @midnight-in-town had the initial idea and the following is based on a discussion I had with her last night. So a huge credit for this goes to her. :)
Many fans are quite disappointed and frustrated by the slow pace this arc has been going on for the last months. While the arc began with a mysterious cult, the disappearance of Lizzy and the findings of many corpses the focus has now been set almost completely on the performances of the S4 from Bravat’s sect and the F5 from Ciel’s competing music hall. This has been going on for a few chapters already which corresponds to quite a few weeks in the actual story while there’s seemingly not much else happening. BUT there might be a good reason for this which could be part of the actual plot. The progress of the arc is so unusually slow that it might even be deliberately and therefore may have a purpose other than fanservice.
Let’s first take a look at Bravat’s reactions in the latest chapter. While he’s confident at first and thinks that the F5 are amateurs and no competition against his S4…
…he’s completely surprised and even shocked by the actual performance and by the technology used (microphones, speakers, light sticks) during the show.
This surprise seems genuine, he didn’t expect this (even though he’s claiming to be a fortune teller). Bravat’s reaction here is very human. Also, he probably can’t be the one behind the advanced technology of the sect if he’s that surprised by Ciel’s technology. So it doesn’t seem like Bravat is a supernatural being or the one who’s pulling the strings at the Sphere Music Hall.
Another interesting reaction happened at the end of the chapter. While Bravat clearly showed his surprise and confusion about the F5′s performance before, he didn’t seem surprised at all when Ciel appeared. He even referred to him as the “Earl Phantomhive”.
I’m sure Bravat hasn’t forgotten about the boy who had Sirius’ blood and about the man he called a “collapsar”. Both are such a rare occasion that Bravat should remember them now that he sees Ciel and Sebastian. However, from his reaction towards seeing them now it seems like he already knew back then who the two of them were. This would also explain why he already seemed to recognize them the first time they came to the Sphere Music Hall and why he knew so much about them (the same probably happened with Lizzy, he already knew who she was, that’s how he could “tell her fortune” so accurately).
So someone must have told him about these people before he met them – someone who knows them. There have been many theories before that Undertaker could be the one pulling the strings here and by now I think this is very likely, so for the sake of this theory let’s assume that this is indeed the case here. Undertaker might use this cult to get blood which he might need for his ever ongoing experiments with his Bizarre Dolls.
Throughout the story Undertaker has been working on improving his Dolls. We don’t know yet what’s his goal in the end but it’s likely that he might wanna bring someone back from the dead (e.g. Claudia). But for this to work his Bizarre Dolls must be perfect, not some brainless zombies. Agares was already an improvement. However, this success rate was low. If Undertaker wants to bring back one person in particular he has to make sure that it works perfectly since he probably only has one attempt.
So maybe now he has found a way to not only alter the person’s Cinematic Record but also to use human blood for an improved version of his Bizarre Dolls. The four ‘Lords of the Stars’ could be prototypes of these improved Dolls. They are not yet perfect because they obviously still need a lot of blood which is why Undertaker might still be working on improving his experiments. Maybe the four Lords even show such a development already. The rooms of the Lords are quite different, so while Undertaker’s first experiment with the blood might have been a failure…
…and the second one might still have some ‘health problems’…
…the other two might already be greater successes:
But we saw that Lord Sirius still needs blood transfusions on a regular basis so while these new Dolls are already an improvement they are still not perfect. And here’s where the seemingly slow pace of this arc comes in. What Undertaker needs for his experiments is not only blood but also time! The cult around Bravat provides him with the blood but that’s probably not their only purpose. Its other important task could be to buy Undertaker time.
In the past, whenever Undertaker experimented with his Dolls Ciel appeared and interfered. First, on the Campania and then in Weston. So Undertaker probably expected him to interfere again and therefore might have thought of a way to distract Ciel from what the cult is actually doing. In the beginning of the arc the focus was more on the investigation of the cult so what did Undertaker do to hide his experiments? He let Bravat throw Sebastian out of the music hall to make an investigation more complicated and when Sebastian came back he used Lizzy to fight him, so he could hide the Lords meanwhile. Also, Lizzy’s presence changed Ciel’s focus from actually investigating the cult to getting Lizzy out of there (that’s probably why Sebastian didn’t investigate any further but brought Lizzy home instead).
And now a competition between Bravat’s S4 and Ciel’s F5 is arising. Since Lizzy has run off to the cult again Ciel has spent much time and effort in the creation of the F5, the organization of another music hall and a performance which rivals Bravat’s show. All this time he hasn’t set foot in the Sphere Music Hall again and hasn’t really investigated much. And while he thinks that he’s damaging the cult, he might actually play right into Undertaker’s hands because he now has all the time he needs for his experiments without Ciel interrupting him.
Ciel loves games and Undertaker knows that. He probably predicted that Ciel would take the bait and start a competition between the S4 and the F5. And while Ciel is occupied with that, he won’t disturb UT who can concentrate on perfecting his Dolls. Since Ciel is always very serious with his games and doesn’t want to lose he’s easily distracted.
Bravat probably is being used by Undertaker, as well. He might not even know about Undertaker’s plans since he seems to be quite into this competition, as well. But the more Bravat is into this competition between the S4 and the F5 the more Ciel will be, too. So this little ‘game’ between the two of them might be still getting more serious with each of them trying to surpass the other one. And while they’re doing this UT can calmly do his experiments and doesn’t have to worry about someone interfering.
Even if Ciel wins this competition he might realize that he actually fell into the trap that UT set for him and did exactly what he wanted him to do while giving UT the time he needed to make his perfect Bizarre Dolls.
So in conclusion, there’s a possibility that the reason why so many chapters and so much time of Ciel’s ‘investigation’ is focused on the arising competition between the two music halls is actually part of the plot. Undertaker could be using the cult and their performance to lure Ciel into a competition which distracts him from the actual investigation. And that gives UT the time he needs for his experiments to create perfect Bizarre Dolls. So far, this plan seems to be working. When the arc started it was August (that’s when Greenhill approached Edward) and now we’re already in November. And Ciel used most of the time to create a competing music hall and start a competition with Bravat. So even if it’s not Undertaker, whoever is doing these experiments with the blood transfusion had already much time to do their thing without much interruption because Ciel is focusing on different matters. And while Ciel thinks he’s winning, he might actually be playing right into the hands of the cult’s mastermind.
When I first read through chapter 122, I couldn’t help but think a better name for this chapter might be, “Bravat Underestimates Ciel and Company at Every Turn.” I’ve written in the past that Bravat might be overconfident, but this chapter really displayed that. He seemed to still be under the illusion that the F5 was merely a pale illusion. In fact, when he first walked into the music hall, he immediately noticed what he thought was shortcomings or mistakes. First, there was the free gifts. He was giving a towel and a stick.
Bravat felt these free gifts didn’t compare to what the blue sect offered. Then he noticed the merchandise, which he felt was childish.
Next he noticed out the music hall was divided into sections. He thought it was too big for everyone to really see the show.
He was confident up to this point. He thought he saw mistakes everywhere. Finally, the curtains on stage parted, and the F5 was nowhere to be seen. At first, he thought they had simply missed the cue, but then the F5 made their appearance.
Very soon, things started falling into place, and Bravat realized that all the things he had noticed weren’t flaws at all. Although the music hall was big, speakers placed in back allowed everyone to hear the singing.
The towel and the colored stick allowed people to join in on the show.
Plus, the F5 moved around the audience to interact with them, especially if they had bought the merchandise.
Bravat was so quick to dismiss the F5 and the music hall, but he was shown that he shouldn’t take them so lightly.
I would suspect he might change things up at his own music hall in response.
When the F5 reveal themselves, they sing their own song to the people at the music hall. This was to draw people to Ciel’s music hall, of course, but I can’t help but think there’s more meaning to their song. More than likely, this song was written by Sebastian, and it wasn’t really even all that important if the people stop to question the lyrics. That wasn’t important, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t meaning.
Here’s the beginning of the song with the lines, “A papery night sky, imitation star! A magic lantern spins, this boring Saturday night!”
Something being ‘papery’ could mean that it’s thin and fragile. Also, a paper sky would be a fake one, like the imitation star. This could mean that the cult and Bravat are fakes. The ‘light’ that Bravat talks about is nothing more than a lantern. It might be nice to look at for a bit, but it’s really nothing out of the ordinary.
The next part of the song is. “A dark night sky, destruction star.” I think this might refer to Sebastian and/or Ciel. The darkness they have to offer is real and their light destructive. It’s far more exciting. “It’s not just a pretty sight this thrilling, sleeping night.” Unlike the lantern from the first part, the F5 are offering more. There’s more than just something nice to look at. “Say goodbye to the child who played with toys. Now take my hand. I’ll take you there tonight!” This imagery about saying goodbye to a child might mean that what the the F5′s music hall has to offer is more real and more adult. It has a bit of danger and it’s a risk.
The final line is, “To the new promised land.” This plays off Bravat’s offer for peace and happiness, which sounds like it’s own promised land. The F5 is offering that, but in a way that’s more exciting, a bit of danger, and with an edge.
I’m not sure if the people caught on to all this, but they were aware that the F5 was different. The S4 are in safe, mostly white outfits, but the F5 are daring and bold with their darker, wilder clothes.