Free 3×07 Review: A Solitary Medley!

Free A Solitary Medley

“A Solitary Medley!” gives us a little bit of a break from the angst of the past couple of episodes. There is still some brooding and some moodiness, but it seems like Free! Dive to the Future finally remembered that it’s about swimmers, because here come the collegiate championships.

I mentioned last week that, at the pace the show has been moving, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was enough material for another season. There is a lot of stuff that has been alluded to that I feel like won’t fit in this season. But “A Solitary Medley!” sort of jumped ahead by a lot. Haru is now being coached by Ryuuji and swimming the IM, Nao has reunited with Natsuya, Natsuya ran into Makoto and Kisumi, and Asahi and Ikuya had the chance to chat – all in one episode.

Now I think this is almost too much in one episode. I would have loved to see more of Haru’s individual training before he unveiled his decision in the championship. After all, Haru has been “I only swim free” since the beginning, and I understand that he’s chosen to swim the IM because it’s the only way for him to swim against Ikuya. But I have no sense of what the timeline is like – how long has it been since they started university? How long has he been doing individual training?

Free A Solitary MedleyIkuya’s talk with Asahi in “A Solitary Medley!” seems to have revealed with the climax of the season is going to be. After his heartbreak in middle school, Ikuya feels as though he can no longer rely on friends or teammates. So, obviously, the season is going to end with him realizing that friends and teammates make him stronger. This is almost exactly the arc that Haru had in season 1. Will it culminate with another relay? That seems to be a fairly standard defining moment on Free!.

There have been reunions in almost every episode so far this season, but the big one is that Ikuya and Natsuya still need to see each other. That’s clearly going to be an important meeting, which is why they’ve waited so long to have it.

Other Thoughts:

  • Free A Solitary MedleyI almost felt bad for Hiyori after this episode. Ikuya is his only friend, but it looks like Ikuya may not see him that way. (Still, Hiyori can hang out with the rest of the team. They keep inviting him out; he’s the one who declines.)
  • Rin will be competing at the All Japan Tournament, which was mentioned a lot this episode. I have a feeling that the final episodes will take place there (and perfectly set us up for a fourth season).
  • It was nice that they managed to fit so many characters in this episode, but it just emphasizes how full the season is. It’s almost too much. We aren’t spending nearly enough time with Nagisa, Rei, and Gou.
  • I loved the MakoHaru scenes! I’ve been missing scenes like that this season.

What did you all think of “A Solitary Medley!”?

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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