Here we are, 6 episodes in to moody mafia drama, 91 Days… and suddenly our craziest villain is becoming an ally to Nero? I’ve loved the characterization from the beginning of this series. It’s much more nuanced and complex than I expected when I sat down to the first episode. Loyalty is never guaranteed, families fracture in unexpected places, and maybe no one is really truly good or bad (except Don Orco. There may be fifty shades of grey but that man and his béchamel obsession are black as tar).
To be honest, I’m still reeling a little bit from Frate’s betrayal, but like the unexpected truce with Fango, it only helped highlight the deep and secret motivations that we just haven’t been privy to. In the simplest of stories it’s easy to assume that there is a protagonist, who has an enemy, and who must prevail. Instead 91 Days gives us an anti-hero who may or may not be slowly becoming a hero, and a shifting wall of enemies and friends. Even better, the one man who was first on Avilio’s list seems to be building a relationship with him instead. The whole world really has gone mad.
While Nero takes refuge with Fango, Frate and Ronaldo meet with Don Orco to discuss their plans. Frate’s nervousness during this whole scene – both in voice and posture – denotes a kid who knows he’s in way over his head.
Avilio tells Nero and company that he has a plan, which leads up to them going to see the big don in person. Nero bargains with Orco, offering him their whiskey brewery, while Avilio reveals his biggest secret…
As we follow them into the cave, we still have no idea what Avilio’s plan actually is, and that’s part of what makes this episode so great. It’s also why I won’t spoil the end of this one – it’s full of surprises, and incredibly disturbing. By the end, allegiances have shifted, new enemies are on the horizon, and we are left, again, to wonder just what will happen with Avilio’s revenge scheme.
91 Days is mostly hard to review because I actually don’t have any critiques right now. The show has delivered since the beginning and while at one time I worried a little that those outside of the Nero-Avilio best buddyship might become too black or white, the last two episodes have been a reminder that people’s motivations are rarely purely good or evil. When Frate betrays his brother, we can see that much of his betrayal is born of desperation and fear. He’s frightened, nervous, and seems to think it’s the only thing the Vannettis can do to stay safe. Meanwhile Fango appears to be largely independent, and while he rewards Nero’s temporary allegiance with shelter and safety, it’s hard to label him a trustworthy character.
Nero and Avilio’s relationship is quickly developing into something even Avilio doesn’t seem to know what to do with. Previously he told Corteo that he needed Nero to trust him in order to get close to Don Vannetti, but he seems to be becoming rather invested in keeping Nero alive. He also seemed taken aback when Corteo noted their closeness.
So far 91 Days just really, really delivers. Good music, beautiful backgrounds, and nuanced characters against a backdrop of dark and gritty, mafia-run cities, and a plotline that is both enjoyable and suspenseful. Overall a fantastic summer hit.
Catch 91 Days on Crunchyroll every Friday at 2:30EDT!