This time on Kamen Rider Blade: Trenchcoat Mastermind abducts Tachibana! Everyone else tries to process their anger and sadness in somewhat healthy ways! It's a barnburner of an episode!

I mean, I enjoyed this episode, don't get me wrong. It's solidly done. There's a lot of attention paid to letting characters figure things out emotionally, in ways that make smaller events seem a lot more epic. I don't ever want to make an episode where Kotaro and Kenzaki value their friendship... I don't want it to feel bad about itself.

But, like, a bit of a snoozer?

The beginning is great, with Chalice and Blade powering up their bikes to have a Rider Joust. It looks amazing, with them not even riding bikes so much as the very forces of nature. And Tachibana decides to do what he does best: distract a monster by getting his ass thoroughly kicked.

I think my favorite point in the episode (or least the part I laughed the hardest at) comes at the end of the Chalice/Blade fight, as Blade gets yelled at by Hirose for wanting to have a meaningless fight with Chalice when he could be saving innocent people. Blade needs to get Chalice to cool it for a minute, and he basically calls for a Time Out? It's adorably sweet, this rage-fueled fight ending with Kenzaki being like This Has Been Fun But I've Got To Split. And Chalice lets him go! (With a cheap shot at the end, but still!)

Everything after that, though... it's fine?

It's just a ton of time telling us stuff we already know about Tachibana. It's important that he's trying to get to the root of his issues, to find some way to become the hero Dr Ladyfriend sees in him, but it's a mostly dull approach. Like, we get to see him explaining his history to Dr Ladyfriend, then we get to see him relive those memories a few scenes later. It's the same information! There are no new details! And, as information goes, it's not even that relevant? It's a minor wrinkle in the stuff Hirose told Kotaro when they were snooping around BOARD's abandoned starter home. He was a researcher who stepped up and became Garren. It's a data point, nothing that made me reconsider what I thought of Tachibana.

It ends up leading to a fight with Trenchcoat Mastermind, who is a peacock I guess? Is that right? It's a cool monster suit, complete with a leather skirt because of course it has a leather skirt. The blue feathers add a nice pop of color without really reducing the menace. It's a neat-looking monster.

The fight is pretty good, despite it being a now-standard Garren Gets His Ass Kicked showdown. There's an interesting moment where all of the sound drops out, and it's just Garren thinking back on his life, how it went. He seems at peace, no longer burdened by his shortcomings or embarrassments. ("Don't worry about me” is, like, his new catchphrase this episode.) It's like, he knows he sucks at being a Rider, he knows this fight is going to kill him, but he isn't afraid of that. He doesn't view his end as wasted potential, he views it as realized potential.

But, of course, he isn't killed by Trenchcoat Mastermind. He's in a green goo bath that is going to fix his fears (I guess?) and probably do wonders for his numbers. They were so low this episode, you guys! It was terrible!

On the other hand, you've got Kotaro and Kenzaki, who are not terrible. Or, they are briefly terrible, then fully synchronized.

It's a little blip, barely a scene, but I liked it. It's just Kotaro getting mad at Kenzaki for not immediately telling Kotaro about Hajime being Chalice, and Kenzaki puffing his chest out before feeling terrible about hurting his friend. He goes after Kotaro, who has meanwhile learned that Hajime has some fans in Amane and Haruka. Kotaro forgives Kenzaki for being less-than-forthcoming, since he couldn't tell his family the truth, either. Hajime's complicated, and they don't really know if they should welcome him into the fold, or kill him on sight.

I really liked that the argument is so mild, and so quickly resolved. It's not given undue weight (this isn't I'll Never Forgive You stuff), but it is something Kenzaki feels bad about. It's a really minor thing in the episode, but I liked what it brought out in Kotaro and Kenzaki.

And, you know, Hajime is complicated! He won't protect Jin, but he will demolish anyone who tries to fight him. Great scene of Hajime having this ice cold rage as he mercilessly takes down some street toughs.

The Jin stuff is good, but it feels a bit like a diversion. Hajime's definitely going to move back in with Haruka and Amane, right? Feels like a good bet. So what's here with Jin is really more about Hajime trying to determine the size and shape of the hollowness in his heart. He doesn't know how to be a human, but he also doesn't know how to stop caring about things like a human. There's a friction there that's grinding him down, forcing him both to lash out and to mourn. It'll be interesting to see where his story goes next.

And, that's sort-of the episode? It felt very transitional, honoring status quo changes while holding off on new developments. Things are going to happen, but not in this episode.

Next time on Kamen Rider Blade: Garren is back! Maybe for better, maybe for worse! He's probably still going to be weird, though!