A well-rounded set of episodes, centered pretty well thematically on the value of trust and the necessity of ideology. Also, MORE NEW SUITS!!!!!

Utsumi is a character that I don't know that I fully understood since his post-execution return. Previously, he was a guy who got ground up by the machine he believed in, his dreams squandered to protect a cause that disregarded him. Then, he's a Nanba sycophant, until he's a maniacal toady to Evol(t). I just couldn't make sense of it.

Luckily, the return of Takumi allows their similarities to fill in the blanks. Both of them believe in science, in their own genius, to the exclusion of anything else. Takumi feels guilt over the way the Rider System has led to war and death, but the guilt is that he let himself be betrayed by others. His culpability, that doesn't register with him. For Utsumi, he believed in Faust, and it betrayed him, and he believed in Nanba, and it couldn't protect him. So now, with Evol(t)'s help, he believes only in himself and his own power. Evol(t) isn't an ideology or a protector, it's a means to to an end. Both Utsumi and Takumi can only trust themselves, believe in themselves.

Which is why these episodes aren't just great in highlighting those two characters, but in using Team Build to emphasize the value of trusting your friends, in believing in something bigger than yourself. Cross-Z, Grease, Rogue, even a Hell Bros are willing to fight for others, to protect lives. That ideology, of peace and love, it's something that Takumi lacks and Utsumi mocks. So, in the end, it's up to Takumi to give way to Sento, to let him be the one (sorry) to take on Mad Rogue and Evol(t).

And, as a welcome back gift, he gets a brand-new suit to fight them in! Between Evol(t) Black Hole, Mad Rogue, and Build Genius, the designers must've gotten a sweet deal on white plastic. It's a very white palette. I think it works better on some suits than others. Getting a better look at it, I'm not into Evol(t) Black Hole. I like the skirt, but the heavy white torso doesn't work that great with the red-and-blue lower body, plus those shoulders bug me. I like the way the chestpiece lays in the black hole motif, but otherwise it's not a favorite. Mad Rogue uses the white better, creating a more aggressive coloring to the old Night Rogue suit. The purple-and-white is really striking, and I like the way it takes that Night Rogue suit and references Mad Rogue's "underling to Evol(t)" status. Build Genius wears it best, though, from what little I saw. I'm usually down on the overly-busy final forms Riders get (Fourze Cosmic States, uggggghhhhh), but the dominant use of white makes the multi-colored bottles really pop. I'm excited to get a better look at it, and I'm really excited to see how its powers work.

Yeah, these episodes were fun to watch. Less humor than I normally like (which even Banjou mentioned), but there's super-solid thematic work going on, along with some character deaths (Hell Bros, I almost cared about you for a minute) to help clear the slate for the final act, as well as some cool fights. Really good work this outing.

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