1. One of the things I was curious about was how exactly the show could balance the unique hilarity of the nebulously-motivated Team Faiz with the need to, y'know, actually progress the plot. They struck upon a pretty solid formula in this episode, where all the investigative beats get hit (Mari can't seem to get ahold of her dad) and the worldbuilding continues (Team Faiz runs a dry cleaners), but it's all done with a mixture of irritation and poor decision-making. That's pretty great? Having Takumi be the impetus to get Mari's story moving is a little unexpected, but it's also totally in-character: he wants to get this shit over with as soon as possible, and standing around wringing their hands isn't helping. Similarly, drawing backstory details out of Keitaro and Mari happens with him mocking Keitaro and ignoring Mari, which, A+. It's incredibly tricky to keep a grumpy, funny tone to the show while still making it feel like it's all going somewhere, and this episode manages it perfectly.

2. Growing Takumi's character was another thing I was sort-of skeptical about, since the more you humanize him, the more you start to define his antisocial tendencies, the more I feel like he's less fun? Ren on Ryuki was a fun character because even at his most heroic he was still a total dick, and that's not usually how these hero's journey stories go. We find out their trauma, there's a cathartic reckoning for their past behavior, and now they're all friends. (See: both of the secondary Riders from Ghost.) Here, it's more that we begin to see Takumi's behavior as stemming from insecurity, a belief that he's a terrible person (true!) that will inevitably hurt the people around him. The problem is that his belief in the second part is so all-consuming that it becomes self-fulfilling, with him pushing people away and treating them poorly so they won't care about him. It's a nuanced take on an antisocial character, and even his apology to Mari for how he's been acting is wrapped in backhanded insults and some small amount of snottiness. It'll be interesting to see if Takumi starting to let Mari and Keitaro in will rob the show of some of its complicated humor, but the first steps were promising.

3. The Orphnoch plot... it was okay? It's a lot of information delivered by a brand-new character who immediately died. It's okay at imparting context, but there's not a lot in there that I cared about. The Yuuji/Yuka stuff around the edges, though, real solid. Some nice touches for Yuka's part of the story (her leaning her head against the car window in contemplation is a nicely-observed bit of physical acting, and I love how the sound drops out as she writes Keitaro an email she can't send), and the way Yuuji's interest in discovering the truth of their condition curdles into terror as they're told to kill, that was great. The more the episode focused on Yuuji and Yuka's reactions, the better that plot came off.

4. I had a night job, some years back. Third Shift (8pm to 4am) at an insurance company, doing a backup of the database and delivering prints around the building to different departments. It was me and a guy named Mike. We overlapped with Second Shift (4pm to midnight), which was Joel and Mitch. Our desks were all in the same room, so people could chatter pretty easily. Mitch would always do this real specific laugh when he'd read something online, where he'd go HA real loud, and it was clear he wanted to share what he found funny, but he needed you to ask him about it first. He'd never just say, "Hey, here's something funny,” he'd go HA and he'd do variations on it until someone finally said Hey Mitch What's Funny. I hated it, so much. It got to the point where I would never ask him. I'd let him make that goddamn noise forever, but I wouldn't ask him what was funny. You're an adult! If you want to say something, just say it! All of that is to point out that I am 100% on Takumi and Mari's side for not asking Keitaro why he's sighing. Just say what you want to say! It's so annoying, Keitaro!

5. I feel like Faiz settled into a pretty enjoyable rhythm with this episode, getting all the various pieces into play while still leaving plenty of room for fun jokes (Keitaro shouting TAKUMI when he throws Takumi the Faiz belt, then a very small takumi when he throws the phone after he sees the Orphnoch), gentle sadness (Yuuji walking away when he sees a sad Yuka on the balcony), and great action (the whole Of Course We Forgot To Bring The Belt chase sequence with Takumi and Mari transitioning into a Faiz Fight). Just a really fun episode to watch!