1. So, Yuuji's trying to get more answers about But Why Monstering and all things Orphnoch from Live Action Hatsune Miku. She says that Yuuji needs to talk to the President, but he's not in. She teases him a little bit, and then walks him out. Yuuji pushes her over, and locks the door in front of her so he can race into the elevator and get to the President's office. Except, when I'm watching this scene and Yuuji pushes over LAHM, I thought he was just being an asshole. It didn't even occur to me that it was the first step in a plan. I'm so used to people on Faiz just being intentionally cruel (two of our hero leads shout insults at each other so much that the third hero lead begs them to stop) that I just thought Oh I Guess Yuuji's Being A Dick. And since everyone on this show is some degree of a dick, I totally forgot that Yuuji's the good one. Despite his two murders, he might be the best person on this show? He's generous and kind to Mari and Takumi, when they're caught breaking into his car. Which, holy shit, the first meeting of the Kamen Rider and Main Monster, and it's the Main Monster gently chiding the Kamen Rider into being a better man! Unreal! But that's this amazing show, giving the Monster a story about embracing his humanity while the heroes' plot is basically It Is Okay To Have A Little Theft As A Treat. The show is gloriously unpredictable with how it's telling stories between the hero and villain groups.

2. Although, "stories" is maybe inaccurate, since a big chunk of this episode is how both trios are finding their own equilibrium, and figuring out what they stand for. The hero one is a little bit more straightforward of the two, with Keitaro wanting to clean not just clothes but spirits (Keitaro and Onari in Rider Time: Existential Laundering) and a brief interlude where Mari tries again to contact her dad. The Mari story is mostly an excuse to have Takumi and Yuuji cross paths without knowing it. It's a funny scene, with Yuuji's magnanimity all the funnier in the face of Mari just throwing Takumi under the bus, but it's mostly a tease. The Takumi/Keitaro stuff is a little more integral to the emotions of the story, with Keitaro wearing down Takumi's gruff exterior through displays of competence, so that Takumi grudgingly acknowledges that helping people is a slightly cool idea, I guess. (He regrets saying a kind thing to Keitaro so fast! Like, by the second syllable you can see his mouth start to frown!) Like all of the character interactions with these three, it's got all the realistic tension you'd expect three strangers to have, but a bit of sweetness to make them worth rooting for. Which, uh, the Orphnochs also have! (I keep typing "villains", and then I'm like Well...) Their group is struggling with direction, with Yuka starting to embrace the freedom of being a different goddamn species as her previous tormentors, Yuuji clinging to the small bit of humanity he still has, and The New Guy being SUPER into killing humans. Like the hero group, it's a diverse, compelling mix of motivations. Just, both groups are so well-written! It's very difficult to root against either side!

3. Speaking of The New Guy, there's a new guy on Team Orphnoch! He's basically their Keitaro, a slightly wacky dude who understands what genre of show he's on and what his role is supposed to be, and is 100% okay with that. While Team Faiz is grudgingly following Keitaro's mission, Team Orphnoch is getting pulled deeper into the conflict thanks to The New Guy's mix of enthusiasm and recklessness. (He is totally their Keitaro! He's even got a heightened sense of smell! But not just for the horrors that lurk within men's hearts, like Keitaro! He also can tell what you had for lunch!) It's hard to get much of a feel for what he's going to bring to the group dynamic, since he mostly has his own side plot this episode, but I think having a pretty symmetrical Team Orphnoch to Team Faiz thing is a great idea. (Also, controversial comparison, but Team Orphnoch's Takumi is Yuka, not Yuuji. Yuuji is their Mari.)

4. With all of that team building, uh, not much space for this episode's Faiz Fight! It's mostly a cliffhanger anyway, as Faiz's fight against The New Guy is just a way to get our first Horsepower Vs Faiz fight next episode. And, man, I really like that we got to see Yuuji vs Takumi first, with Yuuji as the better man, and then when we get Horsepower Vs Faiz it's Horsepower coming to the aid of a friend. So good! So complex!

5. Another great episode of Faiz! I really liked the structure of this one, with Team Orphnoch left to their own devices to try and figure out how to live ethically in a world that discards and devours outsiders, while Team Faiz mostly just squabbled and committed crimes. (Even Keitaro got chased by the cops!) This show! This goddamn show!