There's a thing Hiyori does in this episode that's my favorite piece of acting in a great episode for performances.

(Also, I hope everyone's okay with these posts just completely committing to being me singing Hiyori's praises.)

She's gone to Tendou's home to investigate his absence, and potentially castigate him for letting her down. Tendou calls home to allay his sister's fears, while being held in ZECT's custody. After he talks to Juka, he asks to talk to Hiyori. She berates him for his thoughtlessness, for everything she went through. But he applauds her resolve, and asks her to make pancakes for Juka. (It's Sunday, and he always makes pancakes for Juka on Sunday.) Furious, Hiyori hangs up on him, calling him a liar. Juka sweetly tells Hiyori that Tendou isn't a liar.

And then, after sitting down to collect herself... Hiyori asks Juka if she'd like some pancakes.

It's... there's this look on Hiyori's face, like she cannot fathom why she's doing this for Tendou. It's her being burned by someone... and giving them a second chance. It's so out-of-character for her that it seems like she's viewing this from outside the event, completely separate from her body. This Can't Be What I'm Saying is broadcast across her face. She doesn't believe in people, doesn't give second chances, doesn't stick her neck out. But, right now, for almost no reason other than faith in Tendou, she's doing it. And she can't believe it.

But, hey, this is an episode for people believing in Tendou, and on that level it works pretty great. On every other level... uh.

Like, the charm of this one is all in Tendou's whole I'm Not Trapped In Here With You, You're Trapped In Here With Me smugness; in Kagami's sloppy-ass breakout attempt for a man who he views as a friend; in Juka's unwavering belief in her brother and decision to eat her pancakes without any toppings WHICH IS SO WEIRD; and in Hiyori's ability to start to maybe possibly believe in Tendou, too.

The thing that works in this episode is that Tendou has willingly entered a trap to both protect his friends (he only tells Truegami that Kagami isn't his friend so that Kagami doesn't get used as leverage and threatened) and try to uncover what ZECT is hiding. It's him being a kinder version of the abrasive tool that he often comes off as, a man who can show respect to the people who are assisting him rather than making demands of them.

And that kinder, gentler Tendou... It works? I mean, it totally works on Kagami and Misaki, giving them less reason than ever to support Truegami's sneering villainy. (Is it the hair that always makes him seem up to no good?) A lot of this episode depends on you understanding why they'd both go up against ZECT to protect Tendou, and it feels reasonable to me? He's still funny and self-involved (his whole Do You Ask The Sun Why It Shines thing during Misaki's interrogation!), but he's... it doesn't feel like sees Kagami and Misaki as pawns. It comes off as teamwork in this one, and that makes for a thrilling conclusion.

It's just, the stuff around that sort of doesn't work? Truegami's plan still doesn't make sense, that's for sure. They get the belt from Tendou, and then let Misaki question him? But they mostly just let him sit around for a day? It's a fun scene, and great for establishing how everything has unfolded according to Tendou's design, but it doesn't look great on Misaki or Truegami. She seems to have no gameplan for extracting usable info, and Truegami... I mean, I don't want to write this episode, but it feels real dumb to have a tactician like Truegami (for a poorly-written value of "tactician”) not get a head-to-head interrogation scene with Tendou. Delegating such an important task to Misaki is... there's no juice in that scene, it's just her being petulant and him being catty. It's funny, but it could've been more than that.

Similarly, the action in this one felt tacked on. The Zectroopers are a non-factor, and the Worm battle at the end was brief and forgettable. (I honestly don't remember how the non-Truegami Worm died, and I watched that scene maybe twenty minutes ago.) I don't really understand what the Worm are after, and their planning ability seems to vacillate strongly between Machiavellean and Moronic. (The one from last episode just wandered around killing random people, and this one susses out a temporary ZECT outpost and then knows exactly who to replace.) I'd prefer more consistency as to what the villains are capable of, this early in the series.

Really, though, that doesn't matter too much. (It does matter, though.) It's a sweet episode about people learning to value friendship more than their ideology, and it ends with Tendou putting Hiyori's art in big glowing lights on the Tokyo Tower as an apology. I can't be too mad at an episode that ends that way.


...or for putting GORO FROM RYUKI in the end! Goro! Back on my TV! After all these many months! Very exciting times. (Also there was a bee-man who I think is called TheBee that I'm sure I'll be talking more about soon.)

Back in Ryuki, Goro had many talents: he was a driver, a bodyguard, and one of the very few people on the planet who admired Kitaoka. (Besides me.) He was also an ace chef, something that goes for a few characters on this show. There's a real love of food in the direction of this one, some very lovely shots of meals, and goddamn did it make me hungry. Not for the first time, a Kamen Rider show has got me hankering for some of its dishes. Have you ever been tempted to try out a prominent dish from a Kamen Rider show? If so, how did you like it in real life? I know what I'm going to have soon, and this episode's partially to blame: