It’s an episode that’s super dedicated to plot mechanics and series mythology, about half of which I outright didn’t understand.

Thankfully, it stays away from the aspects of Sougo’s personality I really disliked from last time, so it’s an overall decent episode. The character relationships were solid, the action was fun, and the Legend Rider stuff was well executed. As twenty-odd minutes of tokusatsu, it was fine.

Like, our core trio is one I sort of get now? (Mostly because no one talked about Friendly Fascism or whatever, but still!) Tsukuyomi and Geiz are both very Let’s See Where This Goes about the whole future tyranny thing, which is maybe less pragmatic than I’d’ve expected (despite Geiz’z stated desire to immediately murder Sougo; not quite a Best Match yet), but refreshingly generous. I guess when you’re surrounded by time machines/Mazines, there’s no real hurry? Better to wait and be certain.

And Sougo’s whole Helpful Idiot routine is… god, it’s okay? I liked it okay. He’s not anything special, which is an aspect to his personality that I find the most compelling -slash- agreeable. Him as some well-meaning but hapless everyman? That’s something I can really get behind. There’s a point when he’s doing the Vortex Time Break and all of the normal genius equations are now rudimentary and, at times, not technically math. It’s a smart move, that kind of lead Rider. It’s disarming, for one, in that it’s enormously difficult to hate on someone so dopey. It’s churlish to call someone out for personality defects when they’re already so disadvantaged, you know? And for another thing, it allows the stronger personalities of our guests to provide stability and growth for our Clueless Conqueror.

Build and Cross-Z! They’re very fun in this episode. Certainly acting as a beacon for this show’s odd couple Riders, and only mostly making the new show feel slighter in comparison. (Like, dang, I don’t know if giving Sento and Banjou so much screentime is great for establishing how cool your new leads are! Tough to measure up!) They’re fun to have around, even if they’re basically comedy relief. That’s okay! Them two kids are real funny together!

It’s just, boy, mostly didn’t understand the time travel shenanigans in this one?

Like, I do not get the Altering Time aspect of this story – and the mechanics behind it – even a little. Like, Sento is now and always has been Takumi? How– how does that even work? How does the world not end multiple times over? Why is no one horrified at that outcome? Is this the status quo for these characters now? I don’t understand the very convoluted explanation this show gave me!

The Time Jackers are a little bit easier to come to terms with, because they’re just, like, villainous Geiz and Tsukuyomi? They’re trying to undo Oma Zi-O’s rise, but just to secure the throne for someone else. I don’t – even slightly – understand how creating random Another Rider monsters helps accomplish that, but I am at least clear on what their objective is.

This plot, for the series… it’s Time Nonsense again, unfortunately, obviously. If I focus on character motivations (except Sougo’s!), there’s clarity to the storytelling. Geiz and Tsukuyomi want to avert a terrible future. Woz wants to ensure the future, terrible or otherwise. The Time Jackers want to take the future for themselves (?). Sougo is caught between these various competing agendas. (This is a role for Sougo that I like!) I get it, and I’m onboard.

But every single time someone tried to explain the minutiae of how these goals were going to be achieved, within a scene, I completely lost the thread. I can’t tell if the characters don’t know how to explain it, or the writer doesn’t know how to explain it. It was my least-favorite part of this episode.

The rest was good, though. Or, good enough, at least.



I don’t know if this was a huge help! It’s two-thirds clever details that make the previous episode’s plot more coherent (only one Build at a time, you can only defeat Another Rider with that Rider’s powers) and one-third A Wizard Did It.

It– it really wants to have its nerd cake and eat it, too. It wants to have firm guidelines about what the cause and effect of these time alteration stories are, while still relegating a random amount of cause and effect questions to snarky avoidance. Like, this is the problem with Time Nonsense. You only get a certain amount of narrative waffling, and you can’t overuse it, or none of it is worth investing in. You can’t ask people to pay attention to weird details and complicated causality, and then at least once an episode be like We’re Just Trying To Have Fun Here Brainiac.

I don’t know how great this show’s going to work for me! This random-ass Certain Things Don’t Matter But We’ll Tell You Which Ones Later shit is going to super-duper get on my nerves!

Sort of freaking out over this “explainer”!