There isn’t always a diplomatic solution.
— Y’know, other than the very first fight against Hikawa, the Shuichi/Clair combo kinda sucks… in combat, at least. They had to trick Tadanori, Yota defeated the centipede monster, and now, the great ape is just too much for them.
— Madoka, the great ape, turns back into his human form and tells Clair and friends that they can either join him or die. Apparently, he thinks he and Clair are kindred spirits. He says he can see it in her eyes, but naturally, his eyes are focused on something else. I suspect that if Clair and friends actually took Madoka up on his offer, his gang of shitheads would just take advantage of the girls in the group. I mean, he even admits that they’re shitheads.
— So all they gotta do is team up with the bad guys? That’s it? Well, the catch is that at least one person has to die since Yota roughed up the centipede. Y’know, an eye for an eye and all that. Clair correctly points out that Madoka may have killed two of their friends, but he doesn’t care. Why would he? He thinks he has all of the leverage in these negotiations, so he’s gonna push to get exactly what he wants.
— Alright, it’s time to think of solutions that don’t involve teaming up with a bunch of potential murderers and rapists. Yota normally tries to act all smooth, but he’s apparently just a meathead. Even though he’s in no shape to fight, he tells the other that he’s gonna fight. That’s brave of him, but also stupid. He has no chance of beating Madoka.
— On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the cowardly Ikeuchi. He thinks they should just comply to Madoka’s demands, because he sees no other alternative. Clair takes a second to play devil’s advocate by agreeing with the creepy, voyeuristic “Nice Guy.” Her only objective in doing so, however, is to get him to understand that since he wants to sacrifice one of his own friends so badly — well, if they even consider him a friend after this — that sacrifice might very well be him. For some reason, Ikeuchi didn’t consider for a second that he might be chosen. Well, I know what the reason is: he’s just a selfish bastard. Even his love for Chihiro is self-centered. On the other hand, Clair is more considerate that she might seem. I personally think Clair is trying to be nice, but it just comes off as bitchy.
— We briefly cut to Madoka to get his very abbreviated backstory. Before he found a coin, he was on the lowest rung of society. As a result, his goals is to help losers like him achieve their dreams. Ah, but here’s the problem: even with the coins, they’re still shitheads. Look, being a shithead is a mentality. Madoka has brute strength, but that’s it. Once they run into someone with half a brain, they’ll be back at square one.
— Back with Clair and friends, conbini girl offers up a bold idea. Clair, however, correctly points out that too many things can go wrong. Plus, Miku has probably never taken a life before. I really doubt she could do it when the chips are down.
— All of a sudden, Sayaka says, “And if we kill [Madoka], we’ll be no better than him.” Really? Really? I’m normally a pacifist at heart, but if I’m being chased by killers, I’m not going to hesitate to defend myself. And we know they’re killers. The centipede showed them that poor girl’s decapitated head. Not only that, he probably would’ve raped Sayaka had he had the chance. Why would you want to take the “high road” in this situation?
— After hearing what everyone has to say, Clair decides that she’ll have to go with her backup plan. She goes to Isao and hands him a flower that she wants him to duplicate. Apparently, oleander is highly toxic, and by extension, the smoke that you get from burning it is also highly toxic. Our heroine had this trick in her back pocket from the very start. She’s not just smart, she’s prepared. She knew there was a very good chance that they would run into trouble. And she knew that there was a very good chance that the group couldn’t win via sheer strength.
— Shuichi wants to help her, but she tries to push him away. After all, he really gave her a hard time about Hikawa, so Clair is now trying to prevent Shuichi from dirtying his hands any further. She’s kind of a softie at heart. It’s easier to just sacrifice someone in the group — someone like Ikeuchi. She also doesn’t really need to consider Shuichi’s feelings. Instead, she could tell him to toughen up and face reality. Clair, however, tries to protect him, and I think he finally realizes that. As a result, he wants to lessen her burden. The guy now understands that peace is not always an option. But because he’s been so idealistic, Clair has had to make the difficult choices up until now. As a result, he embraces her and tells her that they will go forward together.
— Seeing Shuichi’s change of heart also helps Clair understand why her sister felt that she had to kill their parents. Even so, I wish this plot point would get fleshed out a little better. From what we’ve been told, I’m not convinced that their parents truly deserved to die.
— Clair and Shuichi set fire to the flowers, and the group immediately starts running. For some reason, Ikeuchi didn’t stick with them. Did he think the plan wouldn’t work? Ah well. He actually tries to defect to Madoka’s gang, but before he could spill the beans on the poisonous flowers, Sayaka’s hair thing works its magic. The show cuts to black, so I naturally have to wonder if Ikeuchi actually lost his life. The show hasn’t been shy about gore, so it would be kinda silly to suddenly censor his death.
— Madoka’s gang gradually succumbs to the poison, but instead of getting away, the ape tries to rescue his precious “nakama.” Welp, I can’t say I feel bad for him.
— Nevertheless, once the group is safe, Sayaka tells Clair that the latter is scaring her. Really? She saved your lives! You guys were up against murderers and rapists! What did Sayaka want Clair to do instead?!
— On the brighter side of things, Clair now feels that she’s the only one who can save Elena. Well, that’s good. ‘Cause earlier in the series, she would’ve killed her sister had Shuichi not interfered. Sadly, we have maybe two or three episodes left, and we still don’t know what Elena and her group are really up to. I guess that’s what the remaining episodes will be about, but I can’t see how this season can end on a satisfactory note.
— Speaking of the devil, right before the episode comes to an end, Elena goes to confront the Alien. She’s certainly pissed about something. Maybe she asked the Alien to completely erase Shuichi’s memories, but it clearly didn’t work?