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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#587855
1:00 PM -2:00 PM
Written by: Shûkei Nagasaka
Directed by: Kosuke Suzuki
Original air date: January 15, 2021

Start the Clock: As the Shido family gets a helicopter ride back to CTU, the assassin gets his rental car on the road. Rikka and Miyu are headed to the hospital just in case. Midoroku is on the scene as they depart and Genba promises to be there right after he answers some questions. Mylo comes to congratulate Genba on getting back. Genba asks Itsuki to look after Rikka and Miyu at the hospital. He has a feeling the day is not over and does not know who he can trust.

Itsuki asks Midoroku to leave, though that is quickly denied unless Itsuki takes an escort. After explaining the situation, Midoriko makes a meal out of the irony then has Nanjo take over for Itsuki. For her part, Itsuki is silent about the reason for leaving. As Rikka and Miyu arrive at the hospital, a nefarious car is there. We know it is nefarious because it is vibrantly red and there is ominous music.

Miho, a number cruncher, talks about how the preliminaries look great. Yohei reports to Urara, but she is still sullen. She tells Yohei about the situation with her supposed backers. Yuta was with Yohei during the time in question but that will not be accepted in court. The other people at the campaign can also testify but that is not brought up for reasons unexplained to the viewer. She tells Yohei to be silent.

At the hospital, Rikka finally gets her stomach looked at. Asked about anything else, Miyu makes motions and is asked to leave the room. Rikka confides in the doctor about the flunkie and the doctor suggests counseling, either with a professional or someone she can trust.

Yuta is brought a snack as well as condolences for Dr. Touku, which is news to Yuta. He confronts Urara who tries to hide the truth, but Yuta connects the dots, about the circumstances at least. He wants to go forward with what happened, but Urara forbids him. It goes against what she stands for and Dr. Touku was there for Yuta when he needed help. Urara cannot tell him why they have to keep the secret and the two embrace though it is rough for both mother and son.

13:23:36 Newly promoted director Naomichi comes, is friendly with Nanjo and blows past Midoroku. He exchanges pleasantries with Genba before getting down to business. As Genba starts to explain, Naomichi turns on the camera, meaning things are a little more formal than Genba thought.

Itsuki checks on Rikka but finds out they are not in that room by an officer who is inspecting it. Going to a room down the hall, she finds the two are in good shape. Genba has some explaining to do and they need to ask Rikka and Miyu some questions since it is a terrorism case and all. This is news to the two, but they agree to cooperate. As Itsuki passes the first room, there is no one there. Her spider sense tingling she finds a nearby officer who says he and his partner just arrived and it is only the two of them. The partner is not the person Itsuki saw earlier.

13:31:11 Naomichi gives Genba an A+ for being a father/husband but an F- for breaking the rules. Genba counters that he had to break rules as his family was in danger and he never deviated from keeping Urara out of harm’s way. Itsuki calls and gives Genba an update. She is concerned about the visitor, but Genba is tied up with Naomichi and asks Nanjo to handle it.

Nanjo tells Midoroku that there are three more assassins in the area, only two of whom they can identify.

“Yogu’ calls Andre asking to have a chance at following through. Andre is cold to the idea and confirms that the unloading is done. The house near ‘Yogu’ explodes and Sports Car Assassin, identified as Alexi, shoots ‘Yogu.’

Magoroku brings Urara a file on Genba’s missions.

13:41:51 Nanjo asks Midoroku to get more people since the other assassins are in the area and she agrees to maybe sort of mind of consider thinking about it. She then asks Nanjo to talk to Naomichi about what happened. She clarifies with a very biased overview of Genba’s actions while dangling a promotion.

Midoroku goes to talk to Genba. She will let him talk to his family after she gets some questions answered. Genba talks about how Ted was the financier for their operation. Itsuki talks to Nanjo about the ‘officer’, and they look into moving Rikka and Miyu.

Urara looks at the heavily redacted file on Genba when she gets a call from CTU. Yuta tries to talk to Yohei concerning the about face from Urara, but Yohei cannot tell him the truth so asks Yuta to drop it. Yuta gets all angsty before Urara comes in and tells everyone that there is a change of venue by request of CTU. The danger has not yet passed.

13:50:06 Naomichi asks Nanjo about the events of the day. Genba is on thin ice and discipline is almost unavoidable though a lot is riding on what Nanjo has to say. Nanjo admits there is no love lost with the two, but he supports Genba fully.

Magoroku approaches the packing Urara about Genba. There was a mission years ago against the Federation of which only Genba came out alive. Urara was the one who authorized it leaving her to conclude that Genba blames her for their deaths. Miho leaves the suite, goes down the hall and into Alexi’s room where things get steamy.

Ken stumbles into his place in the warehouse area. Itsuki talks to the forensics team. The room has been wiped down and the security footage erased. These are professionals they are dealing with. She interrupts Midoroku’s interrogation of Genba and the move is authorized. Undeterred, Midoroku asks Genba to continue.

Rikka has some fluid causing the pain, but the doctor gives her a pregnancy test just in case. Itsuki gets them out while noting some suspiciously open doors. As they leave, the ‘officer’ makes a call to an unknown party to give an update.

Urara enters CTU asking to speak with Genba.

2:00:00

iMagic: Midoroku adjusts the camera in the interrogation room after Naomichi had already been interrogating Genba.

Stormtrooper Accuracy: Alexei is right down the freakin’ hall form Urara and does not make an attempt on her life. Are they even trying anymore?

Dunder Mifflin: One of the bigwigs from CTU comes in and few bat an eyelash.

Money Shot: Campaign strategist Miho Shingyouji and Naomichi Nakasone CTU New Director get a spotlight.

Food Glorious Food: Settling into the interrogation room, Genba asks for some water and gets some along with a boxed lunch. Yuta is offered some pudding. We see all three and the bottle of water is the winner as the pudding looks crappy and the lunch is a couple slices of bread.

Peter Griffin Moment: Miyu objects to having to visit the hospital. Genba assures her it is just a precaution given what happened.

[REDATED] it!: Mylo jokes with Genba about age catching up with him. Genba takes it in stride.

The Cubbies: Nanjo just kind of hangs around when Genba comes back and walks down the hall.

I’m Not a Spy: Midoroku reacts to the irony of Itsuki looking after Rikka. For her part, Itsuki does not bat an eye.

Five Minute Rule: Miyu does not want to go to the hospital because she is feeling fine gosh darn it.

Amnesia Bait: Rikka glances daggers at Itsuki but is ultimately cordial.

24-Gate: Magoroku is in the room when Yuta comes in and cannot leave fast enough.

Let’s Up the Rating: Rikka might have been pregnant this whole time.

THAT kind of topless: The explosion from a nearby house ends up not killing ‘Yogu,’ he gets a bullet just to be sure.

Day Player of the Week: The forensics officer is pretty complete with his examination of the room.

Employee of the Month: Urara connects the dots but does so in such a way that she gets the wrong picture.

One More Time: “Getting straight to the point. I’ve got five cases. You’re involved with all of them.”
Naomichi getting down to business.

Hour Time: “It’s not just the report that will be finished. Your ID and gun.” This is a very transitional episode. Everyone but the Urara group is at CTU for the start and while they do separate, things move on ahead, but this is the first time most of the characters have been at the same spot at the same time.

Rikka is really standing on her own. She knows that Genba is separated from her, and it takes her all of two seconds to realize that he and Itsuki have been involved. It does help that Genba got back together with Rikka in the end and Itsuki did help rescue them, but every time Rikka and Itsuki are together, there is that harmful reminder. It is all the more ironic when you consider that Itsuki is there at Genba’s insistence. For her part, Itsuki does not pick up on the awkwardness which follows what we know from the character. Itsuki is professional going very far to keep them safe even through the X-Files of it all.

After hours at the complex being an action hero, Genba has to do what he has most dreaded; file a report. The invoice of him breaking all the rules has come due. He makes several strong points about breaking rules only when he had to but with everything that happened, he might not be able to stick around. It is a different kind of fight and one that he is less prepared for. He knows it is a steep uphill battle.

We get an introduction to Naomichi. While he is down to business, there are some nice touches throughout. For one, he is friendly with Nanjo. For another, we know that Genba was involved with taking down some people in CTU who were dirty and there is subtext that Naomichi knew one of them or was promoted because of that. Either way, he is straightforward as he steps into his new role. There is a calmness that is covering nervousness.

Nanjo has a good moment where he sticks up for Genba. The two will not be going to a bar after hours and slamming some sake, but from a professional standpoint, Nanjo respects Genba. Midoroku says that, as the one who sounded the alarm, Nanjo’s voice will speak loudly, and he has Genba’s back. It says a lot about the two when they have little interactivity otherwise.

Urara has almost a direct continuation from the previous hour. Yuta finds out about Dr. Touku and has nice father/son and mother/son scenes. Yuta does not know the lengths that have been taken to keep him safe and out of the picture and his parents have no choice but to keep up that image. There are scenes you have with professionals and scenes you have with family. Urara draws the wrong conclusion still under the framework that Genba is acting against her.

One issue that comes up with this episode is some odd editing choices. In theory this is supposed to be in real time, but several scenes do not bear that out. The helicopter flies Genba in and second later, he and his family are off. Naomichi goes off to the interrogation room and is there seconds later. Itsuki checks the stairwell and is in a van leaving the hospital seconds later. These are distractions from an otherwise good hour. After some big action scenes, we have some good story beats to work with.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#588277
"2:00 PM-3:00 PM"
Written by: Shûkei Nagasaka
Directed by: Ken Higurashi
Original Air Date: January 22, 2021

Start the Clock: Urara formally requests to talk to Genba. Nanjo puts up some red tape and calls Naomichi who gives him more red tape to put up, ostensibly so that they can figure out what is going on. Genba is getting tired going over the same facts and wants to talk to Rikka. Midoroku tells him that they left the hospital already. Genba is livid that he was not informed and demands to speak with Naomichi. We see that Itsuki is driving Rikka and Miyu to the safe house but keeping them in the dark about the greater threat.

While Ken greets a female acquaintance, Alexei and Miho finish up on their ‘meeting.’ She gives out several pieces of sensitive information over pillow talk then goes to take a shower, leaving Alexei ample time to rifle through her purse after setting a world record for putting on his towel.

Naomichi offers his full apology to Urara about not being able to get Genba due to policies, procedures and him not wanting to. He gets a call from higher up telling him to stop stalling. She tells him to bring in Genba and shut down recording.

Urara accuses of Genba of the shooting and wants names. When she talks about Operation Dark Night, a very confused Genba tells her why he was at the breakfast and created the commotion, even with his family being held hostage, which confuses Urara who is hearing about that for the first time.

Itsuki brings Rikka and Miyu to the safe house. Rikka uses the restroom to take a pregnancy test.

Genba and Urara go over the particulars of Operation Dark Night. There was a power plant filled with hostages being visited by a man named Victor. Genba and his crew saved the hostages and killed Victor, but Genba was the only one who made it out. If someone can connect their two names …

Eiji Banba is playing high stakes Yahtzee in Osaka when he gets a call from Urara. He is confused as to why she is connected with Genba. It seems that Victor had two sons, Andre and Alexis. Their custom is to mourn for seven years then make their vengeance. Eihji will look into his files while CTU continues to investigate on their end.

14:20:30 Miho comes back to the hotel room where Yoehi says that plans have changed, and they will be there a little longer. Miho calls Alexei who thanks her for keeping him up to date and whispering sweet nothings. Andre confirms nefarious plans with the two assassins. Yuta tries to get more information from Yohei but gets nowhere.

Miyu finds the pregnancy test which Rikka confirms is positive. Miyu’s reaction is somewhat age appropriate, but Rikka is looking forward to raising another child.

Mylo breaks up, the riveting work of Genba and Urara pouring over databases and helps Eiji hack into another database. Unfortunately, there are some deletions, but he sends it anyway.

14:32:17 Rikka and Miyo have a late lunch and Miyu apologizes for overacting. The want to tell Genba but he is busy, so Nanjo takes the message. Itsuki starts to question Rikka while Miyu goes to a bedroom and calls Ken. She wants him to turn himself in but that makes no sense to Ken. He does not want any information out but that is hard since they are being questioned.

Yohei calls Urara wondering where she is. She says she is working to find out who is trying to kill her. After hanging up, she and Genba bond over the duality of having priorities professional and personal.

14:38:16 Itsuki asks Rikka about the day’s events but there are a lot of things Rikka does not have the answer to. The conversation turns to family, specifically about the Shido clan while they were separated. Rikka outright asks Itsuki if she and Genba got together during the split and getting confirmation, wants a break from the questioning.

Looking over the data, Urara finds that Victor’s wife and daughters were killed in Operation Dark Night. That explains why Rikka and Miyu are involved. He calls Naomichi to increase their security.

14:46:18 Urara has to go as the election is still ongoing, but Genba is still under restrictions. Urara marches right up to Naomichi and Midoriku and takes care of that. Naomichi is reluctant but Genba just wants a temporary reinstatement after which he will submit for full discipline. Naomichi concedes.

Following Urara out, she and Genba realize that there will be more attempts that day and if they do not take care of it, their families will be in fear for the rest of their lives. She heads back to the hotel but not before the two make up.

Miyu does a crappy job of minimalizing Ken’s involvement when Genba calls. He tells her of the reinstatement and asks to talk to Rikka. Genba says he is back in action and wants to know what Rikka called about earlier. She dismisses that as just wanting to hear his voice.

Eiji calls Genba with more data. The deletions are happening in real time meaning that someone knows about their efforts. He has an idea who it might be, but someone taken Eiji out before a name is said.

15:00:00

iMagic: Mylo’s hacking prowess has reached the CTU Osaka division’s admiration.

Stormtrooper Accuracy: The assassins in their red car know about the safe house.

Dunder Mifflin: The first candidate for Prime Minister and the most favored to win comes to CTU and no one bats an eye or fangoobers.

Money Shot: Eiji Banba CTU Osaka Division gets a spotlight.

Food Glorious Food: In contrast to the crappy boxed lunch Genba got in captivity last week, Miyu and Rikka get a full spread.

Peter Griffin Moment: Miho gets a shower and Rikka is offered one.

[REDATED] it!: There is someone Genba blames for the deaths in Operation Dark Night: himself!

The Cubbies: Nanjo drew the short straw to face down Urara and have her go to a waiting room. He won that battle but lost the war.

I’m Not a Spy: Itsuki’s grand tour of the safe house is introducing the CTU agents and showing the living room.

Five Minute Rule: Miyu thinks the house is nifty but wonders how long they will have to be there.

Amnesia Bait: Rikka rightly wonders why they are going to a safe house and not CTU. She does not completely buy Itsuki’s explanation.

24-Gate: Urara is not afraid to pull her weight around to see, or free, Genba.

Let’s Up the Rating: A positive pregnancy test reminds Miyu that her parents were ….

THAT kind of topless: Ken is recovering well from his injuries. At least his face. His body is another story.

Day Player of the Week: Eiji has a lot of fun stuff to do in a random Osaka bar.

Employee of the Month: Mylo divided up the data into three parts, one of which he calls ‘other.’

One More Time: “Get the big shot in front of you to put in a good word.”
Eiji telling Genba how to find a ‘Get out of Jail Free” card.

Hour Time: “There are rules. I have to get authorization first.” “Hurry up.” “What do you need.” “I can’t explain it here.” It is only a matter of time before Urara and Genba got in the same room for a chat. The two leads of the show earn more than their weight in gold with dialogue that just crackles. The confusion is out of the way quickly, but it is acted well between the two. Then, they are in synchrony trying to figure out the origin of the plan. In the original version, we just got information at this episode, but 24 Japan has been able to plant some more seeds earlier. We know a lot more, so the information we get is more organic.

The conversation also gets a little personal which adds some human elements to the two. Plus, Urara is not afraid to show CTU she is in charge of her own fate, effectively sending Midoriko out for the season.

Bringing the two together is Eiji. His predecessor had more of a laid-back vibe, someone who retired long ago. Keeping the counterpart in CTU helps explain how he is able to get information, but we have some fun with it. He is in his element and even pays Mylo a complement, tying the organization together as a whole. He knows how things work and is implied to be a mentor to Genba. The scenes could not have been shot over too long a period and were done in isolation, but he creates an impression with what he has.

Another fun combination that has revelations come out organically is Itsuki and Rikka. The former tries to keep things professional, but things get personal far too quickly. We saw Rikka put it together but here it takes a different turn as she verbalizes it. There is a sense of realness to the situation and Itsuki cannot simply call to the order of the agenda. This is another case of great acting between the two.

Miyu has the reaction anyone would to finding out that their parents are still active in the bedroom. Rikka is able to play it off as an older mother and the two are eager by the end of the hour. Not happy is Midoriko who is not pleased with having to give Genba back his weapon and badge.

There are some other pieces here, but the standouts are great sequences of characters finding things out for good or ill. The brothers and political plots get their stuff out of the way pretty quickly so that we can enjoy the real meat of the matter.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#588834
"3:00 PM-4:00 PM"
Written by: Shûkei Nagasaka
Directed by: Kosuke Suzuki
Original Air Date: January 29, 2021

Start the Clock: Gebna realizes something is going on with Eiji. He calls CTU Osaka to look into it. Mylo comes in with more information, including pictures in amazing technicolor. Sanya Asano and Kougo Nakamura are in on the plot. There is also information on the hitherto unidentified agent, Alexis. They send this information to the Asakura delegation.

Miho calls Alexis and tells him that she will be staying in the city after all. He has one thing to finish up and he can meet her at the hotel afterwards at 16:30.

The perimeter of the safe house is checked as Genba calls Rikka. He does not like the way their last call ended and wants to know if there is anything else. She says no and he tells her that he will be a little while at CTU taking care of things.

As Urara arrives back, the staff gathers around to take a look at the three assassins, one of whom shocks Miho, who takes a few moments to compose herself before approaching Urara.

Miyu is continuing to protect Ken with Itsuki thinking of a Florence Nightingale situation. As Rikka comes in, Istuki lets them switch places. Sticking with the Ken side of things, Rikka protects Miyu’s integrity, having trust in her daughter despite the runaway earlier.

Urara calls Genba with the information about Miho. He thinks they can use that to their advantage. She asks about Eiji and Genba tells her that things do not look good on that end.

Miyu calls Ken telling her she will not be able to cover much longer. He tells her not to call again. Ken’s female friend comes in and Ken brushes off the call. Rikka does not like having to explain everything to Itsuki who offers to have someone else handle the questioning.

Genji shows up at CTU, taking charge. Genba fills him in on the details including Miho. Genji thinks this would be a good time to take Alexis into custody, but Genba wants to see if they can collect intelligence.

15:21:19 Urara has a talk with Yuta about what happened between the two of them so far. Regardless of what he did, she will always love and support him unconditionally. He feels as though she is keeping him at arm’s length but agrees to sort of try being a little nicer.

Sanya calls Alexis. He has eyes on the safe house and will take care of Rikka, Miyu plus the CTU agents on guard.

Mylo helps Genba with some technical issues and Genba impresses the importance of finding Andre that day. He also tasks Mylo with looking into anyone else being a spy just in case.

Yuta makes an appointment to meet Joshu when Hina walks in. He tries to brush past her but eventually tells her about the meeting. She is worried, but Yuta has to clear his conscience. Besides, even Joshu won’t kill him.

15:32:34 Miho meets with Genba and Genji. She goes over her history with Alexis. They want her to keep the appointment and get information. She is reluctant at first but agrees. As the questioning with Rikka and Miyu proceeds, Sanya takes out everyone else at the safe house.

15:42:25 Rikka and Miyu take a break while the agent gets some coffee. He offers some to the other agents but gets no response. A quick investigation reveals bodies, and he hides Rikka and Miyu while securing the house. He finds Sanya but Kougu finds him. They search the house but find that Rikka and Miyu have bedsheeted their way down. They find car keys and get out. Kougu has them in his sights, but he is shot by the not quite dead CTU agent who is in turn shot by Sanya.

Genba and Miho leave for the hotel when Mylo approaches him to confirm Eiji’s death. Genba sees Itsuki coming in and asks why she did not report as such. Nonetheless, Genba takes her along for reasons not explained to the viewer.

Rikka loses Sanya with her mad driving skills and takes a moment to step out and gather the surroundings. As she does, the car starts to roll backwards with Miyu still inside. She finds it at the bottom of a hill where it spontaneously combusts, and she faints.

15:52:17 Yuta confronts Joshu about Dr. Touku’s death. For his part, Joshu reminds Yuta of the timing; Dr. Touku breaking confidentiality years late and right before the election. Yuta calls him out on changing the subject and Joshu reiterates his threat to Urara about evidence implicating Yuta for Dr. Touku’s death that might be uncovered. After Joshu leaves, Yuta checks his phone which he used to record the conversation.

As Rikka regains her senses and goes back to the road, Sanya retraces his tracks. A woman sees Rikka standing on the road and tries to help but Rikka does not remember anything. They leave together, unknowingly passing Sanya on the way.

Miyu wakes up on the forest road! She got out of the car in enough time but as she makes her way to the street is calling for Rikka.

16:00:00

iMagic: Mylo pushes a couple buttons and longs Genba into his account. He pushes a couple more and reinstates Genba’s access.

Stormtrooper Accuracy: For all the shit I give the bad guys, Sanya manages to take out a good number of CTU agents guarding the safe house.

Dunder Mifflin: As Miho is escorted into CTU, Genji asks her two escorts to wait outside the door.

Money Shot: After appearing at least once, Chiharu Ohkusha gets a formal introduction.

Food Glorious Food: Miho is offered some bottled water and a cup for her meeting at CTU.

Peter Griffin Moment: The second to last room Sanya and Kougu check is the restroom of the safe house.

[REDATED] it!: The same Genba who put away some dirty workers is surprised that after he is put on notice that his credentials are revoked.

I’m Not a Spy: After getting an apology from Rikka, things once again get testy to the point where Itsuki just swaps out for someone else.

Five Minute Rule: Miyu has a visible reaction along with Rikka to seeing an image of the flunkie.

Amnesia Bait: Ever the adult, Rikka apologizes for getting so personal with Itsuki during the questioning.

24-Gate: When the staff gathers to see the assassin pictures, it is pretty much the same group we have seen plus Miho.

Let’s Up the Rating: Alexis touches a poster of Urara a little too suggestively. Immediately after, we see Ken getting out of the shower but …

THAT kind of topless:… his bandage is has a lot of seepage. Either he does not have a fresh bandage to change into (bad medically) or he showered with it on but managed to not get it wet at all which takes some talent.

Also, remember how Wolverine had a bit of a killing spree in X-Men 2 and it was totally bloodless? The knife Kougu pulls out of the CTU agent is also clean.

Day Player of the Week: We only hear Eiji’s boss on the phone, but it is a good voice over performance.

Employee of the Month: After getting a bit aggressive with his questioning, the CTU agent uses his amazing coffee skills to determine that something is amiss.

One More Time: “What’s their relationship?” “That of a man and a woman.”
Genba wanting to know how Miho knows Alexis and Urara being ultra PG about it.

Hour Time: “Not now.” “But then is it okay to do later? It’s pretty urgent.” One of the hallmarks of this series is the split screen. Director Stephen Hopkins did it for the first episode and it is still around several seasons and interactions later. It is especially effective here as we see Genba at CTU with Rikka and Miyu at the safe house. We see Miho reacting in shock and Alexis just hanging out on a park bench. This requires extra work to film since you need more footage in total, but it is a great visual. It is very helpful when coming back from commercial to remind us of what is going on.

Most of the surrounding material is up to par. Genba exchanges Midoroku for Genji. It offers a chance for exposition but the whole reason we had more than one person originally is because the writers kept circling supervisors to CTU before settling on the guy there in the first place. It works here because Genji has an opportunity to be effective. He has slept off the problems from earlier in the day and no longer do we see someone on his way out. Rather we see someone effective at their job, getting up to speed and supporting Genba. It is a welcome change in characterization.

Nanjo is absent for some reason that is left as an exercise for the viewer, but Mylo plays the role of CTU guy helping out Genba for a good portion of the episode. The two work well together and Mylo is getting into the swing of things. His humongous headphones keep getting in the way, but he serves his role well and has dialogue that other more tenured characters simply cannot have.

Yuta takes a bit of a larger role this weak as well. He takes matters into his own hands standing up to Joshu, in a matter of speaking. The difference in experience both as characters and actor is evident but Yuki Imai stands his ground as Yuta. He knows when to be aggressive and when to reign it in. The scene with Hina is also good and a rare sighting of brother and sister alone together.

The Home Alone from Hell plot with the safe house is done well. It is exciting and while Sanya and Kougu get a little too action hero with their posing, it is exciting as they search the house only to find that their targets have escaped (oopsie) and one of the agents is still alive (double oopsie). The changing of the guard with Itsuki is well handled, and at the request of Rikka. Her apology to Rikka is well played and is a good moment of maturity. That moment is trashed in their next scene, but it is nice when it lasts.

Then we get to the explosion. The writers’ fingerprints are all over that. We had to separate Miyu and Rikka but could not come up with a good way to do so resulting in the explosion and Rikka getting amnesiac. Hopefully someone is able to stop the proverbial ball from rolling too far down the hill because that is a huge distraction.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#589160
"4:00 PM-5:00 PM"
Written by: Shûkei Nagasaka
Directed by: Kento Kiuchi
Original Air Date: February 5, 2021

Start the Clock: As Miyu searches for Rikka, we see Rikka being driven by Yuki Aoyama. Rikka still does not remember anything, so Aoyama is going right to the hospital. Genba, Itsuki and Miho meet with Urara’s security detail. They are watching all entrances and have a pretty tight surveillance system ready for Alexis’s arrival.

On their way, Rikka sees a gastropub that seems familiar. She goes in and has a sense of déjà vu. The Maître D does not recognize her but lets her wait for the manager to show up as Aoyama leaves but not before giving Rikka her number and some money for a cab if things do not work out.

As Itsuki briefs Miho, Urara comes in to check on her, also pulling Genba aside to make sure nothing happens to her. She is concerned about Genba’s state of mind, but he assures Urara that he will be professional, and no harm will come to Miho.

Miyu finds a payphone and calls CTU. Nanjo answers and tries to get Miyu’s location while also finding out that the safe house has been compromised. Miyu is leery of the situation and hangs up. Nanjo reports to Genji who sends a team to look into it but does not want Nanjo informing Genba, not with Alexis coming in fifteen minutes.

For his part, Genba is going over the arrangements with Itsuki. They hope their plan works; they really have no other leads. Genba asks Itsuki why she left the safe house, but she is called away before she can respond.

Left with few alternatives, Miyu calls Ken asking to come and see him. Ken is reluctant but eventually concedes under a threat.

Yuta has a talk with Urara apologizing and realizing that she lied to protect him. She presumes he spoke with Yohei but he plays the recording of Joshu. Urara tells him how dangerous that is but gets a copy of the recording. She pulls Yohei aside and wants to talk with him and Magoroku.

16:22:04 Alexis calls Andre about his upcoming meeting. Andre is suspicious but Alexis likes ‘meeting’ with Miho. Andre’s spider sense tingles to the point where he orders Alexis to get rid of her afterwards.

Genba shows Miho their setup. He also gives her a briefing; she just needs to plant a transmitter on Alexis then Genba will call her to get her out of the room. In case things go south, he gives her a secret phrase that once uttered will send agents in. Ideally, they want to plant the transmitter, but her safety is important.

The manager arrives and recognizes Rikka. He asks about Dr. Hamahata but she draws a blank. The manager knows that they are friends and not married. The doctor works at a nearby hospital and the manager offers to call him over to help.

Genba and Itsuki check in as they prepare with Genba getting an update on what happened with Itsuki and Rikka at the safe house. After they discuss the matter, Alexis arrives.

16:30:25 Alexis enters his room, under the watchful gaze of Genba and Itsuki. He does not take out his wallet, so Genba presumes it is still in his jacket. Miho enters the room, less outwardly physical than usual. Alexis takes note and Genba orders a task force on standby.

Miho asks Alexis to prepare a drink while she goes into her room. She is able to place the bug but not able to put the wallet back. Alexis comes into the room and things get a little testy as she picks up on him always wanting to know about Urara and not Miho. She dismisses it as a hunger pang and wants to see the menu for some food. He leaves to get it and she replaces the wallet.

16:42:38 The task force has cleared the hallway, so Genba calls Miho except she rejects the call. As Alexis orders a tomato pasta, she goes to a nightstand and grabs something that Genba and Itsuki are unable to see initially but later find out it is a knife. Miho stabs Alexis and Genba orders the task force to strike. Genba rushes in and pulls Alexis off Miho and rushes to save his life.

Miyu arrives via cab and gets an icy reception from Chiharu. Ken tries to smooth things over explaining the Chiharu is Go’s girlfriend, but the introduction is muddled as Ken pays the fare.

16:51:33 Dr. Hamahata finds Rikka. The impression is that they were a little more than friends but Rikka recoils to his touch. Undeterred, he orders a warm drink for her.

Genji chews out Genba for how the meeting played out. Alexis might make it, but he will not be in any condition to talk. Urara is happy that Miho is fine but not happy that Miho is in custody. It is at the point where Urara no longer trusts CTU in general or Genba in particular.

Alexis’s phone starts to ring. Genba picks up and is told to being the money to the Sora Park Tower Plaza in a half hour to a man with a red cap and beard.

17:00:00

iMagic: There is still a pay phone around. And a working one at that. Because the plot demands it.

Dunder Mifflin: We see very little of CTU though Mylo is able to track down the pay phone.

Money Shot: Dr. Keisuke Hamahata gets a nice frame though we are told about him before he comes on screen.

Food Glorious Food: Alexis tosses one back and prepares a watered-down drink for Miho. Plus, the menu at the hotel is larger than that at most restaurants. Either that or they have a great selection of alcohol.

[REDATED] it!: Genba tried to tell Rikka that he was involved with Itsuki when they were split but he was not able to.

The Cubbies: Nanjo picks up when Miyu calls and really does not have his heart in the conversation at all.

I’m Not a Spy: Itsuki puts Genba’s mind at ease after he senses a disturbance in the force about Miyu and Rikka.

Five Minute Rule: Miyu outright forces Ken to let her come over lest she call the police.

Amnesia Bait: On one hand Rikka found a great good Samaritan to get a ride. On the other, she is abandoned a little too quickly even with getting some swag.

24-Gate: Miho misses her dexterity roll when she puts the transmitter in the wallet.

Let’s Up the Rating: Miho says that her meetings with Alexis were not as much verbal in nature as they were physical.

THAT kind of topless: Miho’s stab was enough to get some blood to seep through Alexis’ shirt but dangerous enough to put him in a critical condition.

Day Player of the Week: One of Rikka’s guards apologizes for being so rough with Genba at the breakfast meeting. It is a nice callback.

One More Time: “Will you tell him after the mission is over?” Yes, I will tell him after the mission is over. Is that okay with you?”
Nanjo playing conscience and Genji being not that great at supervising.

Hour Time: “Isn’t this going too far?” “It’s a necessary measure. And her own decision.” “But he’s a professional killer.” The main event is the meeting with Alexis and Miho, neither of who are main characters, both of whom we have known for a handful or episodes and recent ones at that. Almost two full acts are dedicated to it.

It falls flat.

The pacing is absolutely horrible. There is something to be said for having a slow burn. This show has done that successfully already several times. Heck, in this episode, Rikka’s scenes are calmly paced but interesting. Here we watch Miho walk across the room, Alexis get a drink and it is hard to stay awake. Neither actor is especially compelling, and everything crawls to a halt. Worst is that the writers had to contrive a reason for Genba to not come in and when the task force is brought in, and they take forever to clear out of the hallway. Urara berates Genba for letting the stabbing happen, but we have seen everything and while we can see where Urara is coming from, it is hard not to take Genba’s side.

If it wasn’t bad enough, that just seems to destroy the second half of the episode. Miyu reuniting with Ken, Rikka meeting Hamahata, it is just so off since the focus is elsewhere.

Thankfully there is a first half to all this. Rikka’s amnesia storyline could easily go off the rails but her scene in the car is done well with her driver being very polite. Even at the gastropub things are slower but Tae Kimura keeps it interesting. People around her are working to help her and she is taking it all in as she pieces it together. As a bonus, it fills in things for us in the audience. Miyu does a good job blackmailing Ken to get to a safe spot. Nanjo is a bit off with his call but Miyu calling CTU is a good instinct to have.

The highlights both involve Urara. We see her talking with Yuta about the conversation with Joshu. She will berate him later but asks Yuta to let her take control. Yuta has been rebellious until now but sees the wisdom in Urara and hands the recording over. It is a very mature act for him to take, a better sense of maturity than we saw last week.

Miho also has a good moment with Urara. We’ve seen like ten or so people in the hotel helping her out with the election, but she knows Miho. This is not a random background player. Rather, this is someone she has taken the time to know and bond with her over the course of the huge amount of work they have put into the campaign. It tells us a lot about Urara as a leader and a character. The party is in good hands. Unlike Yuta, this is someone she can order not to participate but lets her go into Genba’s capable hands.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#589382
5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Written by: Shûkei Nagasaka
Directed by: Kosuke Suzuki
Original Air Date: February 12, 2021

Start the Clock: Urara asks about Miko’s fate, which Genba says does not look great. Itsuki finds the cash Alexis was supposed to bring to the meeting. Genba decides to show up his stead. They do not know if that will work, but they have few other leads.

Genji asks Nanjo for information about Rikka and Miyu of which there is little. Nanjo wants to inform Genba but Genji puts the kibosh on that quickly.

Ken searches for contact information on Tamizo since he may have been involved with the disappearance of Rikka. Miyu tries to hack into his computer. Both are unsuccessful. Chiharu ‘talks’ with Ken and it becomes clear she does not know that Go died. After she leaves, Ken tells Miyu to keep it that way. Also, Go’s brother, Jin, is coming and he should similarly remain blissfully unaware.

Dr. Hamahata goes over things with Rikka. She separated from her husband, and they started seeing each other. Eventually, Rikka rekindled things with her husband and pushed Dr. Hamahata away. They are friends but Dr. Hamahata wanted to become more.

Urara plays the recording for Yohei and Magoroku. Yohei wants to keep it hidden. The election is underway, and Urara will be the leader of the party and Prime Minister. Getting the news out will cause a huge scandal. Magoroku agrees with holding it, at least for now. It is a great trump card against someone who might wish to use this against them in the future.

Genba calls Nanjo for an update. Genji takes the call and tells Genba that Rikka and Miyu are sleeping. Genba also gives Genji an update while asking for some backup. In the car, Genba asks Itsuki about Rikka’s reaction to her revelation but there is little to be gained. He asks Itsuki to call the safehouse but there is no answer. Genba will try later.

Nanjo straight up asks Genji for permission to check on Rikka and Miyu. Genji asks about Itsuki and is surprised to learn she is with Genba. He makes accusations of their relationship causing a laxness around CTU, but Nanjo will have none of it.

Urara has a talk with Yuta about sending the recording to the police. The young man is prepared for the consequences, but Urara reminds him he has more than the legal system to face such as the news, magazines and the 24-hour media cycle who will all come after him. For his part, Yuta is prepared for the onslaught since he has been living with the burden for years. Urara vows to be with him every step of the way.

17:25:15 Andre calls Sanya who is having a devil of a time locating Miyu or Rikka. The car is burnt and has no bodies. Sanya figures the Shido residence will be the best place to go.

Chiharu continues to grate against Miyu. With Jin coming, she will not fit in. Ken and Miyu mutually decide it is time for Miyu to leave, even giving her some money for cab fare. They have a moment wondering what would have happened if they had met some other way but before she can get out, Jin shows up. He asks about Go and about Miyu. Not being satisfied with the answers Jin forbids Miyu from leaving until Go gets back.

Genba and Itsuki arrive on the scene with lookouts at the ready. Genji calls and says that the backup team will be led by Tetsuiji Harimoto, someone who has bad blood with Genba. Genji orders them to play nice. The meeting goes about as well as it can with Tetsuiji holding a huge chip on his shoulder since Genba got his former partner in trouble, but Genba has done as much or worse that day and is still active.

17:35:35 Nanjo is grabbing a cup of Joe. Mylo talks about how crazy things have been when an eyewitness report comes in about Rikka. Nanjo orders people to look into everything before reporting to Genji who orders an investigation near the area as well as someone to go to the Shido residence.

Dr. Hamahata gives Rikka a once over. Physically she is fine, apart from stomach pains, but he recommends she go to a hospital as she might not recover her memories otherwise. Rikka is set against that, instead wanting to go home. We see Sanya is at their house at the ready.

Urara finishes up with her subordinates and goes to another room. Yohei is watching as she crosses through the door then leaves for a meeting. Going into that room, he opens a safe which holds a thumb drive.

17:44:01 Yohei asks Urara about Yuta, and they agree he is becoming a man, for better or worse. Urara opens the safe and find nothing. She confronts Yohei who destroyed the drive. Urara goes to a drawer and pulls out the real drive; Yohei failed the test. Going to her team, she calls a press conference. For within the hour. That is a quick turnaround, but Urara is sure that the media will cover it.

Genba checks with his team. Tetsuiji takes the opportunity to taunt Genba, to the point where Itsuki calls Genji to intervene.

17:51:21 Sanya is at the Shido residence right when the agent arrives. On their way, Dr. Hamahata asks Rikka if it seems familiar, but it does not. Jin is on the phone ready to set up a deal, or at least he will be when Go comes back. Ken tells Miyu to be quiet about the fact that Go will not be coming back.

Genba orders the plaza cleared of kids as Red Hat Man comes. They sit in the outside since the interior to well populated. Genba confirms the details of the plan: at 19:20, he is to turn off power to a specific area and restore it five minutes later. Genba asks if that is all which triggers Red Hat Man’s spider sense, and he makes a run for it. In spite of Genba’s efforts to chase him down Tetsuji defies orders and takes a shot, which proves too severe. The medics are called in.

Rikka and Dr. Hamahata arrive at the Shido residence. They are unaware of both the body of the CTU agent on the premises and Sanya aiming a gun at them.

18:00:00

Stormtrooper Accuracy: Rikka and Dr. Hamahata are oblivious to the dead body on the premises. Granted it is somewhat hidden, but you think Sanya would have stashed it somewhere not outside the front door.

Dunder Mifflin: Genji’s solution to making sure that the backup team does not get in the way? Sending a secondary backup team.

Money Shot: Go’s brother, Jin Samejima and Tetsuiji Harimato, CTU Investigator make their debut and appearance respectively.

Food Glorious Food: In one of the montages, Mylo washes down his trail mix with some chips. Jin knocks back a few with Ken.

[REDATED] it!: Urara asks about mitigating factors for Miho which Genba dismisses since she ignored his calls (thus going against the plan) and she voluntarily stabbed Alexie (ruling out self-defense).

The Cubbies: Genji asks Nanjo questions that are entirely out of line. For his part, Nanjo takes it on the chin and blows right past him.

I’m Not a Spy: Rikka is outright asked by Genba about her conversation with Rikka which is all sorts of wrong. Ever the professional, Rikka does not betray eithers’ confidence.

Five Minute Rule: Miyu and Ken have a nice moment with each other, to the point where Ken will give her what little he has stashed away to keep her safe.

Amnesia Bait: Rikka is marveling at her life as told by a former lover.

24-Gate: Even though Urara booked a hotel room for her command center, the still go to a conference room because plot demanded she be away for a few minutes.

Let’s Up the Rating: Chiharu is both very drunk and handsy with Ken.

THAT kind of topless: Miyu asks about how Ken’s arm is healing. It would have been a nicer moment had she done so before touching it.

Day Player of the Week: Tetsuiji breeds sliminess and is very unlikeable with an itchy trigger finger.

Employee of the Month: Knowing that there is a meeting coming, Genba calls for a search of the room to find something of value. A suitcase full of untraceable cash is the result.

One More Time: “Yo, Genba Shido, Long time no see. Pretty sure that was when you arrested my dear partner Sekiguchi.”
Tetsuiji’s introduction line.

Hour Time: “Harimoto? That’ll be trouble. He and Shido are incompatible. Find someone else.” As much as a failure as the main set piece was last week, this is a success. Part of the reason is brevity; last week it was more than two full acts and here it is the last five minutes. That is a bit of an exaggeration; the action is in the last five minutes but the leadup from scoping out the scene to the start of the meeting take up a lot of time. It is an outside environment meaning there are a lot of things out of CTUs control.

There are also problems with things under CTUs control as Tetsuiji reveals. He pushes so many of Genba’s buttons and the direction makes sure we see Genba in the crosshairs and a finger ready to pull the trigger. Tetsuiji knows that while they are waiting, Genba will have no choice but to hear him and he takes every advantage of the opportunity. Being entirely honest, he does have kind of a point, at least from an outsider’s perspective. We know that Genba will face consequences once the day is over, but that information is not widely disseminated through CTU.

In the oddest sense of the word, Rikka’s plotline is successful this week. On paper it should not be let alone work. By all means it should be boring with Rikka not knowing who she is and us getting information we already know. Except Tae Kimura plays the heck out of it. I am at a loss to say what it is about her performance that is captivating, but she is engaging to look at as she takes it all in. We know what Genba did while they were separated but this is our first time hearing about what happened to Rikka. It fills in a lot of blanks and while it can be a little too expositional, it is fascinating to watch. It also offers a nice contrast when Genba asks Itsuki about Rikka’s reaction to finding out about the two of them.

Miyu and Ken have a nice moment of closure as well. The two have been through a lot and Ken is justifiably pushing her away. The two have a chance to connect and Ken really is looking out for her own good. It shows how far they have come when they imagine the world in which the meeting under better circumstances.

The political plot has something we thought we would never see; Magoroku and Yohei agreeing on keeping the recording secret. They have different reasons and timetables, but Urara goes against both while also setting a trap for her husband. She decides to go ahead with the press conference, something we had a good idea would happen when she spoke with Yuta.

There are things that keep this from being excellent. Sanya has the opportunity to take out Rikka, which he is ordered to do but does not take the shot. Also, Jin does not really add anything and seems to be there as an obstacle more than anything else. Plus, Nanjo and Itsuki are almost entirely sidelined with the later just kind of being there for the sake of being there. Not great as we move into the final quarter of the story.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#589552
6:00 PM-7:00 PM
Written By: Shûkei Nagasaka
Directed by: Ken Higurashi
Original Air Date: February 19, 2021

Start the Clock: Rikka and Dr. Hamahata face two obstacles to getting into the Shido residence; Sanya is present ready to strike and there is a PIN required to enter. After too many failed attempts, the alarm sounds and a security firm sends a team out.

As Red Hat Man is cleared from the scene, Genba and Itsuki learn his identity. He was hired to turn off power in a specific area at 19:20 so they will see what is in that location.

Yohei urges Urara not to reveal everything at the press conference since they will not be able to put the toothpaste back into the tube, but Urara is more than ready to reveal it.

As a crowd gathers at the loud alarm going off, a security team verifies Rikka’s identity and lets her in, not knowing that Sanya is in the crowd.

Mylo reports to Nanjo about a Rikka sighting. They will look into it further. Mylo wants to tell Genba about it, but Nanjo repeats the order not to. They also discus Genji going to the plaza.

The security team gets a signature from Rikka and does a perimeter check. Rikka looks at kiddie pictures of Miyu thought they do not ring a bell.

Genji arrives at the plaza chewing out Genba. He is so mad he wants to talk to Tetsuiji! Urara calls Genba giving him some secret information about a redacted location which just happens to be the same spot that the lights are supposed to be shut off and he has Nanjo look into it. Genba gets ready to head on out, but Genji invites himself along.

Jin is repeatedly stymied when he calls Go. After he heads upstairs, Miyu tries to convince Ken to leave with her, but Chiharu gets in the way. Miyu blurts out that Go isn’t coming back, and Jin comes back into the room. Ken tells Jin about what happened, including that his brother is dead and there is no money. Whatever techniques and medication Jin has to control his temper wear off at that point.

The Asakura family sits down to a dinner. Yohei wants to know what Urara will say and she replies with the truth. Yuta takes her side and Urara agonizes over not being there for her family when they needed it because she did not know what was going on. Things get to the point where Hina has a panic attack. While Yuta runs to get a medical team, Urara comforts her daughter.

On their way to the location, Genba catches Genji up with the connection to Project Dark Night. He gets a call from Itsuki (back at CTU for reasons not explained to the viewer) telling him that the area they are going to is a wildlife sanctuary. Genba looks at the area on his phone while Rikka tenderly holds a cardigan.

18:24:21 Rikka still does not remember anything. Dr. Hamahata asks her to look at the pictures one more time. She asks if he met Miyu but Rikka kept her separate knowing that Miyu would react badly. Still, Dr. Hamahata was into Rikka and she was into him but they had to separate when Rikka wanted to get the family back together.

As Jin and Chiharu argue, Miyu decides to make a run for it. She is too late as a posse shows up with some firepower.

Hina gets a once over and is told to leave for the season, er take it easy and rest. Urara goes to deliver her speech with the confidence of Hina. She wants Yohei there as a supportive husband.

Rikka finds a diary, leading to Dr. Hamahata to reminisce. Someone comes to the door, a person Dr. Hamahata called as a precaution, an old friend familiar with martial arts. The interior is protected by a security system, so he can keep track of the exterior. Dr. Hamahata is being careful since they do not know how Rikka lost her memory. He interjects it might be her husband but Rikka shoots that down, though is unable to say why. Sanya gives Andre an update. There are some extra hurdles but nothing he cannot overcome. Andre tells him to get it done.

Urara begins her press conference. She talks about the funding her political organization receives, things that the businessmen with Joshu do not want to hear but it is too late.

18:38:22 Urara continues her speech. The actions were hidden from her, Yuta is ready to cooperate with the authorities and Hina is the victim in all this.

Nanjo and Itsuki update each other with Nanjo relaying about Rikka and Miyu. Itsuki is flabbergasted that Nanjo followed the order to keep quiet and makes a call immediately.

Genba and Genji come to a locked gate. Genba attacks the lock while Genji has a one-sided conversation with Itsuki. Knowing her next course of action, he borrows Genba’s phone, keeping him in the dark. They go over more of what they know and find a station with a newer lock at the place the power was supposed to go out but no reason why anyone would want to do so in a wildlife sanctuary.

18:46:03 Urara talks about how she made a mistake but will try not to make them going forward and will lead proudly as the conference ends.

The buyers come to Jin’s to make the sale. Jin hands over a bag with the ‘money,’ but a standoff ensues. The buyers surrender their weapons, Jin belts Ken for letting Go die and approaches the buyer.

Itsuki sends Rikka and Miyu’s information out. Nanjo thinks she is too into it, but Itsuki says Nanjo is acting too dispassionately, challenging him to be more involved.

As Jin prepares to shoot the buyer, it is revealed that he is holding an undercover cop at gunpoint. They are raided and everyone is taken into custody by officer Tsutoma.

18:54:16 Dr. Hamahata shows Rikka his daughters, ages 8 and 11. He goes to prepare some tea as Rikka looks at a keepsake box from Miyu. Playing a tune, she regains some of her memory. Dr. Hamahata is happy though his friend comes in to use the restroom. Both are shot by Sanya who asks Rikka about Miyu. Hearing nothing a shot rings out, but it is Sanya who was shot by Nanjo. Rikka’s memories seem intact.

Urara hugs Hina and Yuta while Yohei slips out the back. At the designated coordinates, Genba and Genji find nothing but soon some vans come to the area.

19:00:00

iMagic: The security team that comes to let Rikka in has a fancy schmancy app with her picture that requires a thumbprint.

Stormtrooper Accuracy: Sanya has no less than three opportunities to take out Rikka but decides not to because he read the script.

Dunder Mifflin: Even though there is an active investigation on hand, Mylo is able to listen to Hina’s speech.

Money Shot: Fairly late into the episode we meet Narcotics squad Tsutomu Kirumai.

Food Glorious Food: The Asakara family has a scrumptious dinner, though the conversation turns sour.

Peter Griffin Moment: We do not see the restroom in the Shido household, but someone asks to use it.

[REDATED] it!: Genba talks about how his family is safe. Genji’s reaction does not go unnoticed by Genba.

The Cubbies: When on the phone with Genba, Nanjo comes oh so close to revealing what he knows about Rikka.

I’m Not a Spy: Upon hearing that Genba is riding with Genji, Itsuki calls them a real pair.

Five Minute Rule: Miyu is pissed that she is taken in for just sitting on the couch during the transaction.

Amnesia Bait: Hearing that she went on a billiards date, she asks how well she played and is told she was horrible.

24-Gate: Hina and Yuta watch Urara speak on a phone while an agent in the same room watches on a laptop.

Let’s Up the Rating: While Rikka and Dr. Hamahata had an emotional connection, they did not want the other to know about their respective families.

THAT kind of topless: Hearing that his brother is dead and there is no money forthcoming, Jin throws things around, flips a table and stabs a piece of furniture.

Day Player of the Week: The funders of Urara’s campaign spend several seconds looking pissed and it helps sell the situation Urara found herself in.

Employee of the Month: Entirely offscreen as it would ruin the surprise, Nanjo goes out to the Shido residence.

One More Time: “Is hiding Dr. Aoi’s murder really the best for the country?”
Yuta asking a rhetorical question at dinner.

Hour Time: “Shido, wherever you go, people die.” No matter which plot you are following, we are getting into the endgame of the season as things are racing towards their conclusion.

The Asakrua plot can end now, and we would have a resolution. Urara has gotten out the speech she wanted to do all day and while there is fallout, the family is prepared. Yohei has no confidence but Yuta and Hina are supportive. Hina gets the most action she has had all season with a fainting spell, but Urara has her back. Their mother daughter dynamic is great and one of the bonuses from the gender swap. It is a pity that we did not get to hear the entire speech but the snippets of the beginning, middle and end tell us enough and leave us wanting more which is never a bad thing.

The Rikka plot could also end here and now leaving us with a conclusion, but there is more of a demand for resolution since she has not been reunited with Genba. He has no idea what is going on with her at all. Her scenes with Dr. Hamahata continue to be a highlight showing off what two actors with talent and maturity bring to a scene. Romance is off the table but not the bonds these two have developed over the years. It is a refreshing thing to see on screen and in real life as well.

As for Miyu’s plot, it moved but she was not part of the action. Neither was Ken. Jin was the most active and Chiharu was kind of around as well. A lot of characters and action happened but it happens so fast over the course of the episode that it is really hard to get invested. Miyu really did not have much to do with this plot and it got a bit repetitive but is not nearly as watchable as Rikka’s story.

Itsuki and Nanjo were perfunctory, and Genji kept Genba in the dark while also keeping him on a tight leash. Their plot was a buddy cop road trip and Genji did accept the apology for getting hit with a tranquilizer. We see the investigative side of Genba and how he follows his instincts. He is in his element, and it shows as we get closer to the conclusion of the season.

It is not explained why Sanya was waiting around other than that the script called for it. He had several times when he could have attacked but did not, for some reason.

A few duds with some great high points as we get to an end of the story.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#589974
"7:00 PM-8:00 PM"
Written by: Shûkei Nagasaka
Directed by: Kosuke Suzuki
Original Air Date: February 26, 2021

Start the Clock: Genji and Genba look around the dark forest for … something. Genji is ready to leave since Alexis will be out of surgery soon. Genba wants to keep looking, at least until 7:20, promising to come back if nothing happens.

Nanjo physically tends to Dr. Hamahata and emotionally tends to Rikka. He tells her that Miyu is fine, but they do not know her exact whereabouts. He givens an update to Itsuki who wants Rikka brought in.

Miyu, Ken and the posse are brought into a police station. Miyu wants to make a call, but Chiharu wants to cause trouble. Ken and Miyu have a chance to talk (which is not going to be an issue with two people of opposite genders arrested for a crime at all!) and both agree that they should be honest going forward. Even though it will be bad for Ken, both agree to be truthful in their responses.

Urara checks in with Hina, who is feeling a lot better now that she does not have to hide things. Yohei thinks Urara just gave her concession speech. She puts it into the hands of the people, but Yohei wonders why she destroyed twenty-five years of work in thirteen minutes. When he calls it over, she wonders if he is referring to the campaign or their marriage.

Genba searches the forest finding a large box and a mountain with a door leading down. He is unaware that he is in the sights of a scope. The agent calls Andre to report Genba, who has found a latch and entered an underground facility (the area he drops down into has no ladders, so how someone is supposed to get out of it is an exercise for the viewer.) As Genba searches, he is tasered and taken away by armed figures.

As Mylo cheers up Itsuki, a handcuffed Genba comes to in a cell. Agent Retsujiro brings his personal effects. The facility is one for dangerous felons. Genba fills him in on the assassination and asks about what will happen at 7:20. Retsujiro says there will be a prisoner arriving. Genba asks for backup to be called. There is not enough time for them to arrive, but they are needed and Genba will take the blame if it is in vain. He asks about personnel but there are minimally staffed. Genba asks for the maintenance personnel to be dressed to make it look better guarded than it is.

19:16:25 As Andre’s group gets ready for an ambush, Genba prepares the agents, especially those who do not have experience with that sort of things. They stay in the lights, which do not go out, and safely escort the hooded prisoner in, the ambushers wondering why there are so many armed guards and general brightness. Andre is crestfallen but has a backup plan.

Ken gets nowhere professing Miyu’s innocence as the cop thinks they are an item. Miyu tells Tsutomu that she is Genba’s daughter. Had she stopped there, it might have been enough, but she lays out the kidnapping plot and the safe house which are unconvincing. She begs them to call CTU to confirm her story and gives them a number to call.

The agents take off their gear, but Genba wants to keep the alarm up. Retsujiro does not agree since nothing happened. There are procedures he has to follow unless CTU intervenes. Genba asks to use his phone.

Magoroku says that the online buzz about Urara is going up. She gets a call from Genba asking her to untie his hands. She asks him to call CTU, but he knows she can do it faster. After hanging up, he notices wires and follows them.

19:35:01 Andre wants to do a super loud plan to break in, but the posse does not like the plan. They offer him a chance to change it. but he wants to go through with it. Andre even holds the leader at knifepoint to punctuate his goal.

Genba’s findings lead him to a surveillance room. He finds the hooded figure but is interrupted by Retsujiro. Despite it being against the rules for Genba to be in the room, Retsujiro yells and does not drag Genba out. Thankfully, the figure looks up to reveal Victor Hayashi, father of Alexis and Andre and the man Genba killed seven years ago, supposedly at least.

Genji as back at CTU and gives an update to Itsuki. She asks about telling Genba of his family but is rebuked.

Genba fills Retsujiro on the danger Victor and Andre represent and ask to move him, but Retsujiro needs to follow procedure.

19:45:48 An undeterred Andre plans to just blow up the station he paid to turn off. It will make noise but that will only add to the confusion and require minimal explosives.

Urara and Yohei have an open talk of their marriage. Urara is questioning but Yohei feels they have come too far personally and professionally to give up at this point.

As Miyu is brought into holding, Retsujiro asks Genba why the authorities went to so much trouble to keep Victor alive after ordering his death seven years ago. There are uses such as information or political fodder, but that is mainly speculation. They get permission for Genba to talk to Victor for five minutes.

19:52:15 Under Retsujiro’s surveillance, Genba approaches Victor. Genba apologizes for the deaths he inadvertently caused but wants to keep Rikka and Miyu safe. Plus, Alexis and Andre are at risk. For his part, Victor finds Genba’s assertion offensive and arrogantly agrees in the most sarcastic way possible. Approval to move Victor comes in and Genba asks for a super-secret escape not on the plans.

Nanjo brings Rikka into CTU having dropped off Dr. Hamahata at the hospital and tells Itsuki as much.

As Victor is escorted, the power goes out. The team high tails it to a safe room but Andre sets off an explosion to get in.

20:00:00

iMagic: The surveillance room has a big ass fancy schmancy tablet/table

Stormtrooper Accuracy: Genba is in the crosshairs but is not shot for some reason.

Dunder Mifflin: Genji calls for a helicopter to pick him up. That should cause some chatter around the office.

Money Shot: Facility head Retsujiro Iwakata and Shock troop commander Sousuke are introduced.

Food Glorious Food: Mylo brings Itsuki a coffee. Genba and Genji both chug bottles of water separately but Genba’s in unlabeled.

[REDATED] it!: Genba uses his observational skills to locate Victor, both the facility he will be taken to in general and his specific location therein.

The Cubbies: Nanjo looks at the pictures around Genba’s house.

I’m Not a Spy: Itsuki is minorly annoyed by Mylo and is chewed out be Genji.

Five Minute Rule: Miyu has had a mostly crappy day with Ken being the one exception.

Amnesia Bait: Rikka is justifiably freaking out at the start of the hour after seeing three people get shot, but she pulls herself together to tend for Dr. Hamahata.

24-Gate: As the polls have their last moments open, Urara is congratulated by her staff.

Let’s Up the Rating: If men in uniform are your thing, this episode has eight.

THAT kind of topless: The shot that hit Dr. Hamahata went clean through, so he will survive.

Employee of the Month: Retsujiro is nonplussed by the fact that nothing unusual happened when they brought in Victor mainly because, from his perspective, nothing happened.

One More Time: “I don’t celebrate failure.” “Failure?” “That speech might as well have been a concession.”
Yohei and Urara unsure of their future.

Hour Time: “What happened to Shido?” “It looks like he went inside.” “He’s not supposed to…” Batman has been an enduring figure in comics for decades. As much as he is an action hero crimefighter, he is also the world’s greatest detective, to the point where the pilot of Batman: The Animated Series has several scenes of pure silence while Batman investigates crime scenes.

Genba follows up on that by using his amazing observational powers several times. There will be action and great dialogue but there were some things he had to figure out for himself. Both the finding of the base and the surveillance room are done with little dialogue and good acting. Well, the former is punctuated by the villains trying to figure things out, but we see Genba finding putting the pieces together.

The base is a great set piece. The parts that we see mainly exists for this episode, but you get a good sense for it. An off the books facility that you need to be a bigwig to know about, it is there entriely to do things quietly. It works when orders are followed, and you get the sense that you are placed there is you are good at following orders. It is the focus of this episode and introduces us to two great characters.

Retsujiro tells Genba ‘no’ several times. His is not shocked when nothing happens during the transfer because he did expect anything to happen. He has orders to follow and knows that when a prisoner comes in, it is not because there is nowhere else to put them, it is because there is a lot of secrecy needed to keep that prisoner hidden. He wants to help Genba but his hands are tied. Genba is endeared and calls in Urara to help him out. They really are on the same side and have their own resources to complete their respective missions.

We have also met Victor who we have heard about for several episodes. No money shot aside, we get a good introduction to him in phases, first hooded, then unmasked and then in conversation with Genba. The cards are close to the vest and there is no reason to reveal too much at this point. Victor is not the broken prisoner; he knows there is a plan. He has a lot of menace in his conversation with Genba and is enthusiastic in the end when things go off the rails. There is more in the tank for this character, but this is a good introduction with credit to the actor, writer and director.

The rest of the episode pales and not just in comparison. The usually reliable Urara deals with the fallout but it does not impact the polls, even though it is sketchy as hell that the revelation came out with an hour to go. The scenes with Yohei have no bite but the scene with Hina is solid. The daughter has perked up with everything out in the open and is another great instance of the gender flip working out.

Miyu’s scenes should go towards helping her out by revealing about CTU. Even with Chiharu feeding lies to the detectives, this should pan out. It is not like she does not give them a number to call or anything. Her moment with Ken is good but the scene where she is put into holding just does not come across well. The nervousness is not played well enough.

Nanjo and Rikka tie up the amnesia subplot and go back to CTU. While it is good for that to be out of the way, it just kind of takes up time and doesn’t really have much excitement but it is well played. Similarly, Itsuki and Mylo hold down the fort and Genji does not want to be questioned.

One very well done piece and a bunch of things around it that are kind of there but do not have pizazz ultimately making for a very uneven hour.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#590304
"8:00 PM-9:00 PM"
Written by: Shûkei Nagasaka
Directed by: Toru Otsuka
Original Air Date: March 5, 2021

Start the Clock: As some of the polls close, things look good for Urara. Not present in the celebration is Urara herself whom Yohei has to ask/beg to join the rest. At the police station, Chiharu is put into the holding cell. She brushes off the recognition she gets from her cellmates and proceeds to harass Miyu.

Urara addresses her staff. She is happy to get the truth out and while they have to wait for the ballots to be counted, their victory is pretty much assured. She has everyone give themselves a round of applause.

Genji is also taking a victory lap with Itsuki as the lone audience member. Sure, the power did go out in the area Genba investigated but that was coincidence, right? The phone rings with Genba on the line, taking Genji out of his reverie. Genba relays the direness of the situation requesting backup. Genji wants to go through the proper channels while Genba needs them there five minutes ago. Nanjo brings in Rikka and they are greeted by Itsuki. They still do not know where Miyu is, but Itsuki wants to talk to Rikka. Even though she already told Nanjo everything Itsuki might be able to get some additional clues.

As the team makes it through the tunnel, Genba has Victor open a door to reveal an empty hallway. A nearby explosion has them double back.

Genji sends a message to get approval for the team he just sent when Rikka comes to his office. She has some important questions, some of which Genji has the answers to and he politely asks her to go back to be questioned. After she leaves, he has someone watch her to make sur e she does not approach him, or anyone else, again.

Urara finds Noboru working hard on the speech. She gives him some notes and receives some verbal compliments in return which she thanks him for.

As the CTU team gets close, Genba and his group run into Andre’s. There is a standoff, but Andre has a hostage: Retsujiro. As the CTU team finds the door blown open, Genba surrenders. Andre shoots Retsujiro anyway. Victor is ready to shoot Genba but the reinforcements are close. Andre blows their way out, but Victor has a hostage in Genba.

In the holding cell, Chiharu verbally baits Miyu again. Chiharu calls her out for being spoiled and attacking her for bonding with Ken. When Miyu defends herself, she raises her voice prompting a guard to cool their jets. Andre’s crew creates a way out of the tunnel while Victor baits Genba.

20:25:21Victor calls Genji at CTU. He offers proof of Genba’s life just so CTU knows. For his part, Genji informs the team but there is little more they can do given their respective locations. He gives orders to the team and is cordial to Itsuki.

Genba calls out Victor for some faults. Victor had a body double, meaning he knew he was in danger. Genba tries to put the blame on Victor which does not work but gets him close enough to try an escape. The attempt ends up not working, and he and Andre dismiss the claims further.

20:32:15 One of the hoodlums in holding wants a smoke and takes out one that she smuggled in. The guards come back, and she throws it towards Chiharu. The guards find the contraband and are ready to investigate Chiharu, but Miyu sticks up for her. The hoodlum is removed. and Chiharu wants to talk to the detective again to tell him the truth this time.

Mylo gives Itsuki an update about finding Miyu but there is little to go on without widening the search area. He also asks how Genba is given the harsh things Genji has said but Nanjo shoos him off.

Noboru shows Urara the updated speech. It looks good and she asks him to stay while she reads it. Her neck is bothering her, so Noboru gives her a little massage which she appreciates than politely asks him to stop.

20:38:23 Genji finally gets Naomichi on the phone but finds the director is displeased. Genji says that Genba got results with preventing Victor’s capture, but Naomichi says that Victor is off the books but with him being alive, news might leak. Naomichi orders Genji to clean things up. Genji goes downstairs and order an all-out assault whether Genba is in the way or not. On a brighter note, Nanjo gets a call from the police about Miyu. He jots down a few notes hangs up the phone (!) to inform Rikka with Itsuki. After Nanjo leaves, Itsuki tells Rikka about the assault, putting the best spin on it she can.

The CTU team blasts their way in with orders to obtain Victor and nothing about Genba.

20:49:18 Miyu is released into the custody of Tsutomu who takes her back to CTU. Urara is told to smile by Mister No Smiles himself Magoroku. She is worried about Yohei but Magoroku reminds her that when she is in power, she will have greater concerns. If Yohei cannot handle it, that is his problem.

The CTU team finds the remains of the guards and also the hole that Victor carved out. Unfortunately, the way is blocked by a laser triggered bomb, since a regular bomb would not look as cool but be more effective. Out of the facility, Victor goes to shoot Genba but learns about Alexis being alive. Genba offers a skeptical Victor the meeting with Miho as proof which upgrades Genba to a captive.

Ken gets the news that Miyu is freed due in no small part to Chiharu’s revised testimony. Miyu is getting a ride from Tsutomu as she calls her mother to send regards. Suddenly, a van comes out which Tsutomu avoids, but some masked men come out, shoot him and kidnap Miyu.

21:00:00

iMagic: Andre calls CTU, speaks to Itsuki, is transferred to Genji then puts on Victor. I’m sure he had the number on speed dial of sorts.

Stormtrooper Accuracy: Genba comes close to beating up Victor and is only saved by Andre happening to come around right when that happens.

Dunder Mifflin: Genji thinks calling Itsuki out of her romantic failures in the main office is a good idea.

[REDATED] it!: When speaking to Genji over the phone, Genba gives tactical information and in retaliated against for it.

The Cubbies: Nanjo brings in Rikka, says a couple of lines but mainly just hangs out.

I’m Not a Spy: When Itsuki expresses concern for Genba, Genji thinks her motives are less than pure.

Five Minute Rule: Miyu is finally pout of captivity for about five minutes before she is abducted.

Amnesia Bait: Rikka has no clue that they are still searching for Miyu though Genji assures her that the bad guys not knowing Miyu’s location is a good sign.

24-Gate: The hard workers of the Asakara campaign, upon hearing that Urara is heavily favored as some of the polls close, give one of the least enthusiastic cheers ever.

Let’s Up the Rating: The only thing missing from Noboru giving Urara a massage is a seventies porn soundtrack.

THAT kind of topless: Genba tries to take down Victor and holds his own pretty well.

Day Player of the Week: The two young hoodlums in the jail cell are fairly rough and tumble.

Employee of the Month: Genji is at his most competent early on deducing that if the bad guys asked Rikka where Miyu is, they do not know where she is either.

One More Time: “It’s Victor Hayashi” “In the flesh?” “Of course.”
Genji and Naomichi discussing the final boss.

Hour Time: “What kind of trouble?” “I can’t tell you.” “It never ends.” This late in the season, it is shocking how little happens an episode. Usually there is forward momentum in one plot; though while Genba and Miyu get captured, there is not a great deal of actual progress in the plots here.

Thankfully what we do get is done very well.

Chief among the set pieces is Genba versus Victor. There are others involved but it is pretty much the two of them. The tables are turned early enough that Genba is put into captivity. He holds his own in that state just as well as Victor did earlier. Actually, it is a little better since Victor really has a problem not smirking. Even with Victor has the upper hand, Genba knows how to proceed. Visually, it is striking to see them talking while the background is sparking as the tunnel is dug through. In the end, when Genba is going to be shot he has a final card to play with Alexis. The moment is tense, but Genba uses his knowledge to save his neck.

The political phase moves not a bit, but we have good scenes all around. Urara is told to be happy after telling her staff to be happy. The election being pretty much over, she can ride the wave of success and take a victory lap. We see the players from her team from the happy Hina to the smiling Yuta (albeit briefly) to the dour Yohei to Magoroku. Noboru finally gets a chance to get his plot started and while it does not go over too well, it is great to see strong actors on screen.

Rikka is brought into CTU and quickly sidelined. Too much happens in the office with the breakneck plot of rescuing Genba that can quickly overshadow that triumph, but it is done well. Part of the success is as a counterpoint to the chaos going on, but Rikka is a definite highlight. No longer in control she is more demure but she still has a presence.

Miyu gets a plot of her very own, but Hiyori Sakurada just cannot sell it. She confuses tiredness for boring and it is just not that interesting to watch though it is good that Chiharu found her moral compass. This has all the potential to be of interest, but it falls flat in no small part due to the performance from a main character.

There are two characters who have lasted longer than their counterparts in terms of story time and they are welcome. Mylo has not had a lot to do in episodes, but he brings a bit of youthfulness. The writers find things for him to do, conversations for him to have and when they do not, the actor still finds a way to have fun. There is no reason for him to still be around, but he has a character and is good to watch. To a smaller degree, we get a tag scene with Ken who is relieved that Miyu got out. Unfortunately, this is the high point of the Miyu storyline this episode and she is not even on screen.

There are no huge derivations from the source material but what we have here is good and the detours work.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#590552
"9:00 PM-10:00 PM"
Written by: Shûkei Nagasaka
Directed by: Kosuke Suzuki
Original Air Date: March 12, 2021

Start the Clock: As Miyu is kidnapped, Urara prepares to give a speech. Hina, Yuta, and Shegeko are on the sidelines while Yohei is on stage. The speech is about how well the party is doing in general and things are going well all around.

Genji yells at the bomb team to work faster when Itsuki gets a call from Genba who confirms he is being held hostage. Victor wants to hear from Alexis. Itsuki orders Nanjo to get Alexis on the line and Mylo to trace the call. Genji comes down in time to be looped in and listen on the call. Alexis is able to have a brief conversation before Victor asks to speak with someone from CTU. Genji accepts the charge which is an offer to not kill Genba in exchange for Alexis and there is no wiggle room. Genba’s logic of Alexis not being in any condition to move is overruled by Victor wanting to see his son. At CTU, things are not looking good; the trace did not work and Naomichi still considers Victor dead.

As Urara finishes the speech, Yohei talks to Noboru. Yohei will be apart from Urara for a moment as a separation will do them good, but he trusts Noboru to carry on in his absence.

Itsuki approaches the downtrodden Genji. There is little he can do in the situation and everything Itsuki brings up, including the fact that they can track Victor if they do the exchange, is something Genji already brought up to Naomichi. As Victor’s crew arrives at their base, Itsuki brings the bad news to Rikka that even though Genba is alive the higher ups will not take the deal to keep him in that state.

Victor brings in a captive Genba while he gets reacquainted with Kazuyoshi, the leader of the group, and the leader’s daughter, Sayuri. Victor and the boss dine while Victor takes great pleasure in tormenting Genba.

Rikka approaches Genji asking to know why they are going to sacrifice Genba. Genji says that Gnba has special training, and the higher-ups will not budge. If Rikka wanted the truth, she just got it. Rikka approaches Itsuki who thinks there just might be someone that can help. She will have to make a call.

21:23:17 Itsuki reaches out to Urara and gives a rundown of the situation. She tells Urara that Genji follows the rules but is ambitious. Urara asks to speak with him. Nanjo gets a bad call and is approached but Itsuki and Rikka who wonders why Miyu is not there yet. Itsuki has no answer but offers Rikka to wait in the conference room. After she leaves, Nanjo tells Itsuku about the abduction.

Urara calls Genji whose first instinct is a referral to the higher ups. Urara says that when she is elected, she will be in a position to promote Genji and she will be more willing to do that if he complies. With that, she leaves the ball in his court.

As Andre arranges an expensive way out of the country and Victor finishes dessert, Genba puts Sayuri in a headlock. Victor shoots her and Genba is tackled by three guys as Victor demands to speak with CTU immediately.

21:31:25 Yohei has a fairly condescending talk with Urara but takes his leave while promising to keep Urara attended to. Noboru enters having prepared some responses for questions that are sure to come up, with consultation by Magoroku. She wants to see them in five minutes and compliments Noboru. Neither realizes that Shegeko was caught the tail end of teat conversation.

Nanjo sees Genji about an update but Andre calls telling them that they will do the exchange in twenty minutes and gives them an address which turns out to be a warehouse. Alexis is in s fragile condition, but they have medical staff at the ready. Genji goes to make the preparations on his authority.

As Kazuyoshi mourns Sayuri, Victor says it was a mercy killing on his part. Kazuyoshi does not buy it and readies a sword but is shot by Victor. Genba is ordered to go out for the exchange but as he leaves, Miyu is brought in.

21:40:07 While Mylo and Nanjo coordinate, Itsuki gives Rikka the news of the exchange. Rikka would like to hear from Miyu and Itsuki says she will look into it. Rikka thanks Itsuki for being so honest throughout the day. Nanjo and Itsuki reflect on not being able to tell Rikka the truth.

On the van to the exchange point, Genba asks for Miyu’s freedom, but Victor would rather take a nap and Andre would rather shoot Genba.

Urara goes over Noboru’s work, and it is impressive especially done in two hours and while other things were being worked on as well. Noboru will have to run it by Magoroku and the legal team. He asks about Yohei, particularly how they met, and things get a little too cordial before they retire.

Genba is taken to a warehouse area but locked up. Andre says there is a sniper in the area. Alexis’ safe return will give him freedom, death otherwise. He puts a phone in Genba’s jacket for further instructions.

21:50:45 Urara is at a meet-and-greet while Yohei asks how Noboru is doing. The seductions were Yohei’s idea! As Noboru goes off, Shegeko approaches Yohei with concerns about the marriage. Yohei brushes her off.

Genji brings out Alexis but Victor talks via a tablet. Genji wants Genba but Victor tells him to be patient. When Genji brings out armed men, Victor shows him the captive Miyu. Their deal is still on but only a freed Genba and not Miyu. Genji proceeds with the exchange. Andre finds and destroys the tracker.

Genba is freed and is directed to a nearby car. He is ordered to see Urara immediately.

22:00:00

iMagic: The high-tech group the coordinated an attack to kidnap a specific person in public has tape to put over their mouth to prevent them from yelling.

Stormtrooper Accuracy: Genba is able to sneak past the three armed guards from a seated position and grab Sayuri with none of them noticing until it is too late.

Money Shot: Gang boss Kazuyoshi Namisaki and Kazuyoshi’s daughter, Sayuri Namisaki are introduced one right after the other.

Food Glorious Food: Victor and Kazuyoshi have a big spread of food for a late-night feast.

Peter Griffin Moment: In a rare costume change, Victor puts on a nifty suit while Andre puts on one with pinstripes.

[REDATED] it!: Genba is told to sit but things being Japan, he has to pop a squat on the floor.

The Cubbies: Nanjo takes the call about Miyu and asks Genj for an update.

I’m Not a Spy: Itsuki knowingly lies to Rikka about Genba being safe.

Five Minute Rule: Miyu’s ingenious plan for being gagged with tape? Removing it.

Amnesia Bait: Rikka gets an unknowing lie that Miyu is safe from Itsuki.

24-Gate: The votes are still being counted but enough are in for Urara to give a ‘we are doing awesome’ speech anyway.

Let’s Up the Rating: Urara openly flirts with Noboru.

THAT kind of topless: Sayuri is shot in the head in such a way that it almost immediately clots.

Day Player of the Week: Kazuyoshi is a new character but adds dimensionality to both the villains as a whole and Victor in particular.

Employee of the Month: Andre has a pretty good feeling that Alexis will be returned safely.

One More Time: “If we agreed to go public, the fact that the government was holding a felon in secret custody would become public. On top of that, it made the mistake of letting that dangerous person escape, and there are organizations, including us, doing top-secret missions behind the scenes…”
Naomichi shooting down the idea of an exchange.

Hour Time: “Father, you always said ‘You’ll destroy yourself with women.’ You were right.” This episode has the distinct feeling of putting characters together that have not had interactions with each other before, or at least in a while.

The one the goes the poorest is Genba and Miyu. It is brief by necessity and while it was well done it exists only for the plot to move forward. We’ve already seen Miyu kidnapped, by this exact group essentially. Doing it again does not really add to the overall story, particularly when Miyu is sidelined at almost every opportunity.

The rest of the villain plot is done well. We are in their headquarters and meet some other big names in the organization. Victor is welcomed back with open arms, and we meet the top of the totem pole. Kazuyoshi and Sayuri do a great job establishing themselves in their brief moments on screen.

Itsuki gets her first scene with Urara. Left with few alternatives, Itsuki lays out the situation giving Urara enough to go on about Genji. The follow up call with Genji is another great scene with Genji not being able to go beyond a certain point but Urara giving him an out to make the right decision. She dangles the carrot but did some research to find the best one to use.

Genji also has a strong scene with Itsuki. He has been a jerk to her in almost every scene they are in together but here, he is professional. With both Itsuki and Rikka he lays out the situation, though with deference to each. Itsuki lies to Rikka several times, some intentional some not, but this is the first time they have spoken with no animosity between the two.

If the characters are around and the episode count is running to a close, you might as well make good use of them.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#590773
"10:00 PM-11:00 PM"
Written by: Shûkei Nagasaka
Directed by: Kento Kiuchi
Original Air Date: March 19, 2021

Start the Clock: As Andre’s team races through downtown Tokyo, he calls Genba ordering him to make sure Urara answers the phone at 10:30. There is a large chunk of their cash stuck in an account and Urara can release it. Genba wants Miyu released first but is in no place to be making such a request.

Noboru finds Urara alone as the votes are being counted. He asks her to join them, but she is reluctant, and they make small talk. Urara talks about how weird things got and Noboru admits a bit of a crush. Urara reciprocates those feelings and gives him a keycard and an appointment to meet her in room 915 is twenty minutes. They are interrupted by Yohei.

As Miyu is moved to another room, CTU has few leads. They try working on the last known location of Alexis but get a call from Genba. He cannot say much except that he is not able to come back to CTU, Miyu is in danger and to tell Rikka he is fine.

Alexis is brought into the room with Miyu and medical staff. Things do not look good though Alexis is able to see his father one last time before succumbing to his injuries. Andre is ready to shoot Miyu but Victor reminds him how useful she is as a hostage.

Rikka aimlessly wanders the halls wondering about Miyu. She is told to go back to the conference room. Yohei confirms the rendezvous with Noboru. On one hand he is sickened that she would risk everything, but he offers Noboru a stipend to continue.

Nanjo and Mylo have news for Itsuki. The plans for the secret facility have been altered and only a handful of agencies have the authority to do that, including CTU. Mylo asked for access logs, but it looks like there is another mole. She has Nanjo and Mylo look into it before being intercepted by Genji. He orders her to do something about Rikka. That ‘something;’ involves leaking the Genba is okay (albeit under the terrorists’ control) but Miyu is not. Victor assures Miyu that Genba has an easy task. When she asks if she will be freed afterwards, Victor does not respond.

Genba calls Urara asking to meet soon. Urara is uneasy knowing that they have Miyu and she could very well be in danger but Genba swears no harm will come to her.

22:22:41 Urara meets Noboru in the hotel room … and promptly fires him. She knows about Yohei and Noboru could have refused. She has no place in her team or politics in general for someone who will blindly follow orders.

Nanjo and Mylo share the access records. There have been six in total but five of those are scheduled routine maintenance. The sixth is Genji. Nanjo wants to inform higher ups, but Itsuki puts a hold on that. Nanjo works on restricting access instead.

Urara confronts Yohei who takes credit for getting Urara this far. Urara is disgusted thinking they might need a break, but Genba arrives. After being patted down, he tells her about the funds and that he is pretending to work with Victor to keep Miyu safe. Urara is confused; the funds were disposed of a while ago and Victor should know. The phone rings and Urara answers. When she asks for demands, Victor confirms that Genba is there. Genba notices a device on the phone, tosses it into another room and tackles Urara for cover before it explodes while Andre explains to Miyu that her father is dead.

22:33:31 Yuta and Hina rush to see what the commotion is about but are kept back. Urara is shaken but otherwise fine. Her security team checks out that area and Genba orders them to wait until they give a report on Urara. Yohei enters accusing Genba of an attack, but Urara has his back. When it comes time to report on Urara’s status, Genba asks for them to be silent so that he can rescue Miyu and Victor can think he accomplished his goal. Yohei says this is a tough request for the candidate based on honesty, but Urara acquiesces.

Genji notices the problem with his computer and uses Nanjo’s to access the information. After he leaves Itsuki realizes that they will have to restore his access but monitor his actions.

Urara explains the situation to Yuta and Hina and both are supportive. Genji tells everyone at CTU to stop what they are doing and gather around the news as the report of Urara’s death comes in. Victor and Alexis see it as well and while Alexis wants to kill Miyu, Victor wants confirmation of Genba’s death. Andre calls Genba who offers himself in exchange for Miyu. They make the arrangements reminding Genba to come alone.

22:44:11 Genba is finally about to call Rikka and let her know he will get Miyu. She tells Genba of her pregnancy and they are overjoyed. Genba says he is looking forward to being with his family. Meanwhile, Alexis tells Miyu what happened with Operation Dark Night, trying to convince her that her father is a killer.

22:50:55 Genji informs Itsuki and Nanjo that Urara is alive, though they are sworn to secrecy. Miyu effects an escape but has limited options once out of the building. Left with no other options, she jumps into the water. Itsuki shares a Shido family picture with Rikka and the two make amends.

Andre tries to find Miyu but Victor is not worried since Genba does not know she escaped Andre gets a call from Luna telling them that Urara is alive. Except we see that ‘Luna’ is actually Itsuki.

23:00:00

Stormtrooper Accuracy: After Miyu runs out, several henchmen come into the room and stare at the guy she just threw hot coffee into before being told to go after her. After she jumps into the water, the henchmen just shoot blindly in her general direction, though they are not shooting at the same spot.

Dunder Mifflin: Genji screams in excitement when Genba calls, and everyone’s head turns.

Food Glorious Food: One of the henchmen pours himself a cup of coffee, prompting Miyu with a means of escape.

[REDATED] it!: Genba takes charge after the failed bomb assassination.

The Cubbies: Nanjo is able to clandestinely put a block on Genji’s access. Because he’s that awesome!

I’m Not a Spy: It was Agatha, er, Itsuki all along!

Five Minute Rule: Miyu is brought into another room in the complex, mainly so that she can be in the room when Alexis dies.

Amnesia Bait: Rikka is at the point where she has to wander the halls aimlessly to be on screen, er, get information about what is going on.

24-Gate: Urara has been brought up to speed with Genba possibly being compromised due to Miyu being kidnapped.

THAT kind of topless: Alexis is bleeding out so much that his hospital gown has a sizeable stain.

Day Player of the Week: The security guard who initially tried to arrest Genba and made-up with him hours later is now taking orders from him.

One More Time: “Did you bring in the bomb?” “Don’t be hasty. Captain Shido saved my life. Moreover, that’s twice today.”
Yohie being suspicious of and Urara sticking up for Genba.

Hour Time: “Alexis.” “Father.” “Don’t die.” One of the effects of these serialized shows is that the penultimate episode tends to be a bit of moving the pieces around the board in preparation for the finale. Some of these can be very strong, the best of the series and others can just be obvious that they need to move characters around.

This is in the former category. Most everything works and even what does not work is done well. The weakest is the Noboru plot that is brought up and excised to be brushed aside by the bombing plot. Urara does assert herself and needing to surround herself as needing strong people around her and while Yohei will throw that in her face later, she has established herself and does not suffer Noboru.

The Rikka plot has some froward momentum. This was the worst part of the original version here which has her counterpart just kind of stuck at CTU, but it works better here. Part of the success goes to Tae Kimura being such a strong and genuine actress. She has interactions with a few people, but she works it well. The writers gave her an opportunity to take advantage of her history with Itsuki plus she gets a chance to connect with Genba. They take a moment to connect and find out that their family will grow. Genba sheds a tear, and it is the first time in quite a while where he is able to put aside the weight of the world and be a husband. It is a very human moment and while Genba is off to save Miyu against all odds, you see him as a father.

Miyu is the strongest we have seen her in a while. Part of it is that she is captive for a lot of the episode, but it seems that surrounding Hiyori Sakurada with stronger actors will elevate her performance. She is at her best when she is being confronted by Andre about Genba but she holds her own. A great deal of her success is due to villain incompetence, but she does escape.

Genba and Urara have more scenes together which is never a bad thing. We have a bit of a reversal of their roles thus far with Genba being in charge. The buildup is good with everyone knowing that Genba is under pressure and could very well kill Urara. She sticks up for him, pointing out that he has protected her all day. The last time they were together it was the debacle with Miho and Alexis, but Genba has gained Urara’s trust. She stands up for him and lets him take command in the aftermath.

CTU is playing catch up and the cast there has relatively little to do though it is done well, and we get the revelation of Itsuki being the mole. This is a great cap to some great scenes that comes a bit out of nowhere but has implications with the final episode on the horizon.

Gebna is off to save Miyu who is already saved, and we just have to stick the landing.
User avatar
 
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#591086
"11:00 PM-12:00 AM"
Written by: Shûkei Nagasaka
Directed by: Kosuke Suzuki
Original Air Date: March 26, 2021

Start the Clock: As Genba races to the docks, Miyu eludes the evildoers. They eventually start firing, which concerns Andre as their plan will not work without Miyu being alive. Victor assures him that Genba is on his way no matter what.

Rumors of Urara’s death continue to be exaggerated and Yohei wants her to come clean. She emphasizes that she will once Miyu is safe and calls Yohei out for being willing to sacrifice the daughter of a public figure.

As Rikka looks lovingly at a picture of her family, Genji asks Itsuki for an update. She tries to throw him off the scent, but the marine police call with Miyu in custody. Genji verifies her identity, and she relays that they must stop Genba who is unaware of her safety. Genji fills in the blanks and orders Miyu brought back in and tries to reach Genba while ordering a troop to the area.

Genba arrives at the dock and as he assesses the situation, almost immediately gets a call from Andre. They direct him to the exchange point. Genba wants to hear from Miyu first in order to trust them and they counter with the knowledge of Urara being alive.

As Nanjo reports that the troop is out along with backup, Genba calls Itsuki. He is certain there is a traitor at CTU. She asks if it could be from the Urara Asakura delegation, but the phrasing Andre used strongly implied it came from CTU. Itsuki reads off the shortlist of those who knew and Genba tasks her with finding out who the spy is. She walks off but not before Genji gets a suspicious look.

Magoroku gets an urgent call to turn on the news and finds that the press knows Urara is alive. She immediately confronts Yohei who claims that they already had a strong inkling of such. She is too pissed off to handle him and rushes off to do a conference with the media.

Itsuki tells Andre that Miyu has been taken into custody and is on her way back to CTU. Also, there are two task forces heading their way. Andre is ready to cut his losses and run, but Andre asks Itsuki to call Genba and say that Miyu is dead. This will lure him out but if it does not work, Itsuki will be on thin ice.

Itsuki calls Genba with the news and he is distraught. As he collects himself, he sees a nearby truck.

Victor plans for a direct assault from Genba, knowing how one who lost his daughter feels. What they do not expect is Genba to come charging in on a truck and firing with guns in both hands. The Hayashi family tries to retreat with Andre holding things down while Victor gets away, but Genba distracts long enough to shoot Andre. He confronts Victor but has run out of bullets. After Victor fires a gun out of his hand, he makes a lunge for another weapon and shoots Victor.

Nanjo informs Rikka about Miyu.

23:29:00 As Urara addresses the press, Magoroku approached Yohei. Astonishingly, Magoroku agrees with Yohei’s decision to leak the news, insofar as it let them get the information out. Also, Urara wants to talk to Yohei after the conference is over. Magoroku notes that their relationship is not dead and Yohei might be able to save it.

News reaches Genji of Genba’s success, though somehow this news came without the revelation of Miyu being safe or Itsuki being a spy. Everyone is elated, including Rikka who happened to be wandering by.

Itsuki is in the server room deleting data, placing a bomb and shooting a guard who happens to be walking by. She calls a contact and asks for an extraction before being found by Rikka. The two talk, though Itsuki is eager to end the conversation. Rikka outright asks if there is anything between Itsuki and Genba. Not only does Itsuki say there are none, but she will also transfer shortly after all is said and done. Rikka notices the blood and tries to exit, but Itsuki also takes note and holds Rikka at gunpoint.

23:39:41 Genba goes to the marine police to claim Miyu’s body and is met with confusion then confirmation that she is not there. He calls Genji to ask about the body and Genji says Miyu is on her way back to CTU. Genba realizes that Itsuki is the spy, but Genji needs more evidence, though he does see the Itsuki is not at her desk.

Rikka sits bound and gagged while Itsuki finishes her work. Genba calls tech support for footage of Akechi from that morning. It has been deleted along with the backups. Thankfully, Genba has the code for the Top-Secret backups.

Yohei completely blows his saving roll in talking to Urara first by asking to delay the conversation then saying that he leaked the information for her. Urara gives him her pity, telling him he is unfit to be her husband and asks him to leave.

Genba gets the footage which shows Itsuki slaying Akechi.

23:48:56 Genba gets the footage to Genji who orders Itsuki taken into custody, though they have to find her first.

Having set the bomb for ten minutes, Itsuki is on the line with her contact. A rendezvous point is set but she has to get rid of all evidence, at which point she looks menacingly at Rikka.

Nanjo questions Genji about Itsuki but the evidence is damning. The manhunt for Itsuki is on but she eludes/shoots her way out, making her way to the garage to escape but is stopped by Genba. He is ready to shoot her, but she says she is working for an authority beyond the Hayashi’s. Plus, he was responsible for some of the deaths, too. Genji and Nanjo talk him of the ledge, especially since Miyu is back at CTU.

23:54:40 Genba and Miyu are reunited, though Genba wants to get Rikka so that the family can walk out together. Over news footage that Genba saved Urara, Genba tries to find Rikka but soon finds Itsuki’s trail. He deactivates the bomb only to find her shot. The bomb reactivates with eight seconds left as Genba picks up his wife and makes his way out. Miyu is shaken by the explosion as we see Rikka and Genba’s bodies in the rubble.

00:00:00

In a post credit sequence, we see Genba regain consciousness.

iMagic: Genba openly asks Andre where he got the phone number. Andre brushes it off, but the real reason is because the plot demanded it.

Stormtrooper Accuracy: The plan to get Miyu to reveal herself? Shout at her to come out.

Dunder Mifflin: Itsuki knows all the nooks and crannies from which to make secret calls in CTU.

Peter Griffin Moment: After hearing the news of Genba’s victory, Rikka asks Mylo where Itsuki is and Mylo does not see her but guesses she is in the rest room.

[REDATED] it!: That guttural scream we saw in the opening moments of the series? Nowhere to be found.

The Cubbies: Nanjo gets the task forces ready and tells Rikka the good news.

I’m Not a Spy: Calling CTU to get information? Good. Calling the specific person who is a spy, but you are unaware of that? Less good.

Five Minute Rule: Miyu does not know exactly where she was being held, but CTU decides to search the area of the dock she was found in.

Amnesia Bait: Rikka is bound and gagged close enough to a phone that, if she were able to free herself even partially, the jig would be up.

24-Gate: Being told to turn on the news, Magoroku knows exactly which channel to use. Also, Urara is able to get a conference with the press at a moment’s notice.

THAT kind of topless: Genba single handedly (and completely bloodlessly) takes down the Hayashi gang.

Day Player of the Week: The marine cop who talks to Genba at the station placates him politely even going so far as to call dispatch and make sure there were no other bodies found.

One More Time: “Mago, say something.” “Sorry, but can you leave me out of this?”
Yohei needing some help but getting none.

Hour Time: “Let’s … go home together.” The culmination of the series is a dark one. Whereas the original series would end with Rikka’s equivalent dead, here there is a bomb (!) and Genba might very well be in dire straits as well.

There is a lot leading up to that moment, including Genba combing CTU looking for Rikka and that turning into a hunt of a different kind. Itsuki placed Rikka as though she was just sitting in a chair, but we get a big clue as to what happened when Rikka does not respond. The camera work is great and as odd as it is to praise someone for playing a corpse, Tae Kimura does it well. Really, she sells the scene with Itsuki earlier as the two complete their reconciliation. For someone who did not really have all that much to do in the final act of the series, she did what she could and then some.

Chiaki Kuriyama deserves a lot of credit for Itsuki as well. There are two different characters in there and you can see the difference between the two while not betraying who she is. It is a fine line to walk but it is done with success. The biggest problem is that if she was a spy all along, why didn’t she sit on her hands back at the breakfast meeting? If she does, Urara is killed and Genba is framed. The script tries to cover this up by saying that there is a higher up, but it does not really track. That was the biggest offender but given her role in CTU, there were a lot of times she could have had success but did not for reasons not explained to the viewer.

Nanjo really has nothing to do in this episode. He does some things around the office, but you could eliminate him from the script and not have too much to change. Genji has some good moments when he finds out about Itsuki initially and when he tells Nanjo. The conversation is filled with rage as he tells Nanjo that she is a traitor.

That takes care of everyone at CTU except Genba, who kicks major ass in the top of this episode. He is cornered into a fight, but he wins that fight, even taking out the boss in the end. It is a great action sequence and a nice mirror to the suspenseful sequences we will get later. His ass kicking follows to CTU where he comes oh so close to a win. He has a scene with Miyu and comes real close to disarming the bomb. The one two punch of Rikka and that bomb is harsh. Thankfully, there is a post credits scene but that last shot was poetic. Oddly enough, it might have worked on its own.

The Asakura plot had an ending as well. Everything played out well here as well, though the soul of it was Yohei. Magoroku was right that their marriage may not be over, but Yohei blew it. Several times. Magoroku was right in that the right words would save their family, but Yohei actively went against that information, instead throwing it in Urara’s face that she in the candidate based on honesty. Urara throws that right back at him, disgusted with his demeanor for the day. Yukie Nakama owns the scene and plays it as a strong Prime Minister.

A fantastic though not perfect ending all around.
User avatar
 
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#591533
24-Japan
Series Overview

Start the Clock: As the day began, CTU got word that Prime Minister Candidate, the first woman to do so, Urara Asakura, was the target of an assassination. Genba Shido was put in charge of the investigation. Things got testy when Genba’s daughter, Miyu ran away, leaving Genba’s wife, Rikka, to find her.

For her part, Urara finds out that there is some shady business involving her family. She was unaware, but her son might have committed a murder, voluntarily or otherwise. She eventually decides to come clean at a breakfast meeting that morning.

Genba makes progress towards the assassination though Rikka and Miyu are kidnapped by the assassins. The near-do-wells use that as leverage to blame Genba for the attempt on Urara.

But Genba is able to foil that plot, eventually rescuing his family. Unfortunately, he got himself in a large amount of trouble in order to do so. Thankfully, Urara realizes that Genba was part of a mission she ordered years ago. The two meet and they realize that the family Genba killed in that mission is not as dead as they thought.

While Genba is invetigating that lead, the safe house that Rikka and Miyu is hit which gives Rikka a momentary bout of amnesia and Miyu reconnects with an unlikely ally.

Urara gets the truth out while Genba finds Victor Hayashi, the person whom the entire point of the mission was to kill. As the polls close with a probable victory for Urara, Genba exacts his revenge on the Hayashi clan. The victory is short lived as one of Genba’s trusted colleagues turns out to be a mole, one who shot Rikka before being apprehended.

Favorite iMagic: From 7:00 AM -8:00 AM: All the ‘Find my iPhone’ app tells me is that it is in the building. They’ve got a GPS that works down to the millimeter!

Favorite Stormtrooper Accuracy: From 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Alexi Hayashi manages to book a room not only in in the same hotel but on the same floor as Urara and does not try to do her in when she is pretty much down the hall from him. Is anyone trying anymore?

Favorite Dunder Mifflin: From 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Got to admire the professionalism in the office. The first female candidate for Prime Minister and the most favored to win comes to CTU and no one bats an eye or fangoobers.

Favorite Money Shot: Specifically skipping the first episode which is too obvious a target, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM has two figures that will play big roles as the season transitions; Andre Hiyashi roughly two thirds through his conversation with the villainous Tamizo but new Captain Midoroku Obata CTU first Division Squad A gets one as she steps into CTU with an icy glare.

Favorite Food Glorious Food: From 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Holy crow do Rikka and Miyu get an amazing spread of food at the safe house. If I went to a restaurant and ordered it, I would be paying at least fifty dollars! Someone spared no expense at getting a first-class lunch.

Favorite Peter Griffin Moment: From 8:00 AM -9:00 AM: For the first time in a long day, Genba takes a power nap. For like half a minute. It proves to be detrimental as his captive Rouri takes the moment to attempt an escape.

Favorite [REDATED] it!: From 4:00 AM -5:00 AM: As Genji chews out Genba, he mentions being hit by the tranquilizer dart which causes Genba to chuckle, a fact that does not go unnoticed and infuriates Genji. Later, Genba will officially ask Genji to talk to Eifuku and it will tear Genji up to give that permission.

Favorite The Cubbies: From 3:00 AM – 4:00 AM: Nanjo never tells Itsuki that he called for the internal investigation, but it takes her all of five seconds to figure it out. Honorable mention to 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM where Genji is entirely out of line with his questioning, but Nanjo takes it on the chin.

Favorite I’m Not a Spy: From 6:00 AM – 7:00 AM: Itsuki has a ‘What’s a containment breach?’ moment when Mylo tells her that going from 20% to 98% of recovering lost data in moments is too good to be true.

Favorite Five Minute Rule: From 1:00 AM – 2:00 AM: Miyu decides that it is a good idea to attack the driver of the van they are in. She also tries to claim that some cops who have pulled someone over on the street are already on the case.

Favorite Amnesia Bait: From 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Ever the adult, Rikka apologizes for getting so personal with Itsuki during the questioning.

Favorite 24-Gate: From 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: As Yohei tells a staff member at the school that he and Urara are a power couple, she calls him over about his shenanigans.

Favorite Let’s Up the Rating: From 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM: The only thing missing from Noboru giving Urara a massage is a seventies porn soundtrack.

Favorite THAT kind of topless: From 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: A car is about as close quarters combat as you can get and Genba still kicks ass.

Favorite Day Player of the Week: From 12:00 AM – 1:00 AM: Either Kenshi Takemoto or Tomohiro Furuya swho both sell air traffic controllers who loses a plane.

Favorite Employee of the Month: From 5:00 AM – 6:00 AM: Mylo takes one look at Akechi and knows how to speed things up. Then he decides to look at a corpse for some reason. And is not revolted.

Favorite One More Time: From 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: “Get the big shot in front of you to put in a good word.”
Old, retired mentor with connections Eiji telling Genba how to find a ‘Get out of Jail Free” card.

Hour Time: "Event occur in real time." Making an adaptation is always risky. A close adaptation does not lend itself to much artistic flair or interest to old audiences while a more liberal approach that is almost a completely different series is a little off putting.

It was clear from early on that while a lot of the structure overall would be mirroring the U.S. version, there were clues that there would be some detours. At the outset, we start at the end of the series with Genba finding out Rikka is dead and smashing through the gates. Fans of the original know what it is, and it is an exciting sequence for new viewers.

A lot of the derivations involve characters staying past their time in the U.S. version. Mylo is probably the biggest example, but the addition of Yohei’s mother is another change. The former worked while the later did not and a lot of the flaws of the U.S. version are present as well. The main difference is the actors, though they do save what could otherwise be a bad scene, more or less. Mylo got to have a deeper story, breaking up the tension as the day progressed, as did Ken to a lesser extent as his counterpart was pretty much gone by the time they went to jail. It helps that there is a good five more minutes of runtime in the modern Japanese market than twenty years ago on network American television. There are no huge changes but the ones that are there serve to enhance the story. The amnesia subplot is still weak but highly elevated by the acting. The budget is smaller here but at times it works whether intentionally or not such as the climatic twenty-third hour explosion being smaller and indoors plays a lot more realistic.

The overall assassination plot worked well as was the one big plot running the entire season. The tension as high at times and things got suspenseful. As the season went on and Urara shared more scenes with Genba, they popped together as an onscreen pair. The Miyu and Rikka plots were a bit hit and miss though they had the biggest burden of having to burn an episode here and there putting the showcase on the acting. The Urara political side of things worked well even with the gender flip which several characters leaned into and had fun with.

The DNA of the series is pure 24. The split screens, the ticking clock, it is all there. The music is spot on, with themes coming to prominence, especially in the final hour as Itsuki becomes ‘Luna.’ These are all surface level things, but it works as a franchise and the case is able to hit it out of the park.

Hiyori Sakurada’s Miyu Shido is not really able to elevate the material. Too often, when a scene falls flat, it is her scene. She mistakes confusion for drowsiness and is too disinterested. Granted, it is a long day, but too often the scenes with her were better when she was surrounded by stronger actors.

Terri Baur was the weak link in the U.S. version overall, where the writers pretty much ran out of material for her and regulated her to sitting around CTU for three episodes. Thankfully, Tae Kimura is simply amazing. She has chemistry with everyone, even when she is taken hostage. The amnesia scenes could have been a failure but she manages to keep things interesting and engaging with the audience. She is a joy to watch.

Nanjo peaked early on as far as an overall character is concerned. A side effect of Mylo staying on longer than before is a lot of what Nanjo would do was handed to Mylo. He was mainly support after the first act of the series though he would be supportive of Genba, having his back when things looked grim. Hiroyuki Ikeuchi played the stalwart soldier helping out when he could, eventually saving Rikka.

It took a while for George Mason to become the asshole boss to Jack Bauer but 24 Japan kept bringing in more antagonists as the day wore on. Shiro Sano and the rest of the cast gave separations between Genji and the rest. He is not met favorably initially but is eventually won over. He does bad things as the day goes on, but they are necessary and the only time we see him lose it is in the end when Itsuki is revealed to be a spy. There are several times where he crosses the line but eventually gets back on your good side.

Itsuki Mizuishi is mainly there to be support and reveal things about Genba’s relationship with Rikka, but Chaiki Kuriyama never breaks the professionalism until the very end. The transformation is striking and there is a difference between her working with a colleague and a civilian. For the vast majority, she is a strong second to Genba.

The supports to Urara are a great pair of contrasts with Denden playing the slimy Joshu and Toshiki Ayata playing the reserved Magoroku Osada. The latter is the heart behind Urara’s soul knowing politics and being very calm in the face of danger. As Yohei, Michitaka Tsutsui just does not survive the gender swap. He does not have that sneakiness required of a Lady Macbeth role. Their relationship is doomed and while it does work with the two being on different pages, Tsutsui’s end does not work.

Yujkie Nakama owns the role of Urara Asakura. She will never be mistaken for Dennis Haysbert and se does not try to either. She makes the role her own and we saw that early on in the parking garage and later when she puts the pieces together. She has a different energy to her but is no less firm. Her speeches work as does her moments as a mother along with being a candidate. Her being on the screen was always great to see.

Later seasons of 24 would feature Jack Bauer showing his age, but the thirty-six-year-old Kiefer Sutehrland when he started was different than the fifty-four-year-old Toshiaki Karasawa. That aspect of his character was brought in much earlier and he was the central character of the series. He was the one who had to make the wrong decision for the right reasons. Several times he has to go off book, but he always leaves a trail to show why he is doing his actions. As much as the action sequences were on point, so were the quieter moments when he would put things together. He was a more established actor than Sutherland was at that point, but he was great as the series lead.

The series is not required watch and some things are better while others are worse than the original and while I came close to not doing this watch twice, I did wind up enjoying the series and would recommend it, if you have a day to spare.

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