The episode opens with a recap of the winning play of the final set before heading into the opening credits. I thought this was a nice touch, and helped remind the audience of how the previous episode ended. It hit me when I saw this recap that Karasuno ultimately got the win because Kageyama and Hinata blocked the ball together. It’s kind of ironic, if you think about it. These two, who started out the series as rivals against each other, were the ones to make the play that brought about Karasuno’s victory in this nail-biting match. Of course, we then later get the humor of the two of them arguing over who made the block. They just can’t admit that they actually worked together on that play. LOL!
One of the aspects that really stood out to me here is how Inarizaki is humanized during this episode. When the players go to face their cheering squad, Atsumu mutters that the cheering squad should be booing them instead of applauding because they lost. Someone in the crowd yells at him something to the effect of, “A team played well should be applauded.” A short while later, we see the members of the team humanized as well, especially Kita (the stoic captain). He says some encouraging words to his teammates… and he smiles!
There’s a couple of brief scenes featuring Bokuto. First is him learning that Karasuno beat Inarizaki, the second is him talking with one of his teammates later and ultimately exuding his normal confidence that their team will beat everyone they come across during these matches.
We also see a scene of Nekoma watching the television coverage of the day’s matches, but of course, Kenma is playing one of his video games. It’s established in this episode that their next match is going to be against Karasuno, so they’re obviously talking about this. As we see in this episode, people are so blown away by what Karasuno has accomplished up to this point that they seem to be favored to win against Nekoma.
But a lot of this “cool down” episode focuses on Karasuno unwinding and unpacking what went down in the course of the sets against Inarizaki. We get to see them laughing and joking as they watch the television recap of their match. The third years also have a moment among themselves to talk amongst themselves and react to what happened. These various scenes had a good mixture of humor and seriousness to them, and this was definitely needed after how tense the past few episodes had been.
Right at the end, we see Coach Ukai talking with his grandfather, and both ultimately talking about the upcoming “Battle of the Garbage Dump” between Karasuno and Nekoma. I like how the younger Ukai makes it a point that the Nekoma team that’s playing now is not like the team his grandfather has held a grudge against all these years. The final scene, though, shows the sun is coming up on the next day, and the players from Karasuno and the players from Nekoma are lined up and meeting face to face outside. The best part is that this scene basically ends with Kenma and Hinata smiling. What a wonderful way to not only end this season, but to set up and get the audience hyped for what comes next.
As of this writing, though, we have no idea when the next season will be. However, I’m really looking forward to whenever it comes out, because I feel confident that the audience will be in for a treat with the upcoming “Battle of the Garbage Dump.”
Additional post about Haikyu!!: