Whew! This was an intense, and almost dark, episode. It wasn’t a tearjerker like the previous one, but damn. Let’s try to unpack this.
A large focus of the episode is on the relationship between Akito, Ren (Akito’s mother), and Akira (Akito’s late father). We get to see how Ren and Akira got together and how Ren came to resent Akito because Akira seemed to more interested in his daughter than in his wife. We get to see when Akira dies, and how Akito was there and not Ren. Ren is told that it was sudden and that there wasn’t time to call for her, but from a flashback we get later from Akito, Akira is able to talk to her before he dies. We learn that Ren was a servant before she married Akira, and how the head of the servants (the nasty old woman we’ve seen previously) objected to their union.
Ren gets a visit from Shigure, and they talk about the box that Rin failed to get out of Akito’s room. At one point, we see a flashback of Shigure, Kureno, Hattori, and Ayame talking about how Ren was forcing Akito to be raised as a boy, and the young Shigure was actually a lot like the Shigure we know now. That’s not what you’d expect to hear from a kid. At one point, Ren tries to seduce Shigure, but he rebuffs her by saying that when he looks at her, he wonders if Akito would look like Ren if she had been raised as a girl.
Akito is sitting at the window of her room, holding the box that Ren covets so much. Kureno comes in and the two of them have a conversation. Just as it seems like that perhaps Akito is finally starting to realize the truth about the relationships she has with the zodiac members, and enraged Ren comes barging into the room… and she’s wielding a knife. Ren demands Akito to hand over the box, and Akito throws it to her and says she can have it. When the box falls to the floor and opens, Ren discovers that it’s an empty box (hence the title of the episode). We learn that older and nasty servant had given the box to Akito, saying this would keep her dead father by her side. Akito grabs the knife and is about to kill Ren when she senses that another bond has broken…
This time, Hiro’s bond has broken. He’s a mess of emotions, but fortunately, his mother is very understanding. She is able to hug him and comfort him. She understands that the curse has broken, and that goodbyes are hard. It was a touching moment to see Hiro holding his little sister and being hugged by his mother. This was the sweetest moment in this otherwise relatively darker episode.
At the Soma estate, Akito has taken the knife with her when she leaves her room. Outside, she cries and seems confused about what to do. Kureno hugs her and tries to comfort her, but Akito becomes enraged because she feels it’s too late for the advice that he’s giving her. Let’s just say this leads to Akito losing it and doing something with that knife. After this scene, we see Arisa at work with one of her co-workers, and they have found a dead bird while taking out the garbage. I thought this served as powerful imagery, especially coming right after what we saw Akito do to Kureno. But I have to say that when I saw what Akito did to Kureno, I audibly gasped. Even though I saw Akito take that knife with her, I wasn’t expecting her to do that, not especially to Kureno, of all people.
There’s also a couple of scenes of Kyo in this episode as well. At the beginning of the episode, he has a flashback to when he was a kid talking to Kyoko. But then, this turns into a nightmare, where he’s caught in the middle between his dead mother and Kyoko. He takes this nightmare to mean that he shouldn’t fool himself into thinking that Tohru cares for him and that being locked away is inevitable for the future. We don’t see Kyo again until right at the end of the episode. Just as he’s about to head out, Tohru stops him and says she has something she needs to tell him. And that’s where it ends. I suspect the next episode will see Tohru telling Kyo what she’s planning to say, and whatever ramifications there are that result from this discussion.
Wow… it looks like there’s still six more episodes to go, and the story has already gotten this intense. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this series is going to wrap up, and I’m especially curious to see just how much more intense this series is going to get before it reaches its climax.
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