Wow… where do I begin with this episode?
We see Thomas talking with Subaru and saying he’s going to quit being a hero in Stern Bild. The city where his sister lives is recruiting heroes, and he wants to go there to keep being a superhero and to be closer to his sister. Unfortunately, since Thomas and Subaru were hired by their sponsor as buddies, it’s very likely Subaru will be fired if Thomas leaves. We see that these two have started to get closer after Subaru helped reunite Thomas with Ruby, but Subaru puts on a brave face about Thomas’ departure. But after Thomas leaves, we see that Subaru was indeed putting on an act to hide his disappointment.
We get to see at the “evacuation center” that Kaede is at that some of the NEXT gathered there are already getting a little riled up and arguing about who was in line first for breakfast. Another NEXT comes in and breaks up the fight, catching the eye of Gregory (who has snuck in under another identity). Gregory corners this guy later and we see him use his power to turn this guy into an “X” and cause a rampage. Fortunately, Kaede is OK during this ordeal, but her grandmother gets some minor injuries. When Kotetsu calls to check in on them, Kaede answers the phone and lies about her grandmother. I can understand where she was coming from on that, because she knew Kotetsu would freak out if he heard about his mother. But we also see Kaede asking Kotetsu how he’s doing, since she heard on the news about the superheroes of Stern Bild being suspended. She’s trying to look out for her father, even if means not entirely telling him the truth about what happened at the evacuation center.
Barnaby invites Kotetsu out to dinner to finally make good on the running promise they’ve had this season about getting together. Unfortunately, it turns out restaurants are banning NEXT because their regular customers are scared of them. As they walk along, they encounter an old man who claims to have information on the real perpetrator behind the attack on the tower in an earlier episode. After Kotetsu pays the man, he describes seeing a man with a pompadour hugging another man and turning him into an X. Barnaby and Kotetsu take this information to the others (except Thomas, who claims he’s ill and resting), and they piece together from Ryan that this could be Gregory Sunshine, who has the ability to turn people into NEXT temporarily by hugging them. Barnaby wonders if perhaps Gregory enhanced his powers, and sends a picture of him to Mattia. Mattia confirms that this was the guy he saw in the lab at the end of the previous arc, and the heroes take it upon themselves to try to locate Gregory.
We get a scene of Kotetsu and Barnaby taking this information to the mayor, but he insists that Gregory can’t be out of prison because there haven’t been any breakouts. As he talks, he slips and uses the words “segregate” instead of “evacuate” in regards to the heroes and the NEXT. Oops! When Kotetsu tries to confront the mayor about the fact his son is a NEXT, the mayor brushes him off and leaves. But as is shown during the episode, it turns that Ouroboros has the mayor’s ear (although he doesn’t know it), and it’s through their “guidance” and insistence that decisions such as segregating the NEXT are happening.
As the heroes look for Gregory, Mattia reaches out to Barnaby to talk about Gregory. When Barnaby and Kotetsu meet with him, he shows a picture of someone who looks similar to Gregory (who is a non-NEXT), and says he was mistaken about it being Gregory that he saw. But just as Barnaby and Kotetsu decide to give up the search, they get a call from Magical Cat saying she and Dragon Kid have found information on where Gregory is staying. When the heroes go to confront him, they find that Gregroy is gone, even though the heroes themselves gathered as quickly as possible after getting the information. The very last scene of the episode reveals a twist that I perhaps should have seen coming, but didn’t.
The episode started out a little dark, but after the heroes identify Gregory, there’s this slight glimmer of hope that permeates the episode. So when the twist happens at the end, the viewer realizes that glimmer of hope was simply an illusion for both the heroes and the viewers. And since the heroes are supposed to “evacuate” the next day, is the next episode going to show them heading off to their assigned “evacuation centers,” and are we going to see them having to adjust to and cope with this situation?
Additional posts about Tiger & Bunny: