After a recap of events leading up to this episode, we finally arrive at the midnight scene of the mysterious men tripping Satoko’s clapper alarm. She quickly goes to awake Rika, who eventually wakes up with a look of futile inevitability in her eyes. She calmly walks over to the closet and opens a panel in the ceiling and tells Satoko to hide. “They’re only after me anyways…”
The men bust in and grab Rika, and quickly rush her over to the shrine, drawing out their knives. Satoko approaches the shrine after the men have left, to find Rika behind the altar, lying naked (and dead) in a pool of her own blood. Satoko lets out a horrified scream, which the men hear. They quickly rush back and track her down to the suspension bridge, which Satoko is hanging off the side of in order to avoid detection. The men decide that they can’t capture her and quickly flee the scene, but Satoko is completely exhausted and was injured during her escape – she loses her grip and falls into the river below.
Meanwhile, the village has been surrounded by the army. Satoko, who washed up on the river bank, stumbles back into the village and by the schoolhouse, now illuminated by portable floodlights and the headlights of large military trucks. She peers inside one of the classrooms to see… the dead bodies of her classmates, her teacher, and even her friends Mion, Shion, and Keiichi. The shock is too much to contain – she lets out another cry, this time with the army men coming to her aid.
The news report cites Satoko as the only survivor of a toxic gas leak in the village of Hinamizawa. Oiishi visits the hospital in hopes of getting some information out of Satoko, but she’s in one of those emotional trauma comas that doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. Hoping for some kind of response, Oiishi just goes on talking. He pulls out a bloody hat – Rena’s hat – and asks the comatose Satoko what her hat was doing way in the middle of the woods. Why was she that deep in the woods so late into the night? Why was only her hat found? “I believe,” Oiishi profounds, “this is a message from Rena… perhaps the gas leak was a part of a larger incident, and Rena was trying to let somebody know?” Oiishi completely believes that this was no accident, but the work of some outside forces. He grabs Satoko in his frustration, hoping to get some kind of response out of her, but she just stares back at him with those listless eyes. “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED THERE!!” he yells.
He calms down afterwards and says he will visit again. On his way out, he mentions the murder of Rika, causing Satoko to gasp and raise her head slightly. Did you see that! Oiishi asks the nurse, who was checking on the room after the previous commotion. The nurse cites a reflex response, considering Satoko was still unconscious. Oiishi leaves as the camera focuses on the nurse – she’s incredibly suspicious looking, with a look in her eyes that says she knows much more than she should.
Back at police HQ, they talk about how they are unable to contact the investigator who had gone to Hinamizawa. Oiishi asks if he had said anything before he had left to investigate – yes, in fact – something concerning Furude Rika. Oiishi then recalls that Satoko and Rika lived together, and realizes that Satoko’s current state was actually in direct connection with the murder of Furude Rika. He rushes back to the hospital Rika is at.
Meanwhile, Satoko is having visions of Oiishi talking about Rena’s hat – she’s taken through flashbacks of her chase through the woods, and then sees Rena running through the woods, being chased by the same men. She’s surrounded, captured, with a parting shot of her bloody hat falling into the river below. Satoko wakes up, drenched in sweat – claiming she understood what Rena’s message was. She awkwardly reaches for the nurse’s call button – which the suspicious nurse cancels and ignores.
Oiishi reaches the hospital and rushes for Satoko’s room, only to find the nurses and the doctor over her bed. The doctor proclaims her time of death, stating that her condition had suddenly made a turn for the worse, resulting in heart failure and eventual death. Oiishi, at the door to all the answers, is left with nothing but more unanswered questions.
So this time around, everyone dies except for Satoko, who goes on to die anyways. Oh, the passionate despair of Rika, it was all too true. What did Rena find out? Who are those men working for? And why was everybody at the school in the middle of the night? We’re introduced to a score of new questions and left about as clueless as Oiishi himself, as he pieces together the story after he’s able to do anything to stop the chain of events from claiming the lives of those people he’s trying to protect.
Furthermore, who was the voice that Rika was talking to? Since she seems to be a part of Rika’s endless cycle of death, it’s almost guaranteed she will appear in subsequent arcs, and if her presence in the opening sequence is any indication, may become an important character in solving the mysteries surrounding the tragic events.
We have yet to be reintroduced to the dealings of the Shinozaki family, or the stories of Keiichi and Rena. Will their stories answer the questions that this arc left? Or just add to the continued mystery?