After Kikyou heals Miroku, she and Kohaku leave InuYasha and company. The two then encounter giant spiderwebs that Kikyou knows are coming from Naraku. As it turns out, Naraku has figured out Kikyou’s purification plan and has gone back to get his human heart for its negative properties. He now uses spiderwebs to capture Kikyou and to lure both InuYasha and Kagome in, and he shows Kagome the scene of Kikyou and InuYasha from 50 years ago so that Kagome can feel Kikyou’s love for InuYasha. When Kagome regains consciousness, Kikyou explains what Naraku is up to and offers her bow to Kagome to purify the contamination inside of her. When Kagome touches the bow though, the string breaks, and Kikyou confirms that Kagome has been contaminated as well. The only way to save Kikyou now is for Kagome to go retrieve a bowstring kept in a nearby mountain mausoleum, though Kikyou warns that Kagome has to truly want to save her. Kagome thus sets off with everyone except for InuYasha and Kikyou, who end up going after Kohaku. Kohaku had been attacked by Byakuya, but he was saved by Sesshoumaru and is gone by the time InuYasha and Kikyou arrive.
Kagome’s group meanwhile reaches the mountain, but Kagome soon finds herself separated from everyone else. She then encounters a faceless spirit who takes on Kikyou’s appearance and leads her to the bow. Kagome is able to leave with the bow, but on her way down the mountain, she gets sidetracked by the sight of InuYasha and Kikyou together. This Kikyou implies that Kagome doesn’t truly want to save her, and Kagome then finds herself hanging off the side of a cliff. Looking down at her is Kikyou, and she wants the bow. The spirit of the mountain also appears and suggests that Kikyou will take the bow, abandon Kagome to die, and go off with InuYasha. Kikyou then suggests that Kagome is the one filled with jealousy and hatred and is only pretending to pity her. Kagome, however, thinks that Kikyou is afraid of her, and she recognizes that Kikyou and InuYasha have a past together that she can’t trespass on, but she points out that she’s also spent a lot of time with InuYasha and that she knows sides of him that Kikyou doesn’t. All of this causes Kagome to realize that she’s in the same position as Kikyou, and she refuses to abandon her. The spirit then tells Kagome that she can now climb up with her own strength, and Kikyou subsequently turns into an illusion of spiderwebs. Kagome becomes freed from these spiderwebs, but she finds herself in free fall.
While I can appreciate the general idea of Kagome coming to terms with Kikyou and Kikyou’s relationship with InuYasha, I thought the pacing of everything leading up to it was awful. It might not have felt so bad if you were familiar with the manga, but for me it made things really confusing to follow because it felt like they were jumping from one realization or event to the next (even with transitions) without pausing to let the audience catch its breath, so to speak. That really ruined for me what could have been a solid episode, particularly since I thought the scene towards the end where Kagome made her speech and realizations was actually pretty good. I enjoyed seeing Kagome get some more screen-time again, and I liked the music they paired with the scene; if only they had done a better job of getting to that point. On a different note, I saw the preview that went with the English version stream of this episode, and it looked like a ton of spoilers about what’ll happen with Kikyou. Sheesh, maybe that’s why they don’t show previews in the NTV broadcast version.