The Story of Three Grandmothers:
Is this really the right time for a one-off episode dedicated to the grandmothers of our main characters? Really? I’m sure it’s not what any of us were dying to see, but nonetheless, it’s what we we’ve been given. In theory, I shouldn’t be complaining that much, because we did get more focus on Kougami (who is probably my favourite character of the cast). Yet… there wasn’t much to love about this episode. It certainly wasn’t bad, it was just typical Sakurako-san. But this time without much mystery behind it. What could have been counted as ‘mysteries’ felt more like idle conversations that didn’t mean anything in the grande scheme of things. And when you’ve only got three episodes left (after this one) having an irrelevant one-off like this is not a good sign.
As I said, the first half of this episode focused on Kougami and her deceased grandmother – which was dealt with in episode 3. It’s good that we tied back to an earlier mystery, but even so there isn’t much else left to discuss after Sakurako broke down everything for us. There was no showing this time around, just telling (unless you count the pudding jar in the opening shots, but that singular pudding jar is not enough, I dare say). Characters gathered around, Kougami brought up the dilemma with her paintings, and Sakurako proceeded to give her the answers she needed. We, the audience, just had to sit back and take her words for gospel. And that’s it, really. At least there was a nice panning shot while Sakurako told the story of one particular painting, and how it tied to Kougami and her grandfather working side-by-side.
The second half was perhaps more entertaining, but not by much. At the very least we got conformation that the old maid of the Sakurako household is in fact her grandmother. We also get some more insight into their relationship, as Sakurako insists they go to the doctors because of her obvious back problems, yet her grandmother refuses. She’s a sweet old soul, but as she says, she has her dignity; making for the strongest scene in an otherwise uneventful episode. As for what came before it, it was Shoutarou’s turn to tell the story of his grandmother, while Sakurako and her own gran figured it out. They got to the bottom of it rather quickly: due to her painful bone cancer, she purposefully made Shoutarou run out to get her some pudding before he came to visit, that way he would never see her in pain. At least it was refreshing to have a character that wasn’t Sakurako explaining the truth behind the ‘mystery’ – she even did the pose!
Overview – What’s Next?:
There’s very little left to discuss after this episode is over, because it explains itself without need for speculation. It’s a growing habit with the series, to the point where I’m becoming more annoyed with each passing episode than I would have anticipated at the start. After the premiere, I thought this was a serious contender for one of the best of the season, but other than the Isozaki and Kougami one-off, every episode has failed to live up to expectations. Again, we get a tease for what’s to come, with hints back to the fedora-wearing villain and his butterfly imagery; but nearly every episode seems to end on a revelation or cliffhanger that is later ignored. This could be the same again, but I have a feeling we might finally be entering into the final arc of this adaptation.
Full-length images: 12.