「機密事項六六八スダマノアイ」 (Kimitsu Jikō Roku Roku Hachi Sudama no Ai)
“Confidential File 668, Ethereal Love”
Things are starting to go full circle, with the events today bringing us back to the beginning. Sawa returns to her roots with a visit to the burnt remnants of the Karasumori village. Sawa’s fate closely mirrors that of her clan in that they both wish to avoid getting involved with violence, but because of their powerful, sought after blue blood, outside forces drag them into fights. This lends weight to Sawa’s brother’s last words that things will never end so long as one of the clan is alive. So long as someone lives with blue blood running in their veins the cycle of running away, death, and forced violence will continue.
You can feel the utter hopelessness Sawa is faced with-of either death or never-ending bloodshed. For Sawa, peace is not an option- made crystal clear when her attempt at a quiet life was ripped to shreds by Tsukishiro. Even if she could bring an end to her mission and free herself from Nue’s grasp, I doubt she would want to seek a peaceful, happy life because of the grief she carries with her for the terrible losses she has experienced. Asahi taught her to live and hope again and now that she has gone, Sawa’s source of hope has also dissipated.
Though Tsukishiro died, their presence lives on. The truth that was so important to convey to Sawa- contrary to initial appearances-was passed on. In a brilliant stroke of forethought, Tsukishiro hid the clues in a copy of “The Merchant of Venice” and dropped hints to Sawa as early as episode 3, when they first quoted to Sawa a line from that work. I am impressed at the level of planning on Tsukishiro’s part and relieved because it would have been a waste of Tsukishiro’s time and the viewer’s screen-time to show all that effort in chasing down clues only to have them fall into oblivion. Now that Sawa has determined to pick up again the mantle of revenge, this truth will be important for a lead. Given the tragic trajectory of the show, I am expecting the clues to add a new layer of heartbreak to Sawa’s life and I’m taking a strong guess it will have something to do with Janome.
Though Janome supposedly died, his influence is still snaking itself back into the plot. The big reveal for this episode was at the end when Sawa slashed open Kuzuhara’s shirt, revealing a scar on his back matching the pattern of the scar shown on Janome’s back in Episode 3. Was Kuzuhara Janome all along? If so, then the “Janome” that was defeated was a fake-explaining why he was so easy to defeat. Kuzuhara’s close ties to the shogun and his skill at manipulation and evading death would match Janome’s political profile and cunning danger. It would be terribly ironic if the man Sawa was determined to exact revenge on was the same person who raised her and encouraged her drive for vengeance. A smart move-changing his identity and holding up his previous identity as a target, thereby sending people after a false lead and distracting from himself.