Instinctively, they turned toward the sound source coming up behind them and saw, to their horror — the man with the butterfly tattoo holding a large rifle approaching ominously…
All connection to the outside is cut off, they must rely on their wits and bravery to walk out of this man hunt alive.
Bluebird, J’s personal hacker, (The manga creator loves to use birds as hackers’ codename. Did I mention there is also a parrot in the terrorist’ headquarter?) has breached the security system of the laboratory. Now, every camera inside the building is tracking the man hunt, providing J with the bird’s eye view, or, what he’s more inclined to believe — God’s view — of everything inside the Bioscience Laboratory. (How they evacuated the building so throughly, aside from the dead guard at the very beginning, is beyond me.)
Fujimaru realizes the advantage of gaining control of the cameras as well and hacks into the security system of the building. He succeeds in doing so and manages to set up a firewall in the system he’s recently invaded and attack Bluebird’s computer along the way. Jackie the Ripperess unplugs the chord before Falcon is able to cage Bluebird in again like an undisciplined child grounded for bad behavior. J shrugs and gives off a casual yet loaded laugh before grabbing his jacket to attend a “meeting”. A vexed Bluebird is left in front of his computer to wallow in unease. (This guy must feel like an incompetent fool being outsmarted and out-hacked by Falcon a second time. Hey, three times is a charm. 😉 But, will J be forgiving enough to even allow a third time?)
Bluebird escaped, but the security system of the building belongs to Falcon now. The man hunt continues, but in a different direction.
The man with the butterfly tattoo traverses along the empty corridors in half ecstasy, playing hide and seek with his prey. He hears a muffled conversation in the distance and follows the sound to a small office. Scanning the room for traces of human, he finds none but a computer screen glaring at him mockingly. On the monitor, a sound clip is playing. Realizing he has been fooled, he heads toward the door to back out — but — it slides before him and locks him in. The screen flashes Falcon’s signature mark with Fujimaru’s voice ringing in triumph, “Haha, you’ve been fooled!” 😀
With the sniper temporarily out of the picture, Fujimaru and his friends head for the elevator to search the building for signs of antidote and accidentally spotted Dr. Shikimura Sosuke. A spec of light illuminates the bleak fate of Saori, providing a ray of hope for her survival — but it’s soon swallowed by darkness again as the young adventurers discover Maya hovering behind the doctor, a little distance away.
“Hurry up.” Maya nags impatiently as she watches the doctor burying his head in a cardboard box, searching furiously for something. “Stop bugging me.” the doctor answers and dips his head deeper into the cardboard box. “Next time, J will inject the real virus into your bloodstream.” dismayed by his reply, Maya sinisterly reminds him of the unpleasant experience. (So he was injected with a placebo. Never thought I would use the word “placebo” in such a negative sense.) The doctor pauses and shoots up straighter than usual. When he opens his mouth again, he speaks with such self-importance, even Maya is slightly taken aback. “There is something I want to say. It’ll do you good to listen.”
In the THIRD-i headquarter, the same conclusion Agent Kirishima Goro had reached regarding the successful development of the cure directs him to focus in on the National Bioscience Laboratory as well. A special unit led by Agent Kano Ikuma is then sent to the laboratory.
The sniper with the butterfly tattoo circles around the room like a skilled predator taking his sweet time to plant the seed of fear in his prey. Suddenly, he raises his rifle and shoots the digitized lock. The door cracks open obediently. Turning back to the security camera, he looks at it — at Fujimaru — straight in the eye and blows the camera out. This dangerous man is on the loose once more. (Oh yea, just add a little gore and screaming, this will segue straight into the kingdom of Battle Royale.)
Maya watches as Dr. Shikimura runs away from her like a rabbit trying to get away from a big, bad wolf. “Don’t forget about our deal, Shikimura Sensi.” she mutters to herself meaningfully.
The doctor is joined, unwillingly, by Fujimaru and later, Agent Ikuma. The good news that the doctor is found and Saori might be saved brings back a missed feeling of hope to THIRD-i. Under the chief and his colleague’s encouragement, Kirishima Goro finally musters the courage to see Saori — but it’s too late.
A gun fight ensues in the laboratory as the tattooed hunter gathers his ammunition to collect the prize of this man hunt — corpses, blood drenched corpses. Fujimaru ushers doctor Shikimura safely away from the firing zone and escorts him toward the exit while Agent Ikuma stays after to deal with the tattooed man. The firing intensifies on both ends. A sweeping silence thickens the smoky air with warnings of danger. Ikuma ducks behind a wall to wait for the attacker to reveal his position. Bang. A gunshot resonates across the empty hall, followed by the thud of a body dropping. And then, nothing. Puzzled, Ikuma carefully comes out from his hiding spot and approaches where the tattooed man had been. There is no one but a trail of blood.
A voice screams out in pain and fear. Punishment. The dread of being punished for failing to accomplish his mission pushes Bluebird into the black hole of trepidation. Quivering in fright, Bluebird screams at the top of his lungs to drown out the incessant chanting of doom that reminds him over and over of the Punishment that awaits him…
Fujimaru and the doctor are at the door, ready to leave this trap, when a man dashes out to block them with a gun.
That man is Fujimaru’s father. This highly anticipated, long awaited father-son reunion turns into a cold confrontation at gun point. “Father, are you really one of them?” Fujimaru confirms once more. Takagi Ryonosuke tilts his head slightly to avoid answering the question. Instead, he advices Fujimaru, “Stay out of this.” But before Fujimaru can ask anymore questions, his father runs out of the door upon Agent Ikuma’s arrival. Fujimaru chases after his father, heart broken at the “truth” before him…
Dr. Shikimura Sosuke follows Fujimaru to the THIRD-i base unit to “aid” the investigation regarding the terrorist group. In response to Goro’s speculation, Sosuke denies having completed a vaccination for Bloody-X. Furthermore, he confabulates a half-truth story of how he had lied to the terrorist about the location of the vaccine in order to run away from them. Agent Goro isn’t convinced. Without making eye contact with the doctor, Goro starts slowly, “There, is one thing I don’t understand. What makes the terrorist group falsely believe that you have developed a vaccine for Bloody-X?” “Perhaps they are in a hurry to obtain one.” The doctor suggests hastily to cover up for his lie. “These people aren’t stupid enough to believe in a vaccine that doesn’t exist. Doctor, where is it?” Evidences point out, Dr. Shikimura has developed Bloody-X personally, two years ago. “Why did you conceal the existence of a treatment for Bloody-X?” Goro probes, “After the incident at the mall and the first victim’s death, why did a researcher like you, who stands at the front line of the fight against terrorism, choose to keep the cure a secret? Please provide us with a plausible explanation.”
Agent Minami Kaoru walks into the conference room and hands Goro a file. He briefly looks it over and turns to the doctor, “According to the report, a Japanese scientist searched all over Russia for Bloody-X a few months ago. I have reasons to believe, the one that supplied the terrorist group with Bloody-X, is you.” Sosuke twitched a muscle, then he breaks into a hysterical laughter.
J and Maya walk into a crowded café together to order drinks. In passing, J turns to Maya and asks, in his forever-casual tone, “Maya you saw it, him letting the doctor escape?” Maya nods uneasily. Turning towards the counter to wait for his melon soda, J deduces, with a nonchalant smile, “The doctor must’ve employed his famous negotiation skill. I’d like to see that some time.” He turns to Maya, who quickly smiles back to keep her secret protected.
Once Sosuke’s participation in the spread of Bloody-X is confirmed, he is transferred to an interrogation room. During the transfer, the THIRD-i agents eyed him coldly. Facing their disdain, Sosuke squares his shoulder and carries himself with an air of haughtiness, emitting a repugnant self-righteousness and an overwhelming conviction that he had acted on belief and there is nothing immoral about the way he wants to bring the advancement of science into the foreground. (Like it’s not already.) He believes that in order to advance science, he must eradicate a deadly virus that can potentially wipe out the entire human race. But to find the cure of a fatalistic, fast-spreading virus, he needs to develop it first. (Delusional indeed.) He receives funding from the government to develop such a virus but when the government official decides to withdraw from the research and destroy Bloody-X all together, Sosuke snaps.
Once the door is shut, he wastes no time to spit out what he wants. The medication he developed is a wonder drug for Bloody-X. It acts both as a cure and as a vaccine to prevent the infection. In exchange for the wonder drug, Sosuke raises three conditions:
- The government must drop all charges regarding the negotiation and the development of the virus.
- THIRD-i must provide him with 24 hour protection to ensure his safety.
- Money. And it must be mmore than what the terrorists are willing to pay him.
“I’m sorry about your fiancée.” Sosuke leans towards Goro and lowers his voice, “But you should feel honored. After all, her life saved the humanity.” A strong pulse of anger rushes towards Goro’s four limbs, he longed to jam a fist in this man’s face, this madman who walks around harming people under the incandescent halo of Science. Yet he resisted and restrained. He is the leader of this anti-terrorism agency, he must behave like a leader.
Seated alone in the empty conference room, a badly bruised Goro finally gets a moment to breathe and get in touch with his feelings. Taking off his silver band and putting it in his palm, Goro stares at it for a second before taking out a second, thinner and more delicate ring. He gently places the smaller one next to the bigger one and sighs deeply. Then, he clenches his fist. When he looks up again, there’s tears shimmering in the darkness enveloped room.
He can feel grief taking him by the hand and sending him back in time, to the day he proposed to Saori in this very room. It was brightly lit and warm with Saori then; it is dark and solitary without her now. He had apologized, shyly, to proposing in the most unromantic place imaginable. But, he confessed earnestly, “My mission is to protect the country. Right now, you are what I want to protect the most.” She opened the jewelry box where the ring was sitting and smiled at him. “Marry me.” he asked. She nodded firmly and said yes.
They smiled at each other then, absorbed in happiness, not quite believing how lucky they were to have found each other. He cries now, immersed in sadness, not quite accepting that Saori is gone forever…
Sosuke is escorted to the lab where Maya awaits with J’s order of Punishment. Soon afterward, Fujimaru receives THIRD-i’s notification of the doctor’s death as well as the news of a new member joining the investigation — Sosuke’s lab assistant from two years ago.
After surfing around Sosuke’s computer, Fujimaru uncovers a clue leading to the laptop the doctor had given to Fujimaru’s father. He calls home and asks all his friends and his sister to leave the house as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, J has given Bluebird a third and last chance. His duty is to trace Fujimaru’s position through the lab assistant and have Fujimaru take them to the hideout of the cure.
After the last episode established the social hierarchy within the terrorist group, I started wondering how Maya is going to set herself apart from the rest of the terrorists since she’s the most featured member of the group. Then in this episode, she does something out of self-interest and attempts to keep it from J. Whether this will backfire on her or give raise to a power struggle in the group (which will be entertaining to see), Maya is starting to differentiating herself. I wonder which path her decisions will lead her.
This episode introduced an interesting concept of Punishment, either through casual mentioning, brutal emphasis, or cold-blooded execution. Punishment is (one of the) the consequence(s) of judgment, it’s especially interesting in this context because by having the power to punish others, J is essentially placing judgment on people in a God-like way. Through repeated mentioning of punishment, you really get to see how J’s grandiose wishful thinking of becoming God plays out. Now I just wonder who or what sparked that idea in the first place.
Finally, even though there’s repeated confirmation that Fujimaru’s father is a terrorist now, I remain unconvinced. Call me stubborn, but it just doesn’t seem that way to me. A workaholic who rather spend time investigating cases than return home to a family dinner would not, in my opinion, sell his soul because his daughter needs medical care. Besides, Sosuke is his friend, he could’ve easily asked for Sosuke’s help.