A stream of blood creeps down Tachikawa Hide’s left nostril like a revolting slime coming out of hiding, leaving a trail of sticky crimson where it traveled. He instinctively reaches a hand to wipe away the fluid, smearing the thin line of red into a big patch of scarlet. Before realizing what’s happening, a wave of nausea tumbles inside of him. He staggers toward the sink and lets loose a lump of blood.
Hide’s sudden and most unexpected deterioration of health has only one explanation, and the suspicion is confirmed momentarily when two fully equipped men march into Fujimaru’s hiding place with large guns. Under force, Fujimaru and the rest of the newspaper club are escorted to the enclosure of a classroom where all exists are carefully guarded. In the center of the classroom is a computer. Inside the small frame of the monitor is J, wearing his favorite nonchalant expression. The time is Saturday 14:25.
Exactly an hour and 11 minutes later, at 15:36, three things have been accomplished since Fujimaru was held hostage. First, the electricity in the Kanto Special Prison where the religious cult leader Kamishima Shimon serves his sentence, was cut off by Bluebird. Second, agent Ikuma discovered the existence of another spy in law enforcement. The third and last was Maya’s provocation to agent Goro of targeting Fujimaru and his four friends as the next victims of Bloody-X.
Holding a group of people hostage implicates the intention to negotiate an agreement where the result typically involves the satisfaction of one party and the compromise of another. (A rather desperation measure to achieve a goal.) What the terrorist group want from THIRD-i is the clearance to release K — the haunting cult leader, Kamishima Shimon.
Five people’s lives in exchange for one, does the value of one’s life weight more than another? THIRD-i under agent Goro would choose to secure the lives of five before complying to the dangerous demands of the terrorist group. But THIRD-i is not under Goro anymore and the new boss decides to use the lives of the five hostages as bait to capture the terrorist group. Or, as much of the terrorist group as possible.
THIRD-i’s new boss isn’t wrong. Sometimes sacrifices are necessary, but valuing life is what sets THIRD-i apart from the terrorist group and it is also why agent Sayuri doesn’t qualify to be part of THIRD-i anyway when she chooses to end her own life.
At 19:10, Falcon still hasn’t figured out a way to escape and bring Hide to THIRD-i, where the cure is kept. At 19:10, Falcon’s computer is running out of battery. At 19:10, Hide’s condition is worsening and yet, what he provides Fujimaru are trust, encouragement, and acceptance, which only deepens the sense of guilt Fujimaru feels for bestowing misfortune on his friends. But more than that, Fujimaru feels gratitude towards these friends for being supportive in a state as devastating as this.
In darkness shines through light; with misfortune comes fortune; and from anarchy arises order. What appears as an exacerbation to the situation — Fujimaru’s laptop running out of battery — in fact improves the condition of things. The use of a cord to connect the computer to an outlet reminds Fujimaru of a way to connect to the internet (which I fail to grasp, but I’ll let my willing suspension of disbelief fill in the gap). He sends Goro an email, disclosing the details of the classroom where he is confined.
On the side of THIRD-i, although stripped off of power, the agents’ support for Goro as the center executive is unanimous. So an unauthorized operation to save the five hostages by delivering them the cure is underway — operation ball-point-pen. It is now 22:32.
The idea behind the operation is to replace the ink of a five-colored pen with the cure saved by Fujimaru and somehow delivery the pen to the hostages.
Sunday 1:45, a sink in the special prison regurgitates a foul green liquid and overflows to the bathroom floor, marking the starting point of a disaster.
In order to delivery the cure, THIRD-i requested to send in the doctor to confirm that the hostages are indeed infected. While taking blood samples and writing notes on a clipboard, the doctor will “accidentally” leave the pen at the classroom. The rest is up to the hostages to manage under the eyelids of the two guards.
The operation doesn’t fall through at the last moment. Anzai Mako pushes the table where the pen is rested to aid her own movement and causes the pen to fall to the ground. The noise alarms one of the guards, who then picks up the pen and returns it to the doctor. Once outside the classroom, agent Kaoru, who accompanied the doctor to the site, distracts the guard, providing time for the doctor to slip the pen into a pile of papers. Now, all that’s left to do is to cross their fingers and wish for the best.
Sunday 2:35, Hide starts to show signs of visible convulsion. Aoi insists to find a blanket and some gauze. Since one guard is taking a leak in the restroom, the remaining guard accompanies Aoi as she retrieves the desired item. The absence of the guards provides a perfect opportunity for Fujimaru to find the pen, he slips out of the room.
The pen had fell through the gap in the paper and got lost in the clutter. Under the stress of looking for a small object in total darkness as well as limited time to complete the task, Fujimaru fails to find the pen before the guard discovers it first…
Agent Ikuma has been at Fujimaru’s house to look after Haruka following the realization of another spy. He promptly calls agent Goro and without providing any explanation, urges Goro to leave THIRD-i and come to Fujimaru’s house.
In the meantime, Aoi starts to exhibit the first stage of infection.
The terrorists dress up to welcome K, all except J, who stays behind to monitor the hostages. Growing bored of watching the caged lab rats, J reveals the back story of how Fujimaru is first involved: Falcon was too good of a hacker to get caught. He turned himself in two years ago. While hacking, he came across a couple encrypted files that belonged to K. These files detailed the terrorist attack that’s now known as Bloody Monday. To prevent the outbreak of a genocide, Falcon explained his finding to his father that led to K’s imprisonment as well as the formation of this unbreakable bond that now ties Fujimaru to the terrorist group.
Verging despair, Mako lungs for the ball-point pen dangling on one of the guards’ fingers and successfully obtains the cure. Otoya jumps at once at the guard and gets hold of the gun. While Aoi aids the attack, Fujimaru picks up Hide and carries him on his own back. Then the five of them flee to their original hideout with the exaltation of liberation. “Hide, Hi-de, how are you holdin’ up? We’re almost there!” Fujimaru yells across his shoulder at his dying friend. Hide smiles, but his voice escapes him.
When they finally sat Hide down and extracted the cure from the pen, Hide is already dead. No matter how they shake him, scream his name, or tell him to open his eyes, Hide would not stirr. Hide will never open his eyes again. There is no bringing him back…
So much had happened in 12 hours, yet when the clock completed a full revolution, today looks no different from yesterday. What’s different is that Hide is dead, K has returned, the spy is found and executed, and the four hostages’ lives are saved.
Just a wild thought (without watching ahead or reading the manga): since we’ve got J and K in the game, it’d be cool to find ourselves a Q to complete the Jack-Queen-King trio.
I feel silly doing analysis for the episode after the entire drama has finished airing, but I am glad that J showed a different side here. Rather than the nonchalant leader who amuses himself at every opportunity of cruelty, he actually seemed weak this time. While over looking the ferris wheel from the trailer, J remarked that love only makes people more vulnerable. That is true to an extent, but the way and the context in which he asserted this view reveals more cowardice than I dream to associate with him. I wonder what and/or who he’s lost that he’s so desperately trying to regain now.
Until next time.