It’s weird to go back to a series after so long away, but I was swept back into the setting quickly enough. The focus of the episode surrounds the battle with the Takeda clan, one of the last holdouts to Oda’s rule. Sosuke increasingly sees his chances for glory slipping away as foe after foe is vanquished, and power is vital to Sosuke – because it’s power that will allow him to indulge his aesthetic pursuits. He says himself that while surrendering one’s own life is difficult, surrounding treasure is the most difficult thing of all – and that tells you all you need to know about a man who’s quite literally willing to risk his life in the pursuit of treasure.
After the debacle of the fake tea scoop last episode (though of the relevant parties only Mitushide knows something is wrong) Sosuke’s latest scheme is to buy the surrender of Oda’s foes by plying them with counterfeit treasures. He’s able to win the surrender of a minor castle – and minor glory for himself – but the surrender of the proud and powerful General Nishina is another matter. Sosuke is willing to risk his life because he sees the glory falling to Oda’s sons and brother, but his entire plan is contingent on the recipients not having a discerning eye. This turns out to be a problem with one of Nishina’s guards – a female samurai. But the solution is rather interesting, to say the least.
Hideyoshi was entirely absent from this episode, and Senno largely so – though it’s these two men who seem to be the real power brokers behind the scenes and the most skilled schemers. It’s fascinating to watch the verbal dance as they pursue their ends, the conversations where what’s said is always different from what’s meant. Any student of the Sengoku era knows how this will end historically, but it certainly adds an interesting element wondering how the fictional Sosuke – a pawn who believes himself a king – will end up.