If you didn’t look too closely you might be forgiven for mistaking this for a breather episode, especially in the A-Part, but there was an awful lot happening up there on the Tenkaidou. Captain Earth continues to scream headlong towards a mighty collision of forces in terms of the global conflict, and the long-simmering personal dramas are lurching forward at last. Everyone seem to be readying to play their trump card except Puck, who’s still holding his very close to the vest.
There are a couple new picture cards face-up on the table this week – Jack and Queen, “two of the top three leaders of the Intercept Faction”. Who is “King”, and who is the third leader – are they the same person? Might it be Nishikubo? In any event Jack and Queen are semi-mythical enough to spark an awed reaction among Yomatsuri’s crew, and they’re present to meet the Midsummer’s Knights and learn the details of Operation Summer.
As for the plan itself, there’s a lot of sci-fi terminology spilled over it – “hyperspace” and such – but the gist of it is use the powers of the Blume to go to Uranus where the Planetary Gears mothership Oberon is, and use the engine series to destroy its core and convert it to pure energy. That seems like genocide, actually, but let’s leave that issue aside for the moment. Jack and Queen are understandably concerned about putting the fate of two species in the hands of kids, and Yomatsuri seems a bit unsure herself – but Nishikubo is as confident as ever that his junior rangers can handle the challenge.
What I mentioned last week was acknowledged here, that even if Intercept has been the most successful organization in the series they’ve exclusively been playing defense. Going on the attack is a necessary step, but it’s happening as we’re seemingly seeing Nishikubo comprehensively outflanked for the first time. Salty Dog has sent “Pointer” (actually our old friend Hirosue) to foil their plan, and he sneaks onto the Tenkaidou without setting off any alarm bells. But even worse, Ai has infiltrated as part of a “Governor for a Day” program that Nishikubo seems to have willingly played along with, and she too intends to wreak havoc on the Intercept Faction and their plans. Meanwhile, Puck is aware of all or most of this playing out, and seems content to watch the fireworks for the time being.
For now, most of the fireworks are on the personal side. Daichi has morphed into full on knight-in-shining-bodysuit mode for Hana in rescuing her from the Blume, but their feelings were never really in doubt. The more meaningful development comes between Teppei and Akari, as he finally shows a crack in his facade and unburdens himself to her about the torment his millennia of memories are causing him. That kiss has been a long time coming, and it always figured she was the one who was going to have to instigate it. Standard timing rules apply and this is the moment that Hirosue chooses to take over the Tenkaidou and out the Intercept Faction’s plans to the world, but Akari’s accomplished what she needed to – no take-backs…