Review by David Cirone
Maya double-crosses Hoshou, shooting her in the arm. “Now you can go back to being a spy,” she leers before making her getaway. Hoshou leaves Falcon next to Kano’s body and speeds back to THIRD-i.
As she bandages her wounded arm, we get a flashback of Hoshou’s past. Her brother was a government special agent, and was framed for crimes against Japan. Unable to prove his innocence, he took his own life, giving Hoshou a new, singular purpose: revenge.
Arriving at THIRD-i, she hooks up bomb full of Bloody X virus to the agency’s ventilation system, setting the timer to give her enough room to escape the building. Kirishima’s fiancee Saori works as support staff at THIRD-i, and she goes down to the basement to find out why the A/C isn’t working right.
Falcon’s sister Haruka is in the hospital for her dialysis treatment, and since Falcon’s a no-show, his newspaper club buddies show up to keep her company. Haruka’s worried about her brother, and asks Aoi to call THIRD-i. Aoi calls Hoshou, innocently asking about Falcon’s whereabouts during his sister’s time of need. Hoshou says she’ll be right there.
At THIRD-i, Saori discovers the bomb and calls Kirishima. He implores her to get out as fast as she can, but the timer’s gone down to the final seconds. She shuts down the ventilation system, saving THIRD-i but sealing herself in with the bomb as it releases the gas.
Hoshou gets to the hospital, but she’s tailed by THIRD-i agents. She has just enough time to break an agent’s neck and slip Haruka a gift: Falcon’s number-one hacking weapon, his “Save the Date” USB drive. As THIRD-i closes in, Hoshou takes Aoi hostage, leading to a showdown on the hospital roof.
Kano shows up via helicopter to try to talk her down. He’s fashionably bandaged, too, and he confronts Hoshou, asserting she can’t really be a traitor because she shot Kano with his own gun. She knows Kano’s gun only fires rubber bullets, so she was just putting on a show for Maya.
Surrounded by agents, Hoshou releases Aoi and shoots herself in the head, clutching her lost brother’s pendant.
Saori is taken to the THIRD-i infirmary. She got a full dose of the Bloody X virus, and things aren’t looking good. Kirishima takes his mind off her sacrifice by setting up a plan for the terrorists. They decide to use Falcon as bait, and the ploy works. That same night, Maya reappears next to Falcon on the street, and he barely has time to say “sensei” before her squad kidnaps him into the back of a van.
The most suspenseful episode in the series so far.
Supporting character Hoshou moves into the spotlight, and Nana Katase gives a great swan song performance.
WHAT’S TOO BIG
The gas bomb Hoshou smuggles so easily into THIRD-i is crazy huge.