It’s a whodunnit episode and though the answer seemed clear at the end of the last episode, the murder of one of their own makes everyone more paranoid than ever and starts forming cracks in an already fragile alliance.
I really love the opening monologue by Mizuki, who’s standing on a roof while it snows. It really captures the doubt and uncertainty that pervades the episode. “Powdered snow, large snow flakes, small snow flakes. No matter how you call it, it always remains white and beautiful snow. However, even the most beautiful snowflake can lose its beauty in just a split second. It will melt immediately and change into dirty mud.”
We pick up where we left off with the blood-covered Morishige and the dead Usui. Of course, everyone jumps to the same conclusion, but Morishige’s as shocked as they are and denies killing her. No one believes her, Haru in particularly, but Morishige maintains her innocence and says any one of them could have killed her.
Kamiya, calm as always, sees Morishige’s point. There’s no way of telling when Usui died; they only have Mizuki’s word that she disappeared, for all they know, she could have done it. There’s also the fact everyone was separated while looking for her, so no one has an alibi. The thought that one of them could be the murderer makes everyone uneasy.
Igarashi is upset that Haruka tricked him, but she says that they’re all just trying to dogde responsibility and further delaying the students’ rescue, effectively making Igarashi feel more guilty. Dad comes to the school meeting, angry that his wife didn’t tell him about the situation sooner, but she stands by the fact that this has nothing to do with him. He’s never taken an interest in his family before, abandoning everything in order to chase stars, so he shouldn’t start acting like a caring father now.
They move Usui’s body, covering her in a spot they can find later. Mizuki removes Usui’s bracelet, remembering how she had promised her that they would go home together. She can’t keep the tears from flowing and promises that they’ll come back for her later. Haru: “To be killed by a fellow classmate from the same class…” They all look at Morishige, who looks away from their accusing glares.
The principal decides to say that the article was lying and that the bus company was actually hiding the fact that the bus never returned, despite the school continuously asking for information. Dad asks Igarashi if it’s true, and he hesitates a moment before confirming the principal’s story. Haruka has been locked out of the meeting, so her boss tells her to interview the students’ families. He uses the word victims though, and it finally seems to hit Haruka that her sister may no longer be alive.
Haru finally flips and demands that they tie up Morishige. There’s no one else who would have killed Usui; she was intent on getting her sickle back, no matter what the costs. Morishige points out she doesn’t even have the sickle and though Haru says that she hid it, Morishige wouldn’t throw away something so valuable. Haru turns to Mizuki for back up, but once again she refrains from taking Haru’s side.
Morishige says that Mizuki isn’t the type of person to care about others than herself, but she was strangely attached to Usui. She wonders if she’s feeling guilty about something. She targets Kamiya, saying that if Usui had attacked her with the sickle, she wouldn’t have hesitated to do what she needed to survive because she’s so desperate to go back home. We already know her opinion of men, so she calls Hinata a hypocrite.
Haru’s sick of listening to Morishige and the two start fighting again. Kamiya breaks it up, saying that since the killer won’t come forward, they’ll decide if Morishige should be tied up or not by voting. It’s unfair obviously, but Morishige has no chocie but to go with it. Mizuki imagines Morishige and Usui fighting with Morishige brutally stabbing her, before casting her vote.
Mom and Dad remember when Mizuki got lost at a summer festival when she was little. They had worried just like now, but she had easily returned to them. Dad assures her that Mizuki will come back and that she knows Mizuki best, so if she’s lost hope, what is he supposed to do?
Haruka’s words are niggling at Igarashi and it’s only made worse when he sees the reporters interviewing Kamiya’s siblings. The oldest breaks down when they start asking what they’ll do if Kamiya doesn’t return and Igarashi finally intervenes, stepping in to take the children away.
The police now think an accident occurred, which alarms the parents, so Dad proposes that everyone relocate to Yamanashi while the police expand their search. Igarashi who has been standing on the sidelines for too long, finally confesses what really happened to everyone, accepting full blame and causing chaos among the parents.
After the longest vote tally ever, a decision is reached: Morishige won’t be restrained. The vote is four to one; Haru’s the only one who wanted Morishige tied up. Morishige, pleased at the outcome, says it’s strange that Haru wants her to be the criminal so badly and starts to wonder if Haru killed Usui. After all, she did almost try to kill Mizuki just a few days ago. Haru claims she was just confused and Morishige asks if she was confused when she killed Usui as well.
Haru turns to Mizuki, asking why she didn’t vote with her. Does she think she killed Usui? Mizuki says she would have voted differently if she was the same as she was before, but now she wants to believe in everyone, because she wants to make it back home together.
It would be the perfect cheesy ending if Morishige didn’t speak up. “Believing in everyone. That’s just whitewashing things.” It’s impossible that one of them didn’t kill Usui and it must have been Haru. She and Haru scuffle again and Hinata and Mizuki try to break them up. Haru’s pushed a little too much and as she falls, Usui’s crime buzzer falls in front of her. Oh crap.
Everyone’s eyes widen and they look at Haru. Morishige asks why she has the buzzer, but Haru’s at a loss for words. Mizuki imagines Haru killing Usui and as the credits roll, Haru’s desk falls.
Thoughts: It always seems to come back to Haru, doesn’t it? While evidence usually speaks for itself, I doubt Haru did it. Okay, she did almost kill Mizuki a few episodes ago, but she had a truckload of resentment built up towards Mizuki that she really needed to get out (though homicide is not the best way to go about releasing that frustration). She has no such feelings towards Usui, no fathomable reason for killing her, so I call BS, though I’m not saying Morishige did it either. The only reason that Morishige would kill Usui would be for the sickle, which she doesn’t have. We’ve seen how desperate Morishige is to protect herself and be in charge, so if she killed Usui for that sickle, I doubt she’d be hiding it. There is still the question of all that blood though…
I was worried that this show was going to become a little too sappy, what with Mizuki solving problems every episode, so I’m glad to see the tension ratchet back up with Usui’s death. Usui was a boring character whose death lacked any emotional impact, but plot-wise, it’s being used well, because no matter how many heartwarming scenes of understanding you have, there’s no way you can get over the fact that someone around you killed another, a very helpless person at that, and might do you in if given the chance. I’m still not sure how this find the murderer story is going to shake out, but I look forward to watching it unfold. Anything’s better than watching the parents take up more than half the episode.