When the episode begins, it picks up in the aftermath of Lord Nobuhide’s death. Everyone is grieving, everyone is preparing for the funeral rites, and the political advisors seem to have their own agenda as to who they want as the new Clan Lord versus the inheritance wish entrusted to Ichihime by Lord Nobuhide.
Since the story’s finally emerged clearly as a story of power struggles between clans on a small scale at the moment, I’m sure this will extend to a power struggle between east and west with Caesar’s hinted intervention. Mitsuhide’s character really surprised me in the last two episodes. He wasn’t completely to blame, but he was partially at fault for what took place for restraining Nobunaga until the end so The Fool could display its great power on the battlefield. Now, he’s begun to question his actions. He’s well aware that many of the advisor’s will not accept Nobunaga as the new Clan Lord, preferring Nobunaga’s younger brother Nobukatsu as perhaps a malleable figurehead.
At the same time, we’re not exactly sure what Nobunaga wants out of this political chaos. He arrives late at his father’s funeral rites and then scatters ashes, raising a storm of cherry blossom petals within the room. The scene is actually pretty symbolic and also very painful to watch. Those around Nobunaga who seem to understand them – Mitsuhide, Ichihime and the little Queen, are waiting for him to make his move, while Joan, Nobukatsu and everyone else are just confused of Nobunaga’s intentions. I’m increasingly disappointed with how Joan’s character turned out. She’s acting more and more like a little girl rather than a level headed politically aware advisor to Nobunaga. As a result, she decides to leave BUT OF COURSE Da Vinci stops her and asks her to draw one more card before her departure and she does, drawing Strength.
“The beat symbolizes a mighty strength. The woman embracing the beast signifies that great strength needs to be supported by strength of another kind. “
At the end of the episode, we reach a precipitous point where Nobukatsu makes a decisive decision to take the throne for the time being before transferring the right to his brother. Though Nobukatsu has all the right intentions, Mitsuhide knows that Nobukatsu won’t be allowed to step down once he has become Clan Lord. While the advisors send an assassin after Nobunaga, Mitsuhide decides to become a demon himself and assassinate Nobukatsu… when Joan travels far enough into the forest, she hears a man shouting under the waterfall. Out of grief? Out of frustration? What the hell is Nobunaga really doing? She tears up from the immensity of his emotion and as she dries her tears, she glimpses an assassin targeting Nobunaga… but the one that’s been shot is Himiko. She says that she’s fulfilled her duty as his wife and Joan sees a vision of Strength before her, love during a time of war. Nobukatsu’s been shot at the same time and it looks like he even knows who’s shot him, asking his murderer to take care of Nobunaga…
I found the last part of the episode so emotionally charged that it’s really bringing out the symbolism and mysticism of the story. Political instability and foreign conflict will continue in the next episode, we’ll just have to see how Nobunaga reconciles his duties and intentions with those who are too conventional to understand him.
What are you pondering today?