What an episode! Well, not really. I mean, I guess, each episode has some important lesson and that isn’t bad, but when you think about it, not a lot is necessarily happening in 45 minutes. The past few episodes had to do with trust and truth and confronting the past. This episode again has Kiyama schooling Rei when she’s at a low point. I did like how we are finally officially introduced to Kusano. The poor boy couldn’t be more different from Rei. Here’s hoping that she will be able to help him change for the better. Given the previews for episode 5, I am wondering if this will only be a 6 or 8 episode drama. It’s actually hard to imagine the plot could actually go for 10-12 episodes at this rate.
We open with Ayukawa helping Rei gather up her fallen things and apologizing for running into her. Rei assures him that she isn’t hurt, plus she wasn’t watching where she was going. He picks up her French book and part of it has fallen out. He offers to replace it, but Rei turns down the offer as it is a precious gift from her mother. Ayukawa seems so normal and nice here…almost hard to believe he’s a crazy man who beat and raped her mother. Rei goes home, tapes up the book, and calls her little sister to let her now that their mother is safe and sound in Choshi. Rei hangs up and puts her phone away when she gets a new message. She thinks it’s Mao, but it’s an email alert that she has a received a message from the bulletin board.
Rei logs in and starts up a conversation with Kusano. She lets him know about her situation and how she is going to trust and wait for her mother. Kusano is happy to hear this and they formally introduce themselves. He’s 21, she’s currently 18. She tells him she works at a bakery and he says that he wishes to eat the sweets she bakes. Can he possibly come to her store and try her apple pie? Rei happily agrees and this makes the nervous Kusano break out in a relieved smile. Nakamura is sooo cute here.
When Kiyama gets home from the night shift, Takaoka asks if he would like some apple pie. Kiyama refuses and Takaoka asks of the girl Tanizaki is the one that he’s in charge of. Kiyama says that’s right, but he looks rather uncomfortable. Well, after that last scene of Takaoka and him from episode 3, you can guess why things might have gotten even more awkward betwixt the two. That woman is seriously giving out a slightly crazy and possessive vibe. These two need to talk, but I don’t necessarily foresee that happening anytime soon and that can bring bad results. She’ll be another creeper like the Me Too Flower woman. Sigh.
The next day is the day the free magazine comes. Igawa and Rei listen and watch each other closely. More and more you can see Igawa’s jealousy and insecurities rising. Why? Well, I guess the reason has to do with Igawa believing she has strived and worked hard to get where she is. She studied at a vocational school and got the job at Charlotte. She loved being a baker as your rank or sex did not matter. Rei listens intently to Igawa’s answers and is awed by the older girl. Igawa listens to Rei’s answers an gets more and more upset it seems. Sigh.
The store is closing for the night as Kusano gathers up his courage to go to the store. He quickly rushes up to Rei who is out trying to take care of the sign. He asks if there’s anymore apple pie left. Rei replies that there is and goes to head inside. Kusano gathers up his courage and keeps repeating “apple pie” until he finally manages to spit out the –san at the end. “Apple Pie-san.” Rei is happy to finally meet her Whiskey Bon-Bon. They go to a café after Rei gets out of work and Kusano says her pie looks good. Rei comments that she threw him in another treat for free. Awww. Kusano confesses he wishes to become friends with Rei as his situation made it hard to communicate and be friendly with others. Rei immediately agrees to this, making Kusano happy. It will be nice to talk to someone who can understand what they are going through. Kusano is surprised to hear that Rei told her coworkers the truth. Looks like that’s a step he wouldn’t take. Kusano then talks about his life until now and says that he knows Rei pities him afterward. He then apologizes for saying such things. But it’s true. Rei was thinking about much better than she had it with him. Their relationship is awkward right now, but I have a feeling it could pick up and become smoother. They have some good chemistry already.
While Kusano and Rei are talking, Yoko finally manages to start writing out her statement. She got married when she was Rei’s age (18). Things started out okay, but after three months, Ayukawa started abusing her. She then ran away from him. After the 6-month period had passed, she learned that Ayukawa did not submit divorce papers so she went to pay him a visit. Ayukawa thought she was coming back to him, but that was not the case. Yoko begs for a divorce. Ayukawa then says he agrees to it, but after seeing Yoko’s expression, he became angry. He took her home, beat her and raped her. Again, this is what makes me think that there’s a possibility that Rei really isn’t Tanizaki’s daughter, but Ayukawa’s. I’m just saying. Although, I do hope I’m wrong about that. When it comes to this part of the statement, Yoko cannot finish writing and cowers in a corner once more. Poor woman.
Rei goes home to find Mao. Her little sister had gotten her message and wishes to see the letter from their mother. Rei hesitates, but agrees. Before she hands over the letter, Rei explains the situation to her little sister about their mother’s previous marriage, the abuse, and Rei not being entered in on the family register. Mao is really upset after reading the letter. How could she treat her sister like that? Mao believes its horribly unfair that her sister can’t get a full-time job or study in Paris or get married. Mao hugs her and says that she pities her older sister. Man, the expression on Rei’s face. Looks like she understands Kusano a bit more now after this.
The next day City Watcher is out and Abekawa shows everyone the write ups on Igawa and Rei. It just so happens, though, that Rei got a bigger article. You can tell Igawa is not happy about this at all. Shusaku goes to pay a visit to Charlotte and seems relieved when he sees his granddaughter there smiling as usual. He then glances down and sees the City Watchers that are left out for their customers. He is pleased by the article on Rei. Shusaku then goes back to his room and calls up Grandma Tanizaki. They meet and he introduces himself for the first time. Tanizaki wonders if he is aware of Rei’s situation since he found his late wife’s correspondence with Yoko. Shusaku knows and wishes to be of some sort of help to his grandchildren and daughter. He hasn’t spoken with Yoko for 20 years (since she eloped with Ayukawa) and he wishes to reunite with his daughter and his granddaughters, but he must tread carefully or another disaster like before could happen. He then asks if Tanizaki has any idea where Yoko could have gone off to.
Kiyama heads into work and the Ward office is in an uproar over one of their workers Tsutsui being featured as a hot guy seen around Minami-ku. Kiyama goes over to look at the magazine and they then show him Rei’s article. They are pleased that Rei is doing her best and working hard in spite of her difficulties. Igawa is also looking at the article and crumples it up. She quickly hides the magazine when Jun and Rei come in. Jun sees it when he puts a container away and knows immediately that it was Igawa’s doing. He tries to hide it from Rei, but she notices it, too, and she also knows it was Igawa. Before anything can be said, Abekawa comes in and delivers the good news that the head office wants to try Rei’s apple pie after reading the article. Rei’s happiness is tempered by her concern for Igawa’s feelings.
Too make matters worse, Rei’s apple pie sells out while Igawa’s pistachio dessert has leftovers. When Abekawa delivers news that HQ loved the apple pie and wants Rei to work on a project team for a new apple dessert for fall, Igawa has had enough. It’s not fair. She worked hard to get where she’s at and Rei is just being handed everything thanks to her pitiful situation. Abekawa calls Igawa a horrible person basically and Igawa runs off. Abekawa tells Rei not to take it to heart while Jun chases after Igawa and tells her that Rei becoming full-time and being put in charge of a dessert happened before the register situation. Igawa knows, but she can’t help but feel slighted.
With this incident, Rei’s confidence is shaken. She heads to the ward office after work to see Kiyama. Looks like he’s become her personal guidance counselor (isn’t this going above and beyond the call of duty?). She is told he’s out smoking on break. Kiyama’s kouhai is out smoking with him asking for help approaching a special kid for an interview. Rei comes out and Nakatsu introduces himself as Kiyama’s junior in the newspaper world. Rei is surprised to know that Kiyama was a hardnosed reporter in the past. Nakatsu then leaves and Rei asks for Kiyama’s opinion on her apple pie. Kiyama tells her that her confidence should not waver. In fact, it’s okay for Rei to be greedy and to want things in life. Kiyama then says he is not the person that needs to eat the apple pie. Rei goes home and thinks Kiyama’s words through.
The next morning she bakes her apple pie as usual and gives it to Igawa to taste as Rei really wants Igawa’s opinion after she tries the pie. Igawa does taste it after Rei goes to clean the store. Igawa seems impressed. Meanwhile, Yoko gets a special delivery. It’s the City Watcher that features Rei. After reading her daughter’s responses of why she loves apple pie and baking and that the French book she gave Rei is Rei’s most treasured item, Yoko faces the written statement once more determined to finish it so that Rei’s dreams can finally come true. After work, Igawa tells Rei that she will not lose to her (after she compliments the apple pie). Looks like their professional relationship is on the mend. Another crisis solved. Yay.
Rei then rushes off to meet Kusano. She apologizes for meeting so late as she was just finishing up work and wanted to catch Kusano before he started work. She tells him that she did pity him and apologizes. That was wrong of her. She is who she is and he is who he is. Yes, their situation sucks, but Rei is going to work hard and make the most out of her opportunities and life. She is in charge of her own future. Of course, this newfound confidence is all thanks to Kiyama. Rei the tells Kusano that his life can become better as well if he believes and also becomes greedy (for a normal life). This really throws Kusano. Rei’s positive attitude and fighting spirit are something that he has lacked all this time. Right, having a relationship (in this case friendship) with Rei is definitely good for Kusano.
Rei gets home and Mao is making curry. Rei announces that she is who she is and there is no need for her little sister to pity her. Mao is confused by this and wonders what happened. Rei smiles and says nothing. Enter Yoko. She has finally returned to her daughters. A tearful reunion and a family hug is a stark contrast to what Kusano is going through. It turns out that his manual labor job is prostitution. And that would be male on male prostitution. Hmm, I wonder if he’s doing such things thanks to the man he hated that he had to prostrate himself for in order to get some help…? Surely there must be a better way for Kusano (who is also without a register) to make money. He walks home and recalls Rei’s words. Will he give up his current life and choose a better one? I am also afraid that something really bad might happen with him later in this series. I hope not, though.
We end with Rei delivering all necessary documents to the ward’s office. She is then handed the necessary paperwork that her mother must fill out to make certain that their contact information is kept secret from Ayukawa. The evil main in question is taking refuge from rain under an awning when he notices the City Watcher the thumbs through it and recognizes Rei’s picture. He then notices her name and is surprised for a moment before grinning. Don’t tell me he knows Yoko’s married name? That and Shusaku always visiting Charlotte where Rei works…d’oh.
They touted this drama as a romance. I get it and yet I don’t at the same time. I am not sure we will get that May-December romance and I don’t think this show would suffer for it. It’s definitely tackling a lot of heavy issues: domestic violence, Japan’s registry laws, not being listed on a register, prostitution… It’s crazy. The next episode previews has Ayukawa getting closer to Rei and eventually meeting both Yoko and Rei together. Not good, not good at all.