My first words after the end of this episode was simply: WOW! There is no other way to describe it. Just imagine an episode which exceeds the sheer brutality of the movie Silence of the Lambs (circa 1991) which is the first analogy I can come up with to give you an idea what this episode was all about. Again, this drama is not for everyone! As a matter of fact, it should come with a warning message before every episodes! Forget drama content ratings! This episode alone was way up there in the hemisphere when it comes to the macabre! (For cast and synopsis information see Episode 1)
The opening scene sends a cold shiver up my spine as we watch a cloaked (or as we find out later), raincoat figure, walk up to a woman who is gagged and hanging from a hook upside down in a basement with her hands tied behind her back. The absolute fear on this woman face as the figure pulls out these cutting shears, fear turns into a muffled scream as we see blood splatter the raincoat….not kidding! The scene was truly out of a horror story! I was riveted to my seat! Okay, enough with the opening. Let’s get this show started!
The episode once again starts off with the conversation that Hinako and Nakajima were having about herself. This conversation continues to be more revealing as you listen to her talk about herself. The weirdness that we all have notice is explained by her as an “inability to show emotion”. I’ve heard of people being like this before so I had to go to “The Google” and look up the official description of this disorder: Alexithymia. After you read the Wikipedia page, you truly see Hinako in the description.
That night, Hinako dreams about the previous case and the frozen corpses, but this time, Kenji is sitting at the table, just as he was the last time she saw him; bloodied lip and all. He is talking to her about her lack of empathy and her response is simply, she’s moved on! Like he is just a memory. It is at that point that she wakes up.
The detectives are called to a home not far from where Hinako lives. The house is an old ruin, that used to be owned by a wealthy family but is now seen as a haunted house. Inside the house, the police first discover one body and when the detective take a closer look, he discovers that the woman, dressed in blue nightclub dress, is missing both her legs. Upon further investigations within the house, they find the remains of 3 other women, some that are more decomposed than the one found in the living room. All of the bodies are missing parts and have been left in precarious positions. All the victim are young women, that the culprit dressed and prepared the women after the murder and it was believed that the body parts were carried away. Atsuta (Watabe Watanabe) suggests that the detectives once again consult Nakajima (Kento Hayashi) about profiling this incident after his success in reviewing the freezer murders and asks Hinako for his contact information.
Hinako and Kurashima (Jun Kaname) visit Kikikomi as part of the investigation to look for witnesses and clues. They encounter a little girl named Yoshida (Moeno Sumita) who mentions that she saw a ghost wearing a raincoat not only at the haunted house but also outside her own home that she lives with her mother, Sawa (Nakajima Arisa) a week ago.
They meet the mother courtesy of a woman that escorts them and Yoshida to the dance studio that Sawa works at. The woman, Sato Toyoru (Nozomi Sasaki), runs a dry cleaning shop in the neighborhood and talks about the fact that Sawa had been involved in a stalker incident once before as she worked as a hostess and it involved one of her customers.
From the investigation, they learn that the clothing had been made personally for the dead women. The clothes were the perfect sizes as if they were made for the victims. Hinako says that the perpetrator must be a clothing designer. When Taeko (Mieko Harada), the medical examiner is consulted, she has determined that the tool used to cut the bodies were also special scissors, such that designers use. The investigation discovers that Sawa’s stalker was Nagayama Soichiro, a self-proclaimed designer and stalker who could be tied to two of the murdered woman. However, there was no conclusive evidence found so no arrest could be made.
Taeko also mentions that she is still curious about the suicide cases. From further investigation, she has noticed something very strange that is present in all of the murderers’ suicide MRI scans: All of them have the presense of a tumor that is in the exact spot for each of them but there is no indication from the skin that the tumors were somehow manmade. Hinako receives a call that Sawa was taken by car by a man. When the detectives reach Sawa and Yoshida’s home, they find her unconscious in the apartment and had been left alone. Toyoru is also there and offers to go to the hospital with Hinako after Shoji insists that she follow the ambulance.
The other detectives received a report about the rental car and determine that it is now parked at the haunted house. When they search the home, they think they’ve found Nagayama Soichiro but what they find is the corpse of Nagayama, in a raincoat, with his throat cut exactly like all the other victims!
At the same time, Nakajima is working on his profile and through his analysis, he determines that the killer has taken what they believe are the “best” parts of the women; the culprit feels that they lack in those areas and even before he says it (I’d already had figure this one out), that the killer must be a…. Nakajima has sent his profile to both Shoji and Hinako who is reading it as Toyoru is driving to the hospital; however, before she can even say the words, she passes out. Well, remember the “tea” she drank at the dry cleaners? I thought that was way too suspicious!
Later, Hinako wakes up and she as well as Sawa who is across the room from her, are both tied up. A hooded raincoat figure is coming down the stairs and then they pull the hood back and it is none other than Sato Toyoru! With a smile on her face, she walks over to this mannequin which now consists of the “best” parts of the dead women! Yes, she admits to killing all the women and she has plans for both Sawa and Hinako. She goes to Sawa to admire her beautiful skin on her back while freakishly caressing that back like a lover!
As she is doing this, Hinako is reaching for her purse which was conveniently left right next to her tied up body. Toyoru thinks she is going for her cell phone; au contraire! We know what she is going for and as she does, Toyoru walks to her and tells Hinako that she also liked the face of the beautiful Hinako; soft and white, and says “give me …… the skin of your face”. As she stands over her with the scissors, we see that Hinako has the knife and says “No, this is exactly what I wanted to happen”. We also see a panicked Nakajima and Shoji racing in the car to find Hinako. Nakajima says in a low voice “I must find her!”
This episode was truly a freak fest! Now, I have seen some pretty, pretty, pretty dark Japanese dramas before, I’ve seen some where the story lines rivaled the best horror stories that I could sit through; however, I am SOOOOOO glad no one gave me a CLUE about this story! Once again I watched in horror as this unfolded! Alexithymia! We have a name for what is strange about Hinako. From the prodding that Nakajima did, she’s been this way since childhood. It seems strange that there wasn’t a particular event that would have been the cause/effect for her condition. But, her query about how does it make her different than a murderer or a psychopath; there is definitely a thin line between her and them! To think that she became a detective to explore more is also interesting (to use Hinako’s phrase). I have a feeling, just like Shoji, there is a true reason; a method to her madness if you will or a stressor as they say to explain why she is the way she is. Some of you might be wondering who Nakajima is really trying to rescue here. I have a feeling it is less Hinako and more Toyoru! With him knowing her secrets and her ‘dark side’, we can imagine his fears on what she might do!
I liked that we finally got a little more “Jun” time! His supporting cast role and scenes are so far and few between. When he tried the Shichimi which I’m not sure if I would when I know it is a spicy curry, the look on his face was comical as he spits out the tea. You big dummy! I also liked his face when he and Hinako were walking in the rain. Yes, he finds her strange. C’mon! What woman would come up with the Frankenstein reference with a straight face? Only our Hinako!
And let’s not forget to compare and contrast Keiichiro and Hinako’s reactions to Taeko’s detailed description of the conditions of the bodies as well as the mentioning of the blood draining! Hinako’s face is a study of being totally absorbed into the story while Keiichiro is minutes (or should we say seconds) from vomiting and running away. Hey! He did run away! It was nice to see more lively scenes with Jun!
But let’s take a moment to fancy a look at Nakajima and his obsession with the handkerchief. I couldn’t remember if we had seen the contents before, I think not. But to see that it contained one of the candy wrappers from the High School girl’s murder scene AND to see the near orgasmic expression on his face when it seemed like he was sniffing it; was I the only one that caught that? Weird City!
The big reveal that the culprit was Sato Toyoru was actually a no brainer at this point. I had my suspicions when Yoshida said “It is not a man” and there was a pregnant pause, if you will before the conversation continues and she said the raincoat person was a ghost. Also, when Yoshida and Hinako were walking down the street, she looks back at Toyoru and says to Hinako “She’s scary also”. Two clear signs of who the murderer is! The clues couldn’t be avoided. The last sign was Toyoru’s insistence that Hinako drink her tea! Wait! A little girl is rushed to the hospital and she pause to drink tea? Yes, something’s up with that! So, it was no surprise that it was drugged; however, the fact that Hinako expected it was a surprise. She was waiting for this moment and now will we see whether she fulfills her curiosity of whether or not she too is a…..
On a side note, remind me once again. The writer, Furuya Kazunao is male, right? I find it highly unusual that the women in this drama can be perceived as much stronger individuals than most of the men when it comes to the brutality within these cases. Taeko (she’s the medical examiner) as well as Hinako (she has a condition) have been unfazed by their surrounding and the cases at hand…Interesting.