It’s halfway through the final season and welcome to Japan Fletcherfans, a place that I will, in fact, be visiting next March. This episode has provided exactly zero help with planning for that, but never mind.

In unrelated news, I was today years old when I found out that Donny Osmond was the singing voice of Shang in Mulan. None of this is entirely relevant, but daylight savings ended last night and I’m confused and hungry.

Anyway.

In Osaka, motorbike racing team director Koji Hitaki watches highlights of the most recent race with his star driver Rick Walsh and his girlfriend Miko Ishida. Koji gets a phone call with the news that the engineering team have scheduled testing of the new fuel injection system for the day after tomorrow, which doesn’t work for Rick because he’s working on something else for the bike which is still glitchy but apparently, there’s a cutoff date or something.

Motorbikes. I have even less interest in them than cars. Make a motorbike version of Fast and the Furious and then maybe we’ll talk.

Miko has to go meet her friend (and ours) Jessica so Rick walks her to her car. She takes off, and Rick is about to head off too when a gang of thugs try to jump him for his motorbike (later JB refers to them as bōsōzoku) He fights them off long enough for Koji to come downstairs and scare them away.

I seriously thought BD Wong was the singing voice as well all this time. I mean…huh.

Anyway, cut to Our Heroine in her hotel room, a victim of a burglary and devastated over the loss of a necklace that was an anniversary present from Frank. Miko arrives just as Inspector Ota departs, and Jessica explains that her plane was late and she didn’t want to keep her students at the university waiting so she just dumped her bags and headed on out. Jessica is pleased to report that the thieves weren’t interested in the advanced copy of Miko’s new book of dirty limericks haiku poetry.

I myself am trying to compose a haiku devoted to the ‘It’s gonna be May” Justin Timberlake meme, but it’s hard because It’s Gonna Be May doesn’t have five syllables. This is what happens when you take a social media holiday, it gives you time to devote to the important things.

Over at Hitaki HQ, Koji’s sister Nobu meets with bike engineer Bill Dawson who she is helping with a proposal that he will be putting to her father the next day. Cue talk of family tradition, shoguns etc.

Back at Jessica’s hotel, Miko tells JB about her brother’s political campaign and how it’s struggling, though she thinks he still could win. Even if it came out that his sister was dating a foreigner, or gaijin as apparently it is known.  Meanwhile, Miko’s brother meets with his henchman Tommy Crane who reports back on Miko’s movements.

Back at Rick Walsh’s apartment, JB delivers a floppy disk that Rick’s mother found while cleaning out his late father’s clothes. It contains designs for some sort of motorbike thingamajig and he’s very excited about it. Miko is annoyed he won’t go to the police about his attack by the bōsōzoku but he’s not worried, they didn’t get his bike. JB thinks if they wanted his bike they could have just taken it, they were clearly after him. Something is definitely going on – they were followed on the way over to Rick’s apartment.

People really need to do this more often.

Sidebar.

I spent a lot of this episode going “Oh come on that’s not a thing” to a lot of the cultural stuff that happens in this show. There’s a scene that happens now with Miko and her brother and how Miko is to be married to Koji as arranged by their parents way back when, and I called shenanigans on this but you guys arranged marriage (miai) is still a thing in Japan even now…according to a Google rabbit hole I just fell down.

You know what, I get it. If your choices are miai or go another tinder date, miai might appeal tbh.

Geez,  I’m getting distracted a lot in this episode. I blame daylight saving ending.

ANYWAY. Long story short Miko loves Rick but her brother is ordering her to marry Koji but Miko says over her dead body which is a risky move on this show.

Down at the track Rick tries out the motorbike and it seems to work in a motobikish way. Rick wants to bail on the rest of practice and get back to work on his father’s design but the Team Hitaki…coach? Ikuma Nakata wants him on the bike for another three hours and suspends Rick for his defiance. Koji won’t stand for that and orders them to work it out, which apparently leads to Nakata’s resignation.

Koji’s father, Akira Hitaki, is furious.

If you read this in the voice of Terrence Stamp in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, you aren’t alone.

He insists that Koji assume his rightful position as the heir to the Hitaki empire, news that doesn’t thrill Koji or Nobu. Bill Dawson arrives to diffuse the tension and present his proposal for an American headquarters for Hitaki in Dallas, along with ideas for an engine modification. Akira asks for time to consider these proposals, then after Bill and Nobu depart, resumes harassing Koji. He orders Koji to put together a thorough assessment of Dallas’s tax laws, collective bargaining agreements etc etc…and now he wants to talk about his marriage to Miko.

Meanwhile, JB has tea with Miko’s brother Yosuke who asks for JB’s help in convincing Miko to chuck Rick Walsh and seal the deal with Koji. Yosuke’s chauffeur arrives to take her back to her hotel and gives Yosuke a look. Yosuke nods, and the chauffeur nods in return.

In other news, I just woke up from a nap and have suddenly remembered last week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race where Ru and Nina West were geeking out over Murder She Wrote and you guys if Nina West/someone FINALLY does Jessica Fletcher in the Snatch Game it will be the end of me.

Over at the Kendo club, Rick and Koji are beating each other with sticks, kendo style. Rick wants to know what’s bugging Koji and he tells him to forget it. Later Koji goes to visit Miko and it’s pretty clear he’s in love with her but doesn’t want to admit it.

Later that night at Hitaki HQ Rick runs into Bill and they reminisce about Rick’s father. Rick excuses himself when Nobu appears, and Nobu tells Bill that Rick is designing a fuel injector that might be better than Bills. Bill doubts it.

The next day at the track the testing goes well until it doesn’t and the bike explodes. Noone is seriously hurt, however.

You better believe it.

The incident at the racetrack is enough for Akira to force an ultimatum on Koji – either step up and assume the CEO duties or he’s out of the family. Koji accepts this, and to marrying Miko. Nobu tells him not to ruin Miko’s life too but Koji tells her to get used to it – he’s in, she’s out.

Jess has done a bit of sleuthing and discovered the identity of the man who followed her and Miko – Tommy Crane, Yosuke’s henchman. Rick thinks he might have seen Tommy around at the Waterfall Cafe maybe, but he can’t have tampered with the bike – there’s no evidence of that.

Over at the racetrack, Nobu and Bill find Koji filling his bike up. Nobu apologises for walking out, and to also tell him that Rick called to reconfirm their Kendo appointment and Koji says thanks. He’s off to clear out his locker. Bill tells him to cheer up, business is just as exciting as motorbike racing.

I mean he’s not wrong. They’re both equally exciting to me.

Yasuke tells Miko that the wedding is happening, Koji has made it official. Koji, meanwhile, has just run out of gas and gets a lift to the kendo hall with Nobu. Miko calls Rick to tell him the news and he offers to back off but she won’t let him and says she’d even flee the country to be with him. He says he’ll call her later, and heads off to the kendo hall, leaving his computer on. Meanwhile, Jess follows Tommy Crane to the Waterfall Cafe where she eavesdrops on his conversation with the chauffeur while entertainingly eating some fermented soybeans.

The two men leave the cafe, with the chauffeur telling Tommy that “it doesn’t matter what you do, just make sure the American doesn’t bother Miko again.” Jess rushes to warn Rick, and leaves a message on his answering machine before remembering his kendo appointment and rushes over to the kendo club…

…where a dead body lies on the ground. Inspector Ota is already on the scene but hasn’t removed the helmet on the body yet. When he does, it’s not Rick, it’s Koji. Jess explains why she’s there but Inspector thinks this is a clearcut case – they were both in love with the same woman, so Rick killed Koji.

Rick arrives just to cop a barrage of questions from Ota. Ota orders him down to the police station and requests his passport. Jess offers to collect it from his apartment and heads over – interrupting an intruder hard at work on Rick’s computer.

And to cut a long story short, because today has been quite a day and I need to lie quietly in the dark for a while…

Look it wasn’t a shock let’s be honest.

This wasn’t a great episode. It was all about Bill stealing Rick’s dad’s designs.

Let’s just leave it there. Tomorrow is another day. And if you feel like the wind has been knocked out of you, just remember to keep breathing.

Onwards, Fletcherfans. Onwards.

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