Things were finally looking up for Nishikido Ryo-kun in episode six of Papadol! (パパドル!), as the tension with his agency was reduced and his struggle to gain acceptance from his new wife’s three kids was finally complete, with Mei (Kawashima Umika) apparently caving in.

Happy Family

In fact, it looked like he had no more barriers in his way (unless that paparazzi guy found out what was going on and leaked it – which I’m sure will eventually get an episode or two). Then this fellow walked in:

The Rival

As we found out at the end of the previous episode, that’s Haruka’s (Yuka) former husband and the biological father to the three children. Now this, I wasn’t expecting. I suppose I should have thought of it (I’m a writer – I should be able to come up with plots like this), but the possibility slipped my mind.

Shocked Family

Of course, it also didn’t occur to any of the characters, either. Really, Haruka’s got some explaining to do, doesn’t she? She hasn’t really been put on the defensive so far – are we going to get to see the burden placed on her, for once, or will it still be up to Nishikido-kun?

Nishikido Stunned

Well, Haruka’s former husband (hereafter known as “the rival”) clearly doesn’t appreciate that things might have changed while he was away:

Big Hug

And Nishikido-kun looks appropriately offended, so maybe there’s some hope:

Nishikido Angry

But then there is an unexpected complication – the rival suddenly faints on the spot! Evidently, it isn’t anything serious, and he’s still sleeping in when everybody’s up and about in the morning. Mei tries to rush Nishikido-kun out of the house before he wakes up. Why is Mei trying to keep Nishikido-kun out of her father’s sight? Is it just because they’re trying to keep his secret from leaking out?

Go Quickly

They don’t have much success there, though:

The Rival AwakesUnder the Table

It’s up to Kana (Tani Kanon) to innocently drop the bomb that Haruka has remarried.

Kana Spills the Beans

Events quickly conspire to push Nishikido-kun out from under the table, just in time for the rival to see the same face on the TV and put two-and-two together.

Nishikido RevealedLook 1Look 2Realization

This is how Nishikido-kun gets into trouble, even though it looked like this should be an episode with Haruka on the defensive. You see, the rival needs a place to stay for the week and can’t afford Tokyo hotels. Haruka’s against it, but then he threatens to reveal that there’s a famous idol around these parts and Nishikido-kun caves in immediately (really, too quickly), striking the deal over Haruka’s objections.

It's a Deal

Now that’s a pretty serious problem. After all, it’s her house, isn’t it? Even if we say they share ownership, he should definitely consult with her before making the decision. As it is, he’s now in serious hot water.

Haruka Unhappy

Worse, why do we get the feeling that Haruka knows something about the rival’s character that Nishikido-kun doesn’t yet appreciate. After all, the fellow’s already decided to go to blackmail on day one, what sleazy and immoral stuff will he be up to by day seven?

All Sorts of Worried Looks

Well, that’s the first seven minutes for you, and I think the key conflict is pretty well laid-out. The wild-card is Mei, who remembers her father best, and only just started to warm up to Nishikido-kun. She seems oddly nice to Nishikido as he leaves the house – surprising even him. What’s up with that?

Mei Being Nice

A lot of what Nishikido-kun has been building over the past few episodes feels like it’s coming apart. By night-time on day one, he’s already not a happy camper:

Nishikido's Feeling a Bit Jealous

Really, not happy at all:

Nishikido Pissed

On the bright side, the tension seems to be working wonders for Nishikido-kun’s career. Something about the way the rival made his blood boil, I think.

Liking the Fire in Nishikido's Eyes

How will it turn out? Well, even though Nishikido-kun spent most of the time miserable, I really liked this episode. I think it was the fact that Nishikido-kun had a definite bad guy to deal with, and the conflicts revolving around that bad guy were all very complicated. The kids were simultaneously wary of him and drawn to him. More importantly, he is deliberately trying to rebuild his relationships with them while undermining Nishikido’s. He also has some nasty tendencies besides that. Really nasty. I mean, when I say “bad guy,” you will be totally convinced of the fact about halfway into the episode.

It was probably a tough episode to write, and also demanded a lot from the actors, so it was a solid challenge all around. I hope they keep it up, and the preview for the next episode looks good.