Kuro no Onna Kyoushi (黒の女教師) begins with Takakura-sensei (Eikura Nana) thinking back to her encounter with the residents of the Nagashima household in the last episode while taking her regular swim . . .

Thinking Back While Swimming 1Thinking Back While Swimming 2

. . . and then to Saeki Eika (Hirose Alice) preparing for her recommendation interview.

Preparing for the Interview 1Preparing for the Interview 2

When she parks her bicycle, she ends up toppling all the others, so she’s either clumsy, nervous, or both.

The Bicycles 1

At least she’s considerate enough to pick them all up, though this makes her late for her interview. Out of nowhere, an old man falls to the ground:

Old Man Needs Help 1

She takes some time to think about it, but ultimately decides that she doesn’t have the time to help him even though he seems to be in a dire condition and directly asked for her help. That’s . . . not so considerate.

Old Man Needs Help 2Old Man Needs Help 3

The next day, the vice principal asks her how the interview went. He tells her that it all depends on behavior, and that she’s a representative for the school. He follows up by telling her “not to make even a single mistake.”

VP Pressure 1VP Pressure 2VP Pressure 3VP Pressure 4

Well, too late for that, isn’t it? Sure, in the real world the fact that she didn’t help the old man might not have any effect on her, dramas are dramas. We wish it did have an impact in the real world, and we get to play out that scenario in our fictions.

So, when she tells him that she understands, does she have a pang of guilt? Does she even recognize her action yesterday as a mistake? Nothing about her behavior gives us a clear sense of this.

Guilt or Nervousness?

Back in the classroom, quiet Umehara (Nakajo Ayami) says that she wants to become a fashion designer, and in a lightning-quick rant voices her frustrations with her parents, who would like her to go to university first.

Umehara 1Umehara 2

Another girl pulls Saeki aside and asks her whether she’s going out with Mochizuki (Chiba Yudai).

About Mochizuki

Please tell me this isn’t going to be a big issue. It’s not really the kind of conflict I was watching this series for. But there’s Takakura – walking by with that prying look on her face.

Takakura's Interested

Saeki’s really having a tough time of it, isn’t she?

Tough Time

After the vice principal says some really dubious things about students . . .

Odd Ideas 1Odd Ideas 2

. . . Takakura throws cold water over the sentiments, actually denigrating the vice principal behind his back.

Cold Water 1Cold Water 2Cold Water 3

After the title sequence, we find out that Saeki was accepted, but she gets only a few seconds to bask in the joy before Aoyagi-sensei (Kimura Fumino) enters, saying that there’s a person outside that Saeki met in the street.

Ups and Downs 1Ups and Downs 2Ups and Downs 3

Saeki’s mind immediately turns to that moment when she left the poor old man behind (ah ha! so she does feel guilty!), and she starts to make an excuse . . .

Ups and Downs 4

. . . but it turns out that the person is actually someone Saeki helped. Even more interestingly, the woman’s a journalist for a magazine who wants to do an article on the topic of people like Saeki. But she doesn’t really know all the sides of Saeki, does she?

Saeki Lauded 1Saeki Lauded 2Saeki Lauded 3

Saeki gets a round of applause, but the dark teachers don’t join in.

Dark Teachers Don't Join In 1Dark Teachers Don't Join In 2

At this point, I have to wonder how the heck they know what happened. They always seem to have more information than they have a right to – the kind of information that would require them to tail all the students despite their “chime-to-chime” policy. Did they make a deal with a demon, or something?

Saeki continues to enjoy the adulation – this time of her fellow students.

Adulation 1

Suddenly the focus turns to Umehara, who did a photo shoot for a magazine using cute clothes of her own design. It turns out that she’s legit.

Adulation 2Adulation 3Adulation 4Adulation 5

But why is Toda Toshio (Matsumura Hokuto) look at her like this?

Toda

Well, at least there’s no question about how he gets his information – he really does tail everyone.

What about the way Saeki is looking? It seems like she enjoyed being at the center, and now resents Umehara getting the attention. Or is there something completely different going through her mind?

Saeki

There’s office chatter about the vice principal. His motives for pushing Saeki might not be purely for her good. You see, he’s trying to become a principal, and they’ll want to know how many students he got into university. He’s hoping that he can use Saeki as an example of his success.

Office ChatterOffice Chatter 2

The conflict is starting to shape up as Saeki does her own photo shoot for that journalist. Will that old man recognize her from the article and, incensed by the portrayal of her as a do-gooder, seek to correct the record? Or will it all culminate in some other way?

The PhotoshootThe Photoshoot 2

Whatever happens, it’s pretty clear that the vice principal is going to face some disappointment.

At the dark teacher’s regular dinner, it’s confession time. Is this a sign of what they think Saeki should have done?

Dinner 1Dinner 2Dinner 3Dinner 4

Back in class, Uchida-sensei (Ichikawa Mikako) brings the message to the students but only Saeki hears it:

Uchida LecturesSaeki Reacts

The thing is, Saeki already feels guilty, and if faced with what she did wrong, would she really deny it? The vice principal, though . . .

The Vice Principal

Well, I think you’ve got the idea. With half an hour left in the episode beyond what I’ve described, though, there’s plenty of room for things to get much, much worse for Saeki before the dark teachers step in.

What about the dark student, Toda? Well, he seems to favor Saeki, leading to a menacing look from Mochizuki.

Toda and Saeki 1Toda and Saeki 2Mochizuki 1Mochizuki 2

There’s quite a lot going on in this episode, and they even throw an Umehara curveball into it:

Umehara Curveball 1Umehara Curveball 2

Suspend her? Why? This vice principal’s really getting out of hand. Recalling that Umehara could have gone to university but was choosing not to in order to pursue fashion, is this the Vice Principal’s way of exacting revenge, since he doesn’t have her to boast about, as well? Or is there something else?

With so many threads in play, we didn’t really get development Takakura’s own problems, so the writers kicked that can down the road again.

That’s more than made up for with the tension in this episode. Finally, they offered up a plot that was not generic or straightforward. Sure, a variation of it has been done before, but not with the frequency of some of the other conflicts. And, as in the previous episode, the writers managed to throw in some clever twists. The Vice Principal proved to be a devious fellow.

There’s also a tiny addition to the Takakura-Toda plot, though I don’t know what to make of it.

It was a quick episode without any obvious missteps. I think the real fun is in the episodes to come, though.