At the end of episode 8, Shimura (Fujigaya Taisuke) learned what viewers already knew – that his father had not been responsible for the shooting that destroyed his career as a police officer. After years of having a low opinion of his father, Shimura is now full of doubts and questions – especially about who was really to blame.

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Hiro (Gouriki Ayame) learned something completely different. Chiaki (Okamoto Azusa) told her that Shimura had turned her down, saying that he had someone else he liked. Of course, that someone else is Hiro.

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Training continues, but when Ryuzaki (Ishida Hikari) tries to call them all in, Shimura continues to run. Apparently, he’s burning off some steam, and instructor Sakuraba (Sugimoto Tetta) lets him, understanding the source of the frustration.

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When Shimura finally collapses, Hiro is the one who rushes to his side.

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Shimura isn’t the only one collapsing. Sugiyama (Koyanagi Yu) gets a call from his mother telling him that his father is in the hospital, and the family shop might have to close.

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Sugiyama goes to visit his father in the hospital, but the old strains between them are still there. Sugiyama’s choice not to follow in his father’s footsteps is all the more significant now.

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Back at home, Sugiyama’s uncle has a talk with him, trying to convince him to take over the family business.

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Hiro tries, somewhat successfully, to get Shimura to open up about his problems.

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Then, the two guys with father issues briefly bump into each other, both brooding late at night.

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Classroom activities are looking a lot more interesting, but Shimura and Sugiyama aren’t participating properly:

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After that, Sugiyama decides to consult with Shimura in a nighttime stroll on the roof top. Hiro is there, as usual, and hides behind a pillar when they approach.

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Sugiyama tells Shimura that he might be quitting soon, but he was just expecting a sympathetic ear. Instead, Shimura pushes back, getting angry with him for thinking about quitting. That forces Sugiyama to explain the situation with his father.

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The explanation doesn’t really satisfy Shimura, but Sugiyama decides to resign anyway, handing the letter to Ryuzaki the next day.

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Contrary to her initial way of handling the S class, she seems entirely unhappy about the idea of him quitting.

Ryuzaki

Sugiyama then makes his announcement to the class, with Shimura walking out to avoid hearing it.

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It hits the class hard, and everything grinds to a standstill.

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Is Sugiyama’s planned departure going to be the focus of this episode? Are they going to try to make him reconsider? Hiro certainly wants Shimura to try, but Shimura isn’t so interested. After all, he knows that Sugiyama doesn’t want to leave, and that any attempt to convince him will only make things harder for him.

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That consideration doesn’t stop Yamane (Emoto Tokio), who explains how he feels to Sugiyama, saying that he had hoped to be Sugiyama’s partner.

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Through the first half, Sugiyama’s departure is the story, and it’s dead boring. Over the series, he’s never been our primary concern, so it doesn’t have much of an impact.

Beyond the halfway point, Shimura is called into the academy chief’s office. About what happens there . . . well, that’s where things get interesting. What could the vicious academy chief (Kaga Takeshi) have planned for Shimura?

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Unfortunately, that’s not the main question for this episode. Instead, the question for this episode is: will Sugiyama return to the academy?

That’s not a question I was interested in at this point in the series. If this had been an earlier episode, no problem. This late in the game, with more significant plots heating up, it was totally out-of-place. S class should have faced more intimidating challenges.

It’s really remarkable how little the series does with its premise. Think about it: most of the storylines so far haven’t made real use of the fact that they’re trying to become police officers. They could be at any academy training to become anything, and conflicts like the one Sugiyama faced in this episode would still have worked. Episode 8 was the only one in which the fact that they were training to be police really mattered to the events, and I’m disappointed that they didn’t continue along that line.

Worse, it looks like the next episode will follow the same pattern. For reasons I don’t understand, Shimura doesn’t seem interested in investigating what really happened with his father and bringing those truly responsible to justice. That is plain unacceptable. He’s devolved from a spirited anti-authoritarian into a morose fatalist, and that’s not supposed to happen to the main protagonist of a series.