Piece tells the story of Suga Mizuho (Honda Tsubasa) and Narumi Hikaru (Nakayama Yuma). They were a couple in high school, and meet again three years later upon the death of a classmate. It’s billed as a mystery, and I sure hope we find out what the mystery is soon.

This episode begins in the present day, at the funeral of Haruka. We continue with the conversation between Mizuho and Haruka’s mother, where Mizuho corrects the impression that she was Haruka’s friend.

Awkwardly, Haruka’s mother mentions New Year cards that were supposedly sent by Mizuho, and Mizuho has to point out that she didn’t send any, and that Haruka herself was probably responsible for them.

Narumi strolls in after Mrs. Origuchi leaves, and points out that maybe a white lie would have kinder.

After the credits roll, Narumi and Mizuho continue their talk outside, with Narumi wondering why Haruka picked Mizuho as her pretend friend.

Thinking about it, Mizuho remembers that handkerchief she lent to Haruka. So . . . that really was the only thing? That is so sad.

Narumi’s response is a bit haughty, and Mizuho takes to opportunity to criticize him for it. Looks like she isn’t as pliant as she was in high school.

Speaking of high school, it’s time for a flashback. I’m going to be so happy when they just get on with the present-day story instead of turning back the clock in every episode (assuming that we’re not going to get a flashback in every episode, which would be terribly irritating).

Once again, one of Narumi’s girls (can’t really call them girlfriends because he certainly doesn’t) is asking to come over to his place, and he turns her down with the excuse that the house is still being remodeled. Do we count this as good news for Mizuho because it means she’s in a slightly privileged position with Narumi? Is it even a good thing for her to be close to him?

While she’s getting cozy with him, his phone vibrates with a call from another girl. Really, what does Mizuho think, knowing that he plays around with so many other girls? That it’s different with her, or that he’s just putting on a more sophisticated act?

Well, since she decides to get up from the bed, I suppose that she’s at least a bit skeptical about him. Roaming around, she notices that there’s a combination lock on a door. That’s . . . sort of troubling.

She asks the housekeeper, Nanao, about it. Turns out that it’s Narumi’s mother’s room, filled with sensitive documents. With Nanao so forthcoming, Mizuho decides to also ask about Narumi himself. Nanao’s response catches her off-guard, and leaves her in a soul-searching mood.

She actually decides to read books on clinical psychology written by Narumi’s mother, but you have to get the feeling that this is the wrong approach, since Narumi hardly seems to have any contact with his mother at all, and probably subconsciously resents her work as the cause of her absence.

Mizuho realizes the futility of it only after reading the book and finding no answers in it.

After a lunchtime scene between Mizuho and her friends . . .

. . . we transition to a bit about Yanai (Matsumura Hokuto) and a girl too infatuated with him to approach him.

Nothing much comes out of that, though, and it’s back to Narumi’s bedroom, where things are not all right between the two principals.

It seems like she wants to break up with him, or at least make this the last bedroom scene. Time moves forward a month, and Narumi still looks bummed out about it. Rather than cheering him up, Nanao decides to point out the similarities between him and Mizuho.

On the other front, Megu-chi finds Mizuho also less than stellar.

Mizuho decides to seek some intimate advice from her friend.

Then we get something really annoying – a flashback within a flashback. This one takes us back to Mizuho’s early childhood, where she recalls that she was always taught to be cautious and, as it were, clean.

Going back to her high school self, we see her step into a muddy puddle in defiance of that early conditioning – a sign that she’s willing to stop playing things safe.

And then it’s muddy all the way.

Why do I get the feeling that she’s going to regret this?

Well, a few minutes remain in the episode after Mizuho enters the Narumi household, and I’ll leave the result of her decision to reenter his world for your viewing pleasure. It’s certainly not what I expected would happen, though I suppose with them making a big deal about that locked door, I should have known.

The ending made up for an otherwise slow episode. I was ready to write this one-off as lackluster, but it turned out well thanks to those final minutes, which potentially set up quite a lot.

With the acting still holding up well, the only thing I’m frustrated by is the fact that I don’t know what the series is about. At least in Sprout I knew that the point was whether Miku and Souhei would get together – simple enough. There doesn’t seem to be any plot arc at all in this so far. The only relevant relationship has already apparently run its course in the “now” of the series, and it hardly looks like Mizuho and Narumi are supposed to get back together. So . . . what is this about? Maybe that’s the mystery.

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