We discover at the beginning of this episode of Ando Lloyd (安堂ロイド~A.I. knows LOVE?~) that the recent demise of Sapuri (*sniff*) means that Lloyd (Kimura Takuya) can no longer replace his parts and has to take greater care. Seems like another step to him being human, now that he’s also acquired emotions (not that he’s particularly good about showing them at the moment).

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Shinzo (Kiritani Kenta) becomes Isaku (Endo Kenichi)’s partner. Well, he can’t possibly be worse than the last guy, though Isaku warns him that he’s probably going to die.

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Shinzo’s motives seem to me unclear. Is he really doing all this just to protect Asahi (Shibasaki Kou)?

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Asahi’s mother calls to say that she’s basically on her deathbed and wants to see Asahi in a wedding dress before that, but since she doesn’t seem ill at all, it looks like she’s just tricking Asahi in order to push the marriage forward.

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How Asahi could hear her mother and not be able to tell what’s really going on is beyond me, but maybe the fact that we actually get to see that her mother’s in good health colors the viewer’s impression.

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Anyway, Asahi contemplates getting Lloyd into a wedding photo (at least she doesn’t suddenly jump to thinking about marrying him!).

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After they both get suited up and Asahi’s mother reveals her deception . . .

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. . . they discover an even bigger surprise – that Asahi’s mother has a young boyfriend named Mamoru who she intends to marry. Lloyd doesn’t seem to like him, but when has Lloyd ever looked friendly to anyone?

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Suddenly unhappy about having to play Reiji, Lloyd departs in a huff – especially after Asahi’s mother talks about Lloyd/Reiji and Asahi getting married.

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He is clearly angry . . .

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. . . and when Asahi gets home, he’s not there. She takes comfort that she can use electricity at will, but she’s also creeped out that he’s not there. She’s always taken him for granted, assuming that he’d save her, but she seems to have abandoned his post.

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Perhaps feeling lonely, Asahi calls Nanase (Oshima Yuko) to invite her over, pointing out that Lloyd isn’t here. Nanase quickly concludes that Lloyd is jealous of Reiji, which is an interesting thing to say, since it would assume that Lloyd likes Asahi or that he feels his own identity is threatened when he’s shown no indication of either sentiment.

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But it seems like it’s Nanase who was jealous of Reiji, and that she was just projecting on Reiji.

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But was she really jealous of Reiji, or is the Mysterious Beauty (Kiritani Mirei) just messing with her head, manipulating her into certain courses of action?

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On the prowl, Lloyd encounters an android who says he just wants to go back to 2113, had a wife in the future, and doesn’t want to assassinate anyone. But do these other androids have free will – can they really go against orders?

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Lloyd lets the android go and gets a warning from his own bosses, who warn him not to disobey orders again. With that control over him, what makes him think that the other android won’t immediately turn around and kill Asahi, just to follow orders?

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Continuing to miss Lloyd, Asahi still goes to work. Shinzo reveals that he knows about Lloyd and tries to convince Asahi that the android is up to no good – perhaps trying to steal Reiji’s research.

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Asahi says she still believes that Lloyd will protect her. Well, she’d better – it’s not like she’s got any other options.

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When Shinzo continues to insist on his point-of-view, Asahi storms out.

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There’s a somewhat useless scene between Isaku and Sakiko (Yamaguchi Sayaka). I’m not sure why the writers are trying to pump-up this father-daughter relationship, but it seems like a total side issue.

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The writers make up for that by showing us the bad guys/robocops, who call for reinforcements but don’t get any because Reiji had created some sort of barrier.

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Lloyd seems to have better success on the reinforcements, though (at least, that’s what it sounds like). Will he be able to recover in time to save Asahi . . .

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. . . who suddenly gets it into her head to wander the streets at night looking for him, as if daring to let her die when, inevitably, the enemy androids attack?

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Or will he be held up by his favorite detective?

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I think everything past this point has to be kept out of the summary as serious spoilers.

This episode was almost the opposite of the normal Ando Lloyd episode – most of the episode was very compelling and seemed to move things forward, and it was the battle at the end that was a complete let-down. I still don’t get what happened in the ending – the bad guys seemed to totally make it easy for Lloyd as if they had orders not to hurt him (which we know they don’t).

Beyond the ending, though, this episode featured steady plot development, minimal exposition, and decent pacing. Might this drama finally have gained some traction after its weak start?