In the last episode of Miss Pilot, Oda Chisato (Aibu Saki) failed the instrument flight test, and the sheer surprise of that result made it the best ending of any episode of the drama so far. After all, everything has always ended great for the trainees by the conclusion of each episode until now – there have been no cliffhangers.

Kunikida (Saito Takumi) was the one to give Chisato the bad news . . .

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. . . and it was Kunikida who also had to explain what happened to Tezuka (Horikita Maki), Chisato’s buddy in the training program.

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Faced with oncoming traffic (and when we say oncoming in mid-air, we’re talking about miles away), Chisato froze. She totally went catatonic for some reason. It could be a form of catatonic schizophrenia, though I don’t know if that condition can have such a specific trigger. More likely, we’re going to find out there’s some trauma involved, but I’m not sure. In any case, it was her instructor who had to make the landing for her, so it was an obvious automatic fail.

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Tezuka is reminded that Chisato had showed a similar reaction to oncoming traffic while in the passenger seat, but it wasn’t as noticeable because she wasn’t flying.

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The dinner that night is obviously awkward, so Chisato decides to skip it and go to her room. The others reflect that they didn’t know how to react because Chisato didn’t act disappointed – at least if she had seemed upset, they could have consoled her, but as usual she was reluctant to show how she felt.

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This all comes as quite a blow to the pilot program, since Chisato was clearly the most promising candidate . . .

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. . . but why does it seem like Shinozaki (Iwaki Koichi), who is contemplating retirement, is especially concerned about Chisato?

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Tezuka tries to pep Chisato up, but it doesn’t work. We do get some backstory on Chisato, though, finding out that her father was a pilot, and he separated from her mother. So . . . is Shinozaki her father?

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The long and short of it is that Chisato has to do some soul-searching about where she goes from here, and Tezuka has cope with this unexpected change of fortune as well.

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Tezuka wants to throw Chisato a farewell party before Chisato heads back to Japan, but that’s not really Chisato’s style.

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So Chisato basically sneaks out with Kunikida’s help. As he drives her to the airport, he confesses to having had some suspicion about her condition for a while, but had been unwilling to bring it up.

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On that note, Chisato flies back to Japan and Kunikida gives the rest of the trainees  the bad news that their plan to see her off with a party has fallen through.

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Oh, and he also presents Tezuka with Chisato’s notebook – full of vital piloting information which might help Tezuka get through and become a pilot.

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At the back of the notebook, Tezuka finds a letter from Chisato to all of the trainees as well as Kunikida . . .

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. . . and reads it to them.

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Chisato had specific notes for each of the members, and it almost felt like a final episode/graduation thing. Very sentimental and gushy.

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The experience doesn’t seem to help Tezuka deal with Chisato’s departure.

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Back in Japan, Suzu (Sakuraba Nanami) and Rinko (Nanao) wait for Chisato’s arrival and . . . she doesn’t emerge from the flight she was supposed to be on.

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Shinozaki is clearly distressed, so yeah, he’s definitely her father.

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He immediately calls the trainee camp to coordinate their efforts to track Chisato down.

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Everyone is necessarily concerned that depression might lead Chisato to do something drastic. With her confidence, she doesn’t seem the type, but you never know. And already, making everyone worried by not being on the expected flight isn’t the most calm and rational thing she might have done.

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After a bit of unnecessary theatrics . . .

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. . . and more theatrics . . .

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. . . we can ask the questions of the episode: where did Chisato go? What’s going to happen to her?

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That leaves a lot of the episode as a spoiler, though. This is the first time for this drama I’ve had to keep so much of an episode out of the summary, because most of the other episodes were very straightforward until episode 6, and the surprises in that episode came relatively late.

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So there was a good sense of suspense to the episode. Unfortunately, the dramatics were off the scale and were dragged out tediously. That was to be expected, though. With the writers dealing such a blow to a main character, there had to be an appropriate amount of pathos in response to it.

I’m not good with this sort of episode, though – especially because not much came out of it – and I hope we’ll see something more substantial next time. This episode marked the end of the trainees’ pilot licensing in America, and they’re headed back to Japan – presumably to start coming to grips with airliners. Once there, of course, there will likely be more Tezuka-Chisato drama, possibly with a Chisato-Shinozaki subplot, too. And also some of the romantic subplots.

But you know, all I want is for them to show us more planes.