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‘Shogun’ Episode 7 Review - Blood and Betrayal

In the seventh episode, A Stick of Time, Toranaga, outplayed by new alliances in Osaka, is compelled to strike a new arrangement with a long-lost family member.

Vikas Yadav - Tue, 02 Apr 2024 09:26:45 +0100 1049 Views
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There is a scene in the seventh episode of Shogun where Toranaga's brother, Lord Saeki (Eita Okuno), asks Yoshii, "What do you prefer? Stories, legends, or the truth?" Truth can be transformed into a story or a legend by the narrator. Episode 7 opens with the story of Mizoguchi's decapitation. Saeki converts this incident into a legend by saying Toranaga "struck his enemy's head from his shoulders with a single blow." The truth, however, reveals to us that Toranaga took nine attempts to cut off Mizoguchi's head. He made a mess.

What this means is that Episode 7 is all about creating false perception. Characters believe in one thing and then realize they were wrong in their judgment. Toranaga invites Saeki for help. Saeki, though, ends up backstabbing his brother. He has taken Toranaga's position in the council and wants Toranaga to surrender. Toranaga underestimates Gin's (Yuko Miyamoto) intelligence. He merely sees her as a brothel owner. But during their private meeting for one stick of time, Gin suggests that Toranaga knew that Saeki could stir up trouble. She, through her interpretation of the ongoing situation, presents herself as a percipient woman.

It's not just Gin, however, who thinks Toranaga has a plan. The viewer, the other characters, everybody expects this lord to turn the tables. He might end up doing so in the future, but Episode 7 is about misjudging a person or an event. The fabrication of the stories and the legends is peeled back so that the truth can come to the surface. Be prepared to be disappointed. When Toranaga decides to surrender himself, Blackthorne grumbles, "Behold the great warlord. The brilliant master of trickery, who tricked his own loyal vassals into a noiseless smothering." The emperor becomes naked.

The one thing that remains unambiguous is Buntaro's hatred towards the Anjin. When Yabushige teaches, and teases Blackthorne through a sword session, Buntaro comes in between and places his blade on Blackthorne's neck. No, we do not see another decapitation. Buntaro, instead, asks Toranaga's permission to behead the barbarian. Toranaga puts forward a condition: After cutting off Blackthorne's head, Buntaro would have to decollate Mariko with the same blade. Whatever expectations Buntaro brought with him are instantly shattered.

This episode also toys with our expectations. Take the final sequence. Yoshii attacks Saeki in the teahouse, and just when the former is about to emerge victorious, something happens. I won't spoil anything here because this moment is too unexpected. It rains in Episode 7, and its sound has a strange effect on your senses. I couldn't understand the reason behind this sensation, but the final shot made things clear. The water is just another element that washes away your expected notions.

Final Score - [9.5/10]



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