The Botanical Garden Massacre
In the uneasy tranquility of the apartment complex, episode 3 of Alice In Borderland begins with Arisu morally conflicted after killing the tagger. Usagi gives him some words of encouragement though before leaving the scene.
Meanwhile, Saori Shibuki realizes she’s been in this game for 5 days now and with her visa looking set to expire, she needs to make a move – and quickly. She bemoans her newfound life and reflects on how she had to sleep with her superiors just to get a promotion.
However, her thoughts are interrupted by the return of Arisu and Karube who talk to the others about the radio broadcast and the ominous message about returning to the beach.
With a new game coming up that evening, the team agree to work together and do their best to come out on top. Arisu deliberates over Usagi’s words from earlier as they agree this, especially when she mentions doing anything to survive.
Karube heads back to the bar and finds a ring box stashed away behind some bottles of alcohol on the shelf above. He’s been saving this for his girlfriend and as he grabs it, the night draws in and a new game awaits. With Chota in a bad way, the group agree to stick together for what may lay ahead.
That’s easier said than done though as the kids make it to the botanical garden for their new task. Two white tables sit with numerous tools which are free for them to use.
After choosing what to use, the other table happens to sport googles that look like they’re part of a VR game. Eerily uplifting big band music picks up as the kids are registered and the game looks set to start when they place the goggles on.
It’s pretty impressive tech but they soon learn that the game they have to take part in (7 of hearts) is a deadly game of hide and seek where one of them is the wolf and the others the sheep. Whoever is the wolf at the end wins. The other 3 lambs however, will find their collar explode and subsequently die.
Realizing that only one will survive, Chota is the first Wolf and they’ve got 15 minutes left to figure this out. Staring directly at another player transforms the wolf power over, which Shibuki is first to realize and takes off to hide as she’s made the wolf.
Karube follows after her, which eventually ends with the duo fighting. Karube becomes the wolf but as things become more intense, Arisu winds up gaining the power and trying his best to get the collar off.
As time ticks away, flashbacks to Arisu’s past show his unwavering friendship to both Chota and Karube. Arisu decides to drop out of the game and not fight for survival, pleading with the others to take the power away from him.
He gives an impassioned plea to his friends but they’re all too busy hiding. With the final seconds remaining, Arisu finds Karube but he’s out of time. The collar explodes and he suddenly drops dead in front of Arisu’s face. Although we don’t directly see it, blood spattered on the ground hints that both Chota and Shibuki have met a grisly end too.
The Episode Review
Whoa, what a shocking ending! Seeing Arisu’s friends all die at the end was certainly surprising and I genuinely thought that the rules of this game would be reversed. I thought the game master may have lied and caused the wolf to die and the sheep to survive, with Shibuki becoming the wolf at the end and dying.
With Chota and Karube both dead, this certainly ups the ante for the remaining episodes. However, it also feels a little disappointing that we didn’t get to see a bit more from both of these characters.
Still, in terms of sci-fi and shocking revelations, Alice In Borderland has been an enthralling watch so far and quite what will happen next remains to be seen.