Trouble In Paradise
Episode 5 of Alice In Borderland begins with Arisu doing his best to try and work out where The Beach is. Usagi and Arisu are going in circles and realize their visas will run out soon (in three days to be precise) unless they get a move on.
The next day, Usagi teaches Arisu some important survival techniques. As night rolls in, Usagi and Arisu realize that some of the boys wearing a locker key are from the same team. Watching from afar, they watch as three boys get into a car and drive off. They decide to chase on foot, which leads them to a hotel with “Beach” written on the side; their destination.
Unfortunately the duo are blindsided and knocked out, brought before an eccentric man called Hatter who seems to have the answers they seek. After a flamboyant greeting, dressed in a large robe and clearly not of sane mind, Hatter opens a sliding door in front of them.
A large wall holds a series of playing cards with each one marked off with a large cross. It turns out the only way to clear the game and return to the real world is by gathering all the playing cards. Given it’s impossible for one person to do it alone, Hatter encourages them to collect the cards with him.
This self-proclaimed ruler believes they’re in some sort of country (especially given the visas) and theorizes that if they continue to collect al the cards then one by one they’ll all manage to get out – with Hatter going first of course.
This hotel complex is a very different atmosphere to the one Usagi and Arisu are used to, as a large swarm of people party through to the night. As the sun sets, Hatter briefs the kids below who follow his every word, acting as an army for this guy.
Games are completed simultaneously by this self-made army, who work together to complete different tests and gain playing cards quickly. Arisu is taken aside with Kuina and An for a new test to see who’s good enough to become an executive at the Beach.
The game is deadly, featuring rising water and electrical currents. Thanks to Arisu’s quick thinking and scientific knowledge, he manages to survive his game. Usagi survives hers too, heading back with the others to the party.
As Kuina talks to the pair about dating, they’re both interrupted by the militants of the Beach arriving. Kept in check by leader Aguni, these men immediately throw their weight around, demanding Usagi go with him. However, Hatter shows up and manages to convince Aguni to lay off them for now.
There’s clearly trouble brewing in paradise though, as Arisu is brought before the higher-ups in an executive meeting. This, of course, coming off the back of his impressive win in the games.
He listens as they discuss the various playing cards and aside from the face cards, the only one left is the 10 of hearts. Hatter’s visa is going to expire soon too and as everyone in the room learns this, each of the different members of Agui’s militant force exchange knowing glances to one another.
Hatter is clearly unstable and as he talks to Arisu, he discusses the new Beach and how his old comrades “abandoned” him. He sees himself as the one and only hero and tells Arisu that heroes need tragedies to move forward.
The Episode Review
With a militant force keeping everyone in check, Arisu and Usagi find themselves in a very different situation to what they’ve faced thus far. Having to work for other people does bring up an interesting dilemma but doesn’t fully explain how the cards can be used or even whether the plan will work.
It’s very obvious that there’s going to be a major coup in the future and I’d imagine we’ll see a lot of Aguni and his cronies trying to usurp the current King of the Beach – possibly in a violent and bloody way.
For now though, Alice In Borderland bows out with another decent episode that leaves the door wide open for the remainder of the season.