Blue Eye Samurai – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

A Fixed Number of Paths

Blue Eye Samurai Episode 3 shows Mizu as an infant with two men debating whether to kill her or not. They get into a fight and one is killed. The other gives the child to a third person and tells them to go. We never see the adults’ faces.

Back in the present, Taigen contemplates whether to kill Mizu or not but ultimately decides not to. Ringo arrives and pushes Taigen away. He picks up Mizu and surprisingly it is Taigen who tells Ringo about a shrine where they’ll be safe. In a tumultuous sleep, Mizu dreams about her childhood where she was locked away in a house. A woman, maybe her mother, told her she couldn’t leave or the bad men would come to take her away.

The white man goes into a rage when he realises the Fangs are all dead. He instructs Heiji Shindo to make sure the Samurai is dead. He doesn’t want his decade-in-the-making plan to go awry.

Ringo stitches Mizu up and gives her medicine. Once she’s up, she finds Taigen writing a contract about their rematch. They settle on duelling in three days. Sometime later, a large, ferocious-looking man arrives with an invitation for Mizu to join Heiji Shindo for tea. She takes it despite Taigen’s protests that it is clearly a trap. Not wanting her to die at another’s hands, he ends up accompanying Mizu and Ringo.

On the road, Seki tries counseling Akemi to turn back. Just then, their palanquin is stopped by a group of brigands. They lose their things and a woman steals Akemi’s pouch of money as well. Walking alone, the pair end up taking a ride with a cart driver.

Mizu and the others come across Mount Sumeru on their way to meet Heiji Shindo. Taigen talks about his childhood in Kohama, and how he was beaten by his father. When they make camp for the night, Taigen makes a comment and it ignites a fight between him and Mizu.

Taigen talks about how he and the other kids used to scare each other with stories about Mizu and the hut at the end of the woods where she lived. Until one day it was gone. We see flashes of fire and Mizu’s painful childhood as she fights Taigen off. She wins but her stitches tear.

The next day they go on their way and Taigen tells Ringo to work for him once he kills Mizu. Ringo claims he wants to be near greatness aka Mizu. The team reaches a crevice in between the mountains and the large man tells Mizu to go inside. She does and Taigen reluctantly follows, still certain that it’s a trap. But at the end of the path, Shindo is indeed waiting for them with tea.

Akemi wakes up to find the cart driver took their money but led them the wrong way. He leaves them, laughing. Akemi breaks down and Seki reveals he has enough money to get them home. Seki reiterates that women have only a few paths they can follow, which is why he brought in the Shogun’s men.

The news shocks Akemi, who feels betrayed. She realises he never believed in her and sets off on her own. Seki then finds her inside the nearby tavern where she’s pretending to be a prostitute. She entices a man named Goro to negotiate a contract for her in Mihonoseki. He lets her ride his horse on the way there. Seki looks worried as they leave.

Tea with Heiji Shindo starts cordially enough. Mizu says she wants to kill the white man he is in league with. Shindo reveals his name is Abijah Fowler. Mizu explains she wants to kill the three white men who were in Japan when she was born. When he corrects her, saying there were four, she reveals she’s already killed one of them.

Nevertheless, Shindo says his work with Fowler is too important. Instead, he offers Mizu money and an appointment as the new lord of the Sendai-han. In return, he’ll need Mizu’s right thumb as assurance she won’t rise against them. He then shows them a box with nine different thumbs. She refuses.

Then comes Shindo’s second offer. He will help sneak Mizu into Fowler’s impenetrable fortress so she can kill Fowler. Turns out, after twenty years together Shindo hates Fowler and wants him dead too. He tells Mizu to get inside a cask of sake which will be taken to the castle.

If he doesn’t, Shindo has 500 archers hidden in the mountains who will attack Mizu. When he tries to force Mizu in, she cuts off his hand. He drops the ribbon he’s holding, inadvertently signalling the archers. All of a sudden, the sky is filled with arrows and Mizu and Taigen rush to safety.

An arrow with a ribbon reaches the Shindo’s man as well and he goes up to Ringo, ready to knock him out. But turns out that Ringo poisoned the soup he made for the man earlier. He begins to vomit and Ringo pushes him off the cliff.

Mizu and Taigen rush through the mountain crevice, each taking a few hits. Just when they think all is lost, Ringo turns up with a horse and they both grab on. Mizu admits that Ringo can be useful.

When they’re far enough away, they finally relax. Taigen and Mizu reluctantly exchange compliments. Taigen hands Mizu the broken sword, saying it’s rightfully hers. Taigen realises Mizu was never going to get into the barrel. But now she knows a way inside the castle. Just as Taigen is lamenting their duel the next day, Mizu knocks him out.

Shindo tells Fowler that the man he met is a demon and will definitely come for him.

Taigen wakes up to find the broken sword left for him. Along with it is a letter where Mizu promises to give him the duel he deserves after she’s finished her mission. Taigen is frustrated and at that moment, somebody grabs him.

In Fowler’s castle, the giant man rolls up a cask from which we hear the sounds of Taigen’s struggles. Fowler wants to know everything about Mizu and Shindo assures him that Taigen can fill in the gaps at the end of Blue Eye Samurai Episode 3.

The Episode Review

Blue Eye Samurai Episode 3 was a gripping ride from start to finish. The animation continues to be brilliant. From Taigen’s unlikely companionship to the tense tea party with Shindo and the final escape from a volley of arrows, the story grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. Mizu’s manipulation of Shindo is commendable and satisfying to watch, as is the unexpected fact that sweet Ringo actually poisoned someone!

Taigen’s character building and the slowly changing dynamic between him and Mizu is interesting but I wonder if they started it too early. With things like bullying and violence, it can be hard to see characters redeemed even if they were children at the time.

It seems like the show might be mirroring the arc of Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender, but that redemption arc was seasons in the making. I’m afraid with Taigen, there isn’t enough foundation for it yet and it might be hard to sympathise with him.

Akemi’s storyline so far has been second to Mizu’s but now that she’s finally on her own, things could turn up a notch. All the same, I’m itching for her to prove to Seki that she’s smarter and more capable than he thinks she is.

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