Episode 2 of Tokyo Vice starts with a man holding a knife running after Jake. This is his new assignment: look for the panty thief of Kabukicho.
Samantha from the club looks to buy a new property. Her search hits speed bumps not before being called by Polina to help service a client. Jake struggles with getting leads for the panty thief. Muroyama-san sets a deadline for him to turn in the article. She hints to use Jake’s source in the police, Miyamoto-san.
The Ishida clan discusses Tomazawa’s push into their area. They decide not to retaliate but to increase the protection money and prepare for a possible war with them. After several rewrites and with Miyamoto’s input, Jake finally turns in a piece that will run in the morning edition.
Detective Hiroto, from the organized crime division, investigates the stabbing of Mr. Aoki. A low-end thug from Tomazawa’s gang surrenders himself to close the matter. Despite his peers’ laxity, Hiroto continues his investigation, like Jake.
He visits Aoki’s widow and voila: the same story. They borrowed money, missed a payment, the interest sky-rocketed and they weren’t able to pay. Jake arrives at the same time as Hiroto is at the house but is rebuffed by the widow. Both men face similar fates at work also. Jake is misguided by Miyamoto about the thief, who is caught a couple of days later. He is then relegated to scrapbooking by Baku. Hiroto takes his findings and suspicions to his boss but is dismissed.
Jake receives a package from home, which he hasn’t visited for three years. He demands a story from Miyamoto, who explains to him that all, their dealings are transactional in nature. Pay up, or go home empty-handed. Samantha struggles with threats from Duke about cancelling her visa and getting her deported. While at work, Jake visits her. Sato, the Ishida clan collector, also walks in at the same time. The three share a table and bond over American fashion brands.
Jake misses the train and has to sleep at his friend’s house. He falls asleep, listening to the tapes from his sister, Jessica, only to be lulled from his sleep by a news flash of a crime syndicate violence act in the vicinity.
Jake reaches the scene and sees Nakamura, a Tozawa thug, threatening Duke with a gun. Just as he is about to kill him, Hiroto walks in. He says something to Nakamura, who respectfully hands over the gun to him. Jake tries to click a picture but the sound of the camera ensures he is caught. Hiroto takes away the camera’s reel and warns him not to write about it. Jake notices Hiroto’s car, the same one that was outside Aiko’s when he visited.
The Episode Review
An interesting episode, to say the least. ‘Tokyo Vice’ is gradually developing a brooding tone that blends perfectly with its visual arrangement. Along with the main storyline, emphasis is also on a keenly observant eye of Japan’s lifestyle and emerging penetration of foreign capitalism. The main themes that have started to take shape are mostly character-specific, although the presence of commonalities is undeniable.
This episode had a more contemplative mood. It focused more on laying down the groundwork for the investigation into Aoki and the burning man’s deaths and also bringing together Hiroto and Jake.
The seeds for what we saw in the first scene of the first episode are sown here. Samantha’s importance in the setup has also started to show, and it must be said, Rachel Keller is intense in her portrayal. Strong female characters are seldom represented without prejudice to traditional sensibilities but the showrunners do a good job of keeping that in check.
The triangle between Sato, Jake, and Samantha is even more fascinating. It seems to be the center of attention as the various plotlines converge in the later episodes. There were also suggestions of a lighter tone in certain dynamics, especially the one between Jake and Miyamoto. It definitely makes the journey a bit more rewarding.
Overall, another solid episode puts ‘Tokyo Vice’ in prime drive to take it to the next level.