The flashback we have all been waiting for is finally here, albeit briefly, as we begin episode 5 of Tokyo Vice. Samantha arrives in Kitakyushu in 1994 as a missionary. She furthers her organization, ‘Choose the Right’s mission to spread the Lord’s grace in the guise of giving free English lessons.
In the present, she explains to Polina her situation. Matsu and his men are after her because she stole close to forty million yen from the local mission fund. She now fears extradition and wants to put this problem behind her.
Jake has an emotional conversation with his mother. She requests him to come home and make amends with his father and look after his sister. Jake doesn’t want to. After a friendly bout with Miyamoto, they have an interesting conversation about Hiroto. A seed of doubt is sown in Jake: Hiroto is not trustworthy. His methods are sometimes too much of a stranger to rules. As promised, Jake receives the information on the traitor from Hiroto. He is unsure about his motivations but goes through with the task. Hiroto warns Jake against taking the return favor from Ishida.
Ishida, just like Hiroto said, offers Jake a favor. Instead of taking something that could come back to him, Jake asks Ishdia about the loan-shark company. He asks Jake to look for the place that didn’t give the people the loan before they turned to this company. The company – Suzuno Financial – is owned by Sugita, the same person who was seen with Tozawa in the second episode and the last episode when Sato and Jake were having dinner. Jake meets with Sugito. He tells him that he is going to write the story regardless of whether Sugito helps him.
He agrees in principle but is then seen running to Tozawa for further orders. Meanwhile, the traitor turns out to be Kume. On Ishida’s demand for answers, Kume ridicules his “path of righteousness” and bemoans the lack of innovation in Chihara-kai’s business. He feels Tozawa’s insistence to compromise with the moral right puts his organization in a better position to take Chihara-kai’s place as well. Ishida asks Sato to kill Kume but he spares him the ordeal by committing suicide and jumping off the terrace.
Hiroto requests Ishida to maintain peace. He advises him against going after Tozawa and Ishida sees his reason. He agrees to a truce. Jake and Tin Tin visit Sugita’s home. They find he committed suicide as Tozawa said and takes all the blame. Hiroto then relays the information of the truce to Tozawa’s men. He feels Ishida is vulnerable and there for the taking. Baku, Emi and Jake’s boss, refuses to run the story that implicates Tozawa without proof.
Hiroto advises Jake that not knowing is peaceful. He mustn’t concern himself with too much of the burden of the world. He asks him to go out and have a fun night. He visits the club and asks Samantha for company. Sato is also sitting at the bar. He asks Samantha for money but they connect and leave together. Polina consoles Jake and asks her to look for someone else than Samantha, who is deep in her own troubles.
In the final moments of the episode, Samantha is seen visiting Matsu’s house. She gives her money but Matsu refuses. He instead asks her for “what she will not sell”. Samantha is disgusted but realizes she does not have any choice. Sato, meanwhile, returns back to the headquarters. He notices the bodies of men and rushes inside. Ishida is seen fighting Tozawa’s men alone and Sato helps him out. The two collectively take down the remaining men and tremble in anticipation of what’s to come next.
The Episode Review
The longest episode in the season lives up to its billing. It serves as the perfect springboard for ‘Tokyo Vice’ to satisfy the audiences with an action-packed saga of episodes. ‘Everybody Pays’ had it all. From action sequences to Japanese altruism and major plot reveals. It bid adieu to Kume’s character who was found out to be the traitor. The loan-shark company turns out to be a Yakuza-sponsored operation, more specifically Tozawa’s.
The episode also does a great job of marking a distinction between Ishida and Tozawa that I found interesting and something right out of the book of Coppola’s ‘The Godfather. Remember when Solozzo offered Don Corleone to enter into the highly profitable drugs business and he refused? Something similar happens here as well when Kume mentions Tozawa bringing in kabu from North Korea. It also explains to some degree why Hiroto respects Ishida more and why his lineage and the righteous path provide a semblance of redemption to his organization.
Sato and Samantha finally release all the tension between them. It will not be true if one says they didn’t see it coming but closure in this chapter was soothing. Another marked change we see in the episode is Jake’s changed ethics and changing loyalty to his humane sensibilities. When he didn’t blink an eye at the suicide and the loss of another family’s loved one, his hypocrisy was exposed. He ridicules Sugita for doing the same thing that he did; not directly but through his actions. His refusal to visit his family is another unrelenting sign of him losing a part of his heart.
Hiroto and Jake’s conversation about this was interesting. In a way, Jake is finally starting to let go of his naivety and innocence. He is becoming more hardened and guilt-free in his conscience for his actions like Hiroto. Creators try hard to portray the men in kinder light but Jake is some distance from where Hiroto is in his life. He is on the same path, though.
This rather harsh but pragmatic and real take on what it means to excel in such jobs; on the price these men pay, is why ‘Tokyo Vice’ is emerging as a triumphant success. The farther he dives deep into the underbelly of Japan’s organized crime, the more he becomes a different man. A flashback about Hiroto’s origins would make for an interesting comparison and validate this thesis. Hopefully, we get to see this ahead!