As this series take on the Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya arc continues, so does Haruhi's movie shoot, as what appears to be her harmless enthusiasm takes a decidedly more dangerous turn for all involved as we hit our third episode for this chunk of the story.
After feeling a little disappointed by the last instalment, this episode does at least feel a little sharper - The humour is slightly more prevalent and on the ball, and the actual contents in terms of story progression has more purpose to it as well; at least, as much as we can hope for from a story arc that is, in essence, simply fleshing out something that was covered with more brevity by the original run of this series.
Of course, the major incident around which this episode is focused is the infamous "Mikuru beam", which rapidly progresses from a figment of Haruhi's bizarre imagination into a particularly dangerous affliction for Asahina which causes Nagato to leap into action before any lasting damage is done. That aside, what we get here is just the usual really - Haruhi's exuberance, Kyon's daydreaming and wisecracks and so on.
That reference to this episode as "just the usual" does once again bring us to the crux of the matter however - That this story arc simply doesn't need this many episodes. While there are some decent enough moments in this instalment, I still stand by my initial feeling that this story arc was more or less fine as it was in the original series, and that fleshing things out to this extent actually spoils it somewhat. Sure, I can't argue that some points needed clarifying for anyone who hasn't read the novels (which is why I'd rate this episode more highly than the last as it does just that), but it still feels less snappy and fast-moving than it should be to my mind. Again, maybe I'm just hungry for some more genuinely, 100% new Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.