So, hands up if you've spent the last week impatiently waiting for this latest episode of Spice and Wolf II out of sheer desperation to see how this awkward love triangle between Lawrence, Horo and Amati pans out? Yep, I thought so... Me too.
Of course, the first half of the episode gives us plenty of tension as Lawrence tries to execute his plan to crash the pyrite market right under Amati's nose, but despite his best-laid plans things simply don't seem to be working out for the poor guy - The price of pyrite just keeps on rising, and in his panic Lawrence sells what pyrite he owns too soon to have any real effect, before finding out that Deanna has failed to come good on her attempt to assist him. With his plan in tatters and Horo seemingly still ignoring him, surely it's all over between Lawrence and his travelling companion?
Of course not, this is only episode six! At the very last, Lawrence remembers one important facet of life which is nothing to do with the price of goods - Trust. With his head clearing, he realises what's going on and, lo and behold, the mysterious pyrite buyer of the last episode comes forth to save the day. With Horo and Lawrence reunited and Amati's plans (and no doubt his heart) in tatters, all that is left is for our favourite duo to argue things out and set the record straight between them.
Indeed, it's these final scenes that return Spice and Wolf II to its sparkling best that I couldn't help but miss a little in recent weeks - This series always does its finest work when Lawrence and Horo are in the same room, and so it is once again here. The reunion between these two was a near-perfect construction of that typical post-row awkwardness that lies somewhere between love and anger, apology and fiery admonishment. The whole thing was just wonderful to watch, brining the pair closer together yet at the same time still not cementing their relationship completely to leave a perfect little finale to this story arc. Oh, and yes, I did punch the air involuntarily when things finally came good for Lawrence, which pretty much says it all about the successful characterisation employed by this franchise.