The previous episode of Kimi ni Todoke rather cruelly left us hanging right on the cusp of Kurumi's plan to snatch Kazehaya for herself by persuading him than Sawako was more interested in Ryuu - But surely such a plan would never work?
Thankfully, you'd be absolutely right to think that, and it's no real surprise to see Kurumi's plan fail outright. What perhaps is a little more surprise is just how direct Kazehaya's actions are in the matter, snatching Sawako by the hand and dragging her off somewhere quiet to ask her whether she likes Ryuu. For once, Sawako actually manages to answer clearly and concisely, leaving a relieved Kazehaya in no doubt as to her relationship with Ryuu, but the entire scenario finally brings into sharp relief Kazehaya's selfish and possessive side, which leaves him feeling ashamed until Sawako tells him that she really doesn't mind if he is like that from time to time. It's a surprisingly forthright conversation between the two of them, which only falls flat when Kazehaya brings up a question about dating which pretty much sails over Sawako's head.
Aside from that all-important exchange, the rest of the episode sees Yano continuing to hunt for proof of Kurumi's involvement in recent goings-on, while Yoshida singularly fails to "get it" when it comes to what Kurumi has been trying to achieve. This finally leads to a confrontation between Yano and Kurumi herself (who I think it's fair to say is now having a decidedly bad day); a confrontation interrupted by Sawako, who Yano has no problem with spilling the beans about what's going on to.
Perhaps a week without this series is a case of absence making the heart grow fonder, but I have to say that I absolutely adored this episode from beginning to end - The all-important conversation between Kazehaya and Sawako was played out beautifully, and actually showed us a different side to both of the main characters, while Kurumi's ever-worsening day was both a beautiful slice of serendipity which turned into outright hilarity as her odd behaviour gives Pin completely the wrong idea, in turn succeeding in embarrassing her in front of Kazehaya of all people. If that wasn't enough, even the climax to this episode holds promise aplenty - Just how will Sawako react to the news that someone she (wrongly) thought of as a friend has betrayed and used her? It's fascinating stuff, and Kimi ni Todoke's wonderful uses of character for story-telling, emotion and humour in equal measure is nigh-on perfect, while also leaving said characters so much room to breath and grow that every episode is a genuine experience. No surprise that a live-action movie of the manga which spawned this series has been commissioned.