The climax to the previous episode of Durarara!! left everything in a most definite downward spiral, from Mikado's decision to wind up the Dollars to the perhaps more pressing vision of Shizuo laying face-down in a pool of his own blood having been shot by a member of the Yellow Scarves.
Although (rather predictably given his history) Shizuo's wounds aren't fatal, this downward spiral otherwise threatens to continue as episode twenty-three kicks off, with Kida finding himself deposed as the Yellow Scarves leader by the now gun-toting Hosoda, while Anri hears first-hand (albeit erroneously) from Shizuo that Masaomi ordered his killing, sending her running to take action for herself. Izaya aside, it seems that only Selty really has a handle on what is going on between these three major players, but does she have the power to stop it?
Her first target in trying to put things right is Mikado, who she appraises of the situation, and thus he joins Selty in their search for Anri and/or Masaomi, as the latter finally loses the fear that crippled him when Saki was kidnapped in the past - A loss of fear which perhaps isn't in the best interests of either himself or his friends. Still, Kida's appearance at the Yellow Scarves hideout reveals a group now taken over by former Blue Square members, leaving the odds stacked well and truly against him... not that he seems to care about his own well-being as other desires, be they from his past or present, overtake him.
While everything moves apace throughout this episode, it's still a little hard to believe that this is the penultimate episode of Durarara!!, leaving us as it does with so many important issues not even close to resolved and with so many loose ends still dangling like nooses in front of the major characters. Can the series really wrap everything up in a single, fabulous finale? Judging by both the quality and plot progression of this episode quite possible, and I can only hope they do so as this series is well and truly deserving of such an epic ending. For now though, we just have to marvel about the inter-relations between characters that have been so carefully built by Durarara!! just for this very moment, pitching three former friends into a single (and rather hostile) room before lighting the blue touch paper. I can't help but feel that not only will their final struggle be as psychological as it is physical, but that it's also going to come about with a fair amount of help from third parties. I hate to think of the next episode of this show as the last, but by the same token I'm utterly psyched up and ready for next week's finale. Bring it on!