We might now be into our third episode of this particular story arc, but as it begins Sae is still being trained by Tachibana for her waitress job interview - seriously, how long could it possibly take?
Thankfully, eventually Nakata plucks up the courage to go for said interview, and shock of shocks she actually succeeds in passing the interview and getting the job. Fast forward a little later, and she actually proves to be pretty proficient in her role as she's visited by Tachibana and friends, although as for Tachibana himself he's still trying to wrap his thick skull around her comment about not wanting to be like a little sister to him - not that Haruka's thoughts on the matter (will that girl ever stop reappearing every episode?) help him much.
For the rest of the episode, things rumble on pretty much as you'd expect, with one rather major exception - It's always Nakata taking the lead rather than Tachibana. Thus, it's Sae who invites him to an amusement park as a thank you (only to be kidnapped by some cheesy and somewhat perverted hero show villain, but I digress), Sae who suggests that they both enter a forthcoming "Best Couple" contest being held over Christmas (hardly a subtle suggestion, but Tachibana still doesn't really get what it means) and Sae who requests that they hold hands.
While I don't have a problem with Nakata's growth in confidence and determination (after all, getting a job and working with people is liable to do that to a person), you have to wonder what happened to the shameless and confident Tachibana of the last couple of episodes, as he withers completely in the face of blatantly obvious advances from this girl that he spends all of his time hanging out with, turning into your typical tepid dishwater of a male protagonist that seems to go with the territory of visual novel adaptations. This takes a lot of the shine from this episode really, as Tachibana's blindness to what is going on feels like too much of a character change mid-arc, which only serves to elongate this story to its four full episodes where three would arguably have done the trick. Still, at least I've gotten over finding Sae's voice incredibly annoying (well, most of the time at least), which makes it more bearable than it seemed a couple of weeks ago.