The time for goofing around has well and truly come to a close, as the Midnight Channel kidnappings suddenly threaten to visit very close to home indeed.
With Narukami receiving a threat to stop investigating the disappearances at the tail-end of last week's episode, the need for the gang to step up their investigation becomes even more pressing as it's clear that it's somebody close at hand to at least Yu himself. But where to start? With Narukami distracted by Nanako falling ill on account of the changing season while she generally doesn't seem to be herself, things come to a head when he receives a second letter threatening that someone close to him will be the next victim unless his investigation ceases.
Unfortunately for Narukami, Dojima snatches the letter from him and sees its contents, and before we know it Yu is hauled off to the police station to be questioned about what's going on. Needless to say, Dojima has no time for Narukami's story of Shadows and Persona, leaving him to think over his response behind a locked door for the night - or at least, that's the plan until word reaches all and sundry that Nanako is missing. With Dojima still having no time for Narukami's story, or indeed the attempts of his friends to back him up, it's up to the gang to convince his subordinate Adachi to allow them to do what is required to save Nanako, as their knowledge of the investigation finally appears to put a name to the culprit in the case.
For all of the fun I've had during Persona 4's light-hearted episodes, to the point where I wondered aloud whether I even cared about the whole murder-mystery angle of the show any more, I have to confess that this was a brilliant episode, with its second half in particular proving to be gripping as it moved things forward at great speed to close in around the killer with Nanako's life at stake, and with Narukami's character in particular proving to be a fantastic portrait of anguish and frustration throughout. It seems that we're all set for the show's big finale now - I just hope it doesn't disappoint against the backdrop of a series that has been decidedly excellent for the most part.