Having clearly harboured an agenda with regard to the Classic Club from the start, this third episode of Hyouka begins with Chitanda finally explaining exactly what the "personal reasons" behind her place in the club are.
In short, the entire story revolves around Eru's favourite uncle, who has since gone missing during a trip to India - it seems that he rather enjoyed regaling Eru with tales of the Classics Club (of which he is a former member from many years ago), but with one notable exception when Chitanda asked a question about the club which he was reticent to answer, and with an eventual response that reduced the young Eru to tears. So what was the question, and what was his reply? Chitanda simply can't remember no matter how hard she tries, and thus it's to Houtarou she turns in the hope that he can unlock this little mystery. Needless to say, Oreki himself isn't exactly enamoured at the work that this could cause, but nonetheless he offers to be as helpful as he can if something comes along which may advance her search for the truth about Chitanda's missing uncle.
Rather serendipitously, no sooner are mid-term exams over than Houtarou receives a letter from his sister, who just happens to mention the location of the Classics Club's previous anthologies - a potential lead for Chitanda to follow. Unfortunately for our protagonist, the club has moved club room since his sister's time, meaning that he's going to actually have to move to find the damned things - not only that, but there's a rather unfortunate obstacle in the way of actually obtaining the old anthologies, that puts Houtarou's simple but effective problem-solving abilities and "least cost route" of resolving a problem to the test once again.
If I was wavering on my thoughts about Hyouka up to this point, I have to confess that as of this week's episode I'm almost totally sold on the series - aside from its great direction (to the point where it occasionally tries a little too hard to be striking within otherwise ordinary scenes), I've somehow been drawn entirely into Houtarou's world and mindset; probably out of some degree of sympathy with his way of going about things, if I'm honest. It's a characteristic that powers the series as a whole wonderful, making the most of its mundane mysteries and somehow making them fascinating in the process, while we now have more of a solid central plot to keep things moving alongside this. Hyouka is undoubtedly gorgeous to look at, but it's fast becoming equally entertaining to watch in its own quiet but incisive and well-planned way... rather like an amalgam of its pair of main characters, now that I think about it.