The cooking competition may have been one, but the school culture festival is still far from over as we enter another instalment of Hyouka.
This fact is particularly bad news for Houtarou - after seeing the cooking club and their contest hit by the mysterious thief known as Juumoji to the detriment of the Classics Club team, Chitanda's curiosity has been piqued, and she isn't the only one. Thus, his clubmates are decidedly keen to get Oreki's take on this sequence of thefts, and he doesn't fail to deliver as he points out that Juumoji shouldn't be read as a name, but rather a statement of intent - it seems that our perpetrator is aiming for a Christie-esque "alphabetical" sequence of thefts, which in itself raises the possibility of the Classics Club being the final "victim" of these incidents.
With plenty of anthologies still to sell, Satoshi and Chitanda in particular see this is a great opportunity to promote the Classics Club, and despite being as unwilling to make an effort as ever even Houtarou seems to have garnered some interest in this sequence of events. While Eru tries to put her new-found skills of persuasion to good use in getting some school newspaper coverage through this scoop (her skills still need some work, incidentally), Fukube seems determined to one-up his friend by figuring out the culprit for himself, even though he doesn't get off to the best of starts. While all of this is going on, another minor point of intrigue raises its head on account of Mayaka's continuing troubles within her Manga Society.
Although I have to give plenty of credit to this episode for somehow making what should have been a relatively mundane mystery into something oddly intriguing without even putting too much effort into it, for me this week's instalment is really all about its characters; more importantly, it's about the Classics Club members that surround Oreki. Mayaka has been fascinating to watch throughout this entire story arc as we see a completely different side of her that hadn't been apparent before the culture festival began, and Chitanda's hard work seems to be a little more forced than we might have otherwise believed. Then there's Satoshi, whose place in events really comes to the fore here as his hidden rivalry with (and jealousy towards) Houtarou builds in a way which will surely become increasingly important as this series moves inexorably closer to its end. All in all, it's more compelling than it probably should be, as I'll be fascinated to see where this story arc eventually leads in both the short and longer term.