News travels fast in the market district, and no sooner has last week's revelation been outed than it seems like all and sundry have heard the news - but is Tamako really princess material?
For Tamako's part, she seems far more interesting in filling her hundredth shopping district point card and winning the medal that doing so allows than any of this talk of marriage or royalty, but for everybody around her it's a decidedly strange time - exciting in one sense but scary in another, especially for those close to Tamako as they have to face up to the fact of losing her; something which is inevitably going to befall them at some point even if she turns down the proposition currently placed in front of her.
All of this reaches a head as some repairs to Dera's communications equipment allows for Tamako and Prince Mechya to talk, albeit briefly before Dera packs up again (he must be using WebEx) - while everyone around her quietly contemplates a future without Tamako and does their best to encourage her to choose what they believe will make her happy, Tamako herself misconstrues this as those around her simply not really caring about whether she leaves or not. Once Tamako loses her precious medal, only to have it handed back to her in short order, it seems that decision time is right around the corner. In other words - it's the last episode next week.
Putting all of my negativity towards this series as a whole aside for a moment, there was an impressive "vibe" to be found from the second half of this episode in particular - there was a real tangible sense of the difficult emotions running through it from almost every character as they face that nightmarish conflict between seeing their friend (or even daughter) find happiness and allowing someone who has become an integral part of their daily lives walk away. Even Tamako's reaction to the behaviour of her friends was a well-realised element of that equation; the kind of near-silent anger and hurt that she is simply too good-natured to show in public. In a way, it's also this final point that serves as a reminder as to why so much of the series has struggled - Tamako has too rarely shown any interesting insights into her character, and that single, small loss of control has given her more character in one scene than the entire ten and a half episodes that preceded it. Perhaps now that we've seen that face of our protagonist, we can look forward to something suitably fleshed out to at least ensure that Tamako Market goes out on the right note.