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Shōgun Recap: The 5 Biggest Moments From an Earth-Shattering Episode

Shōgun Recap: The 5 Biggest Moments From an Earth-Shattering Episode
Shōgun Recap: The 5 Biggest Moments From an Earth-Shattering Episode

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more dire on Shōgun, they throw a natural disaster at us.

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Tuesday’s Episode 5 (now streaming on Hulu and airing tonight at 10/9c on FX) was certainly an eventful hour, with shocking reveals, killer twists… and a deadly earthquake, to top it all off. We’re here to search through the rubble and find the five biggest moments from this week’s Shōgun. So grab a bowl full of saké and join us, won’t you?

1. Buntaro is alive!

1. Buntaro is alive!
1. Buntaro is alive!

As Lord Toranaga returns with his army, he brings with him… Mariko’s presumed-dead husband Buntaro! Yes, he’s alive, after ronin jumped in to help him fight back the horde when Toranaga escaped. Mariko is shocked — especially after her dalliance with Blackthorne. Toranaga orders Buntaro to move in with Blackthorne and Mariko, but Buntaro isn’t happy to be sharing space with a “barbarian,” and they have a tense dinner together that turns competitive when the two men chuck their tiny saké cups and start guzzling saké straight from big noodle bowls.

Blackthorne wants to hear how Buntaro made it out alive, but Buntaro scoffs, “Stories are for children.” Instead, he wants to prove his bow and arrow are more lethal than Blackthorne’s cannons. He asks for his bow and tells Blackthorne to pick a target. Even though Blackthorne yells that he’s too drunk, Buntaro seemingly takes aim at Mariko’s head, sending an arrow whizzing right past her face to land perfectly on his target. Then to underline his point, he fires another one in the exact same spot. When Blackthorne tells him, “Your wife deserves better,” Buntaro laughs, and Mariko explains that her father killed a corrupt ruler and so her whole family except for her was killed in retribution, condemning Mariko to a life of humble penance.

That night, Blackthorne hears a scuffle and runs in to see Buntaro gone and Mariko cowering and bleeding. She screams at him to leave, and he finds Buntaro fleeing outside. They stare each other down, but Buntaro lays down his swords and asks forgiveness for disturbing his home. Blackthorne lets him leave but declares him “a piece of s–t”… before spying the two perfectly placed arrows Buntaro fired. Oh, and Mariko later blames herself for Buntaro’s abuse, and when Blackthorne protests, she cuts him off entirely, deciding she’ll only talk to him when translating for him.

2. A rotting bird leads to death

2. A rotting bird leads to death
2. A rotting bird leads to death

What begins as an amusing little side story — with Blackthorne hanging up a dead pheasant outside his home and letting it rot for days, confusing the locals and causing an incredible stench — turns tragic when Blackthorne sees the bird missing and the locals weeping. You see, Blackthorne jokingly said that if anyone touches the pheasant, they’ll die, and the gardener Uejirou took it, so now he is dead.

Blackthorne is incensed: “What is wrong with you people?” Lady Fuji offers to take her own life as well, but he just yells at them all to leave. He feels intense guilt over the gardener’s death, but Mariko coldly declares: “We live, and we die. We control nothing beyond that.” And there’s another twist to come in the gardener’s saga…

3. Earthquake!

3. Earthquake!
3. Earthquake!

As if this episode didn’t have enough drama already… suddenly, the earth starts shaking, and hillsides begin to collapse, with men falling in and being buried alive. Toranaga falls in as well, and his son Nagakado and Blackthorne rush down to help him. They dig him out of the rubble, and he’s coughing, but he’s OK. He has lost his swords, though, but Blackthorne offers him his — which he knows came from Lady Fuji’s family and aren’t as exalted as she thinks. So maybe this will help redeem her family name.

When they return to the village, it’s in shambles thanks to the earthquake, and Lady Fuji seems to be gravely injured. Blackthorne offers her a comforting hand before walking out to his garden and putting back into place the rock that the late gardener Uejirou put there.

4. There’s a spy in our midst

4. There’s a spy in our midst
4. There’s a spy in our midst

Yabushige senses that there’s a spy among them reporting back to Lord Toranaga, and he’s right: We learn that it’s the humble old fisherman/samurai Muraji, who translated for Blackthorne in the premiere. Toranaga knows that Yabushige is on the scent, so he directs Nagakado and Muraji to find someone to take the fall. They find it in Uejirou the gardener, who Muraji accuses of being the spy after his death. It seems like Yabushige buys the ruse… but is the coast really clear for Muraji?

5. Lady Ochiba makes a power play

5. Lady Ochiba makes a power play
5. Lady Ochiba makes a power play

A jam-packed episode ends with one final chess move, as Lady Ochiba — the mother of the late ruler’s young heir — returns to Osaka. She thanks Lord Ichido for his help in getting her back home, but she also chides him for being outsmarted by Toranaga. Ichido claims he has it under control, but Ochiba fears for her son and demands action: “The time for politics has come to an end. The Council will answer to me.” Whoa… we’re getting the feeling that next week’s episode is going to be jam-packed, too.

Got thoughts on this week’s pivotal Shōgun, and the season so far? We’ve hit the midway point, so head down to the comments to share your thoughts.

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