The longer we get past the lunar canyon crash arc in this series, the more convinced I am that it ended in exactly the right way. This way keeps Hibito around and lets the show explore the careers of the two siblings, staying true to the title. Lately, it’s been responsible for some evolution in the dynamics between the two, showing them dealing with careers stalling out for reasons that appear separate (Mutta’s turning down the backup job, Hibito’s PTSD), but are actually largely identical. The revelation that Mutta was really being held back because of Hibito’s PTSD and the NASA director’s handling of the situation was a smack in the head that made a ton of sense.
The episode’s most potent scene was the flashback featuring Hibito and Sharon. With his being uncharacteristically fidgety, audibly cracking knuckles and hesitant to talk to her, I’d have been more surprised if she didn’t catch on. And the way he ended up talking to her about the panic disorder while playing guitar was interesting; I’m not sure if he did that to be causal about or because he needed the music for emotional security.
The way buggy engineering bits this episode were presented in a very down-to-earth way. Sure, part of that segment featured the team using their Mythbusters-esque range to field test ideas and get a feel for its performance. But a greater part of that discussion was held over lunch, and the solution ended up being just a part of shop talk between the guys that led to inspiration. Actual research gets a lot of mileage out of shop talk, and the team chatting over lunch is a nice way to show how Mutta’s mixed in with the group.
That inspiration led to a very Mutta-eqse scene of him putting in the extra 5280 feet; making a slew of phone calls to get his new project idea off the ground. The call to JAXA colleagues was more expected than the one that ended up putting him phone-to-phone with the old boss that got him fired. That call was entertainingly non-confrontational. It makes sense; Mutta wasn’t spoiling for a fight because he’s a professional and wanted to get his plan into action (and I suspect a little bit of thanks to the guy who ended up accidentally booting him onto rocket road), and the boss wasn’t angry anymore because he wanted Nitta’s autograph. Hey, whatever greases the skids, right?
This episode ended on my favorite cliffhanger since the “It rained and our tires are made out of sponge” one back around episode 63 or so. Good to know the series still has all the tools, even if it isn’t using them all the time due to unavoidable constraints.