Previously on Drifters, “Active Heart”
True to form, after last week’s low point, Drifters yo-yo’s back with a worthy episode. Where Active Hearts bordered on being filler, Bring Back Love thankfully surges ahead. We’re almost halfway through with a lot of ground to cover, this show can’t afford too many missteps. In Act 5, Toyohisa’s crew strikes back and takes the fight to Orte, Yoichi finally gets a piece of the plot, and we all get punched in the gut.
Just Two Bros and a Funny Smell
The dynamic between Nobunaga and Toyohisa is the spring this episode flows from. Nobunaga has already shown his desire to rule for the land and power, as well as his ability to think steps ahead, while Toyo has more of a headstrong sense of justice vibe going, but they work well together thanks to their mutual respect. With only two days preparation, they manage to leave a deserted town for the incoming soldiers, minus it’s toilet soil, but with a well filled with Bring Back Love‘s unsung hero: shit. Naturally, the elves are skilled in all things archery yet they aren’t even close to Yoichi’s level. Clad in the dead Orte soldiers armor, they have no idea that the bodies were all beheaded. The heads were given a decent burial by Toyo, but the bodies were left to rot in a pit of grass, urine, and, our buddy, shit.
Not only used as old school chemical warfare, Nobunaga is also working on harvesting saltpepper, a key ingredient of gunpowder. He isn’t too thrilled about Toyohisa’s plan to go after the lord, but he is all about warfare and planning, even schooling Toyohisa about thinking through the battle beforehand.
On the other hand, Toyohisa has +10 charisma over Nobu and insures the elves will do their part. They must reclaim their women, their land, along with their honor and dignity, and if necessary, die for it. Nobu soon begins to understand Toyo’s determination and ability to rally others to fight is more in line with a warlord, rather than a king, not to mention his skills as a born fighter, all of which suits him just fine.
Down In Brown Town
At nightfall, as Toyohisa and his archers begin the attack, Murasaki and Easy’s newspaper begins to tell the tale. Toyohisa rampages through the ranks, with arrows peppering the sky, suckering Orte deeper into town.
While they’re distracted, Nobunaga hurries his force into position, all the while reminding them they will die. He’s back in his element and reveling in it, and in doing so brings to light a hidden truth about the Drifters. All of them were legendary in their time, meaning they also had to face the greatest. In the midst of all those battles and conflicts, they picked up their opponents knowledge and tactics. Here, Nobu copies one of his warlords by having the elves burn down their village with fire arrows, before dipping the next waves in a special shit sauce for that extra tetanus shine. Low on water rations since they can’t use the shit well, Orte can’t wash their wounds. From the flames Toyo lets loose an ill-advised awkward monkey yell that even Nobunaga has to clown. Regardless, Toyohisa picks the perfect time to cut down the commander, scattering the survivors into the forest. There, they have the pleasure of being hunted down by Yoichi and his team while desperately trying to avoid spiked pits with an extra insult to injury they’re getting fed up with.
Yoichi isn’t a fan of these tactics, prompting a peek into his past. Nobility and honor have always been guiding principles for him, but one person from his past could care less. There’s no love or rules on the battlefield. Yoichi dismisses the thought, thinking he’ll never see that “monster” again, but he’s wrong. That monster is chilling behind the Black King, waffling on which side to be on, Kurou Yoshitsune.
Nothing Good Happens In A Tower
The next morning, the Orte lord is ready to hang his female hostages and burn down some villages since his troops haven’t returned. The war hasn’t been going their way, so they can’t avoid anymore uprisings. Order must be restored with a heavy hand. His tune changes with the returning troops entering the castle, joy turns to horror as Toyo, Nobu, and the elves shed their disguise. Once again, Toyohisa’s ambition gave them direction, but Nobunaga’s plans saw it through.
Toyo and a few elves make their way to the elf women’s’ tower cutting through the remaining forces until Toyohisa spares an Orte soldier from an elf’s revenge. There’s no honor in killing a surrendered enemy, and the elf reluctantly obliges. This sentiment instantly goes down the toilet once they kick down the right tower door to the most jarring moment of the series so far.
Instead of finding prisoners, they find an elf rape dungeon littered with soldiers going to town. The wide shot mixed with Toyohisa and the elves’ shock and horror is that emotional gut punch that takes the wind out of you. Battered and broken, these women are shells of what they used to be. All of these monsters must die and Toyohisa is ready.
So I guess Drifters will be playing by Nas rules: every odd episode will be good to great while we have to trudge through the evens. Much of what we got this week should have happened last episode, but at least we got it. Nobunaga continues to reign supreme as my favorite character in Naoshi’s absence. He’s a borderline psychopath but you have to respect a man who loves his work. His childish joy over scheming and setting his traps will never get old, especially when it’s playing off of Toyohisa’s opposite style. Better than any of that is the fact Yoichi finally got a plot thread of his own. Whether or not we still have to wait a couple episodes for it to move forward or not is up in the air. Either way, it’ll be nice to see Yoichi do more than play the background. He needs something to do. Even the elves have more weight than him, more so after that brutal rape dungeon reveal. As a matter of fact, Yoichi better watch his back, shit had a breakout episode this week.