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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review of Higashino Keigo Mysteries Ep 2 - Hannin no inai satsujin no yoru

The episode opens with a scene in a room where a woman is lying dead on the floor with blood over her and a man, Sato Takuya (Sakaguchi Kenji) bends over to check whether she is indeed dead. He confirms it to two other men who are also in the room and they head to the living room to discuss what to do.

The murder was actually committed by Takao, the second son of the Kishida household which is headed by famous architect Kishida Sousuke, and the victim was his new home tutor Yagi Yukiko. According to Takao, Yukiko had ridiculed him for something and it made Takao go mad with anger and stab Yukiko with the knife she brought along to pare the apples. Takao is scared out of his wits while his father is eager to cover the crime up because it would damage the family's reputation. Sousuke pleads with Sato to help but the latter insists that he can't do that. Out of no choice, Sousuke offers a huge sum of money to Sato where he finally relents after giving some thought.

Sato offers to come up with a plan to conceal the crime and wants the Kishida family to do his bidding. He tells Masaki, the eldest son of Sousuke, to help him transport the body to the mountains for disposal. Strangely enough, Sato seems unusually calm while Masaki is shivering badly as they try to dig a hole to bury Yukiko's body. When Masaki asks about it, Sato claims that he's also scared by what he has to do but has to put up a brave front in order to make sure that things get done properly since he's being paid good money for this.

After disposing Yukiko's body, Sato and Masaki return to the Kishida residence. Masaki is especially angry to hear that Takao went to bed while he had to do the dirty task for his half-brother. Sato advises the family on how they can conceal the fact that Yukiko ever came to their place as a tutor and that they should deny knowing her. In case any of the neighbours happen to have seen Yukiko coming to their house, he will get his girlfriend Kawai Masami (Seki Megumi) to pose as her since Sato believes that nobody has seen Yukiko's face clearly enough to recognise her.

Sato returns home after a long night to find Masami waiting for him there. He doesn't mention in detail what happened at the Kishida household but gets Masami to agree to be Yukiko's imposter. Sato then breaks into Yukiko's apartment and takes away all evidence that could prove that she was a private tutor.
Things seem to be going according to Sato's plans but a man who claims to be Yukiko's elder brother comes to the Kishida household with her photo. Although the Kishida family sticks to their story that they have never seen Yukiko before, her brother's suspicions are aroused and he goes to the police to file a missing person report. At the same time, due to a heavy downpour in the mountains, Yukiko's body gets discovered which marks a downward spiral for Sato and the Kishida family...

Compared to the first story, the sub-title for this episode didn't have a clear meaning until it is revealed towards the end what exactly happened on that fateful night. To begin with, there wasn't even a murder and everything had been meticulously planned by a man who would stoop at nothing to get money through unscrupulous means. Morever, this plan could help him get rid of a clingy woman so it was really something which could kill two birds with one stone. At the beginning, Sato looked very much like an innocent party who had been involved in the mess because of his greed for money. However, as we got to know more about him, the only thing which remained constant was his greed and we got to see how cold and ruthless he could be. That smirk on his face and nonchalance when talking about Yukiko was simply too evil and he deserved to come to no good end but then, this drama doesn't show you the final "outcome" of what happened to the culprit so there is a lot of room for imagination because the viewer can "design" what kind of punishment would be suitable for such a criminal.

Frankly speaking, I do like this story quite a bit for its twists but Sakaguchi had a disadvantage compared to Karasawa Toshiaki in the first episode because the latter had Tanaka Rena to bring up the tension in the story. Somehow, Seki Megumi's limited airtime and the fact that the Kishida family members were not really key players in the whole scam made it a bit boring at times. Sakaguchi felt like he was doing a one-man's show most of the time until the police detective appeared and became a constant annoying factor to Sato who was bent on getting away scot-free from the mess. It felt like too late and too little though.

On a side note, Nakai Kiichi's case seems to be progressing so slowly that I've somewhat lost a bit of interest in just 2 episodes. Actually, the narration is fine on its own but adds little value to the drama in terms of connecting these individual stories. Well, we don't need them to be connected anyway since they are pretty much independent of one another but if there is a need for a narrator, then there should be a reason justifying his presence rather than go on and on about his own murder. It remains to be seen if there is some hidden story behind his death but really, if it's something as simple as killing him to prevent the exposure of a embezzlement scam, it's not going to be satisfying enough, at least for me.

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