As per their family pact, Koko agrees to help Kasper in his dealings with the SR Squad, a rival arms dealers who work in the shadows. Tojo contacts his former bosss, Colonel Hiroki, who confirms the SR Squad provoked HCLI. He arranges meets for both Kasper in Jakarta and Koko in Japan. Kasper meets with his representative Ms. Kurosaka, but she turns out to be an assassin, whom Chequita swiftly dispatches. She and Kasper’s other men fight their way out of the hotel, and the battle begins.
When Tojo started talking, we were worried whether he’d ever stop. Even the episode acknowledges it’s quite a bit of exposition, as Jonah, Lutz, and others start to get antsy and nod off during the briefing. Why the talk is being held out in the airport parking lot and not a hotel room is also weird. But the result of this is, we now know what HCLI’s up against, though Hiroki and his SR Squad switch up their methods, deciding to come out of their shadows and hit hard, perhaps in an effort to scare off or beat down HCLI quickly.
They make a statement in their first strike with a friendly assassin with a flexible katana hidden in her belt. Chequita proves she may be the toughest, craziest of all the tough crazy women in the series, operating as a both a lightning-quick shield for Kasper and a one-woman SWAT team cutting and shooting through the SR Squad like butter (Ever shot at butter before? Not as fun as it sounds). The burst of action in the end makes up for all the dull exposition earlier on. As for Valmet undressing a drunk Koko and suggesting they shower and sleep together – their evening ends…ambiguously, so it’s anyone’s guess what ultimately happened there.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Car Cameos: Colonel Hiroki drives (himself!) in a Nissan Cima (F50) AKA Infiniti Q45, whose elaborate “gatling gun”-style headlamps were groundbreaking when the model was first unveiled in 2000. Other cameos include a Suzuki Wagon R, Toyota Prius, Toyota Vanguard, a Toyota Alphard, Volvo S80 (not Koko’s) and a couple Toyota Hiace vans and trucks.
Kasper, Chequita, and his team are in Jakarta, attempting to meet Colonel Nualkhair, but they’re stood up. They go to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where he laments that a “phantom company” is trying to edge them out of southeast Asia. He orders an assault on Nualkhair’s son’s compound, which is made to look like an accident but will be seen by the phantoms as a declaration of war. The company based in Japan, which is where Koko and her team are headed. During the flight, Jonah reminisces about his previous life. They meet up with Kasper’s team at Narita, and Kasper takes Jonah to see his three orphaned friends at an international school. Kasper asks to speak to Tojo, who once worked for the Defense Intelligence HQ or SR Squad, whom he believes to be the “phantoms”.
With R and Hex dead and Bookman currently hand-less, HCLI moves on to other things, as they’re threatened to be pushed out of SE Asia by a mysterious company that’s messing with their would-be clients. Kasper, who is essentially a beefed-up, more ruthless version of Koko, isn’t going to take it sitting down, and seeks the wisdom of another one from Koko’s team, Tojo. Both teams are so eclectic in their composition, it’s not surprising that they all may have past connections that may prove useful. Tojo is more brains than brawn in ops, so we may be in for a more cerebral arc than the one with R and Hex – though the tidy raid on Nualkhair’s pad was a powerful statement that Kasper doesn’t play around.
This episode was a little weighed down by frequent flashbacks that amount to clips from the first cour’s fifth episode, chronicling how Jonah ended up with HCLI and Koko. This smacked of recapping, which we never like to see in regular episodes. The clips didn’t really reveal anything new, but only served as a large, padded segue to Jonah asking Kasper about the kids he promised would be cared for in Japan. He sees them, and their clean clothes smiling faces are a striking contrast to the abject misery of that wretched base. But Jonah just sees them; he doesn’t meet them. He’s almost confirming that he deems his existence incompatible with normal life and other kids in particular. He couldn’t bear it if the sight of him changed the look on their faces from contentment to fear.
Rating: 6 (Good)