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HomeTVShogun Season 1 Episode 7 Overview: A Stick of Time

Shogun Season 1 Episode 7 Overview: A Stick of Time


When the earlier episode of Shogun ended with Toranaga’s rousing name to arms, we assumed that Operation Crimson Sky couldn’t be far behind.

Certain sufficient, A Stick of Time opens within the aftermath of what appeared to be a really bloody battle.

When you’re a fan of this present’s unflinching portrayal of feudal carnage, then you definitely most likely dug this gory scene, with its many battered corpses and its close-up beheading.

However you could have felt a bit let down moments later when some dude runs by means of the battlefield screaming, “The battle is over!” Nicely, that was quick!

And never solely that, Toranaga has received!

Simply once we start to get the sense that we missed out on one thing crucial, onscreen textual content reveals that we have been bamboozled, and what we’re witnessing is definitely the wake of destruction left by Toranaga’s first battle 46 years prior.

The fresh-faced younger warrior accepts his enemy’s give up and assists him together with his grisly seppuku.

And whereas we have been observing Toranaga‘s political maneuvers since Shogun’s pilot episode, it is attainable that no scene so far has been extra revealing of his character.

This can be a man whose warrior instincts have been cast in hearth, who received his first battle earlier than he pillowed his first woman, and who has by no means identified a life by which the potential of a violent dying was not an ever-present menace.

So when Toranaga seeks to make amends together with his long-lost brother, we are able to safely assume that their rift is not a results of lingering resentment from that point they introduced the identical dish to the household potluck.

However some facets of household life by no means change, and after a bit of good-natured ribbing Toranaga and Lord Saeki determine to get hammered and let bygones be bygones. Or so we’re led to imagine.

A subsequent dialog with Mariko reveals that Toranaga nonetheless is not a giant fan of his “mongrel half-brother,” and he makes use of the identical tactic to win him over that he beforehand used on Blackthorne — specifically, top-tier prostitutes.

Talking of items, honors, and allies, the Anjin is understandably interested by what kind of function he’ll be taking part in as soon as the Crimson Sky plan involves fruition.

Toranaga has by no means been one to put up his plans on a billboard, so Blackthorne is not shocked when the daimyo declines to reveal particulars, besides, the alternate contributes to the mounting friction between these uneasy allies.

As final week’s episode established, Gin and Kiku are extra highly effective than they could initially appear, and pillowing is rarely simply pillowing on Shogun.

The ever-prickly Omi is upset that Saeki is getting a lot of Kiku’s time, however he redirects his anger to a extra acceptable goal — Blackthorne, whom he accuses of soiling Gin’s tea home.

Gin, as at all times, is unperturbed, and she or he flips the state of affairs to her benefit by suggesting that Kiku is infatuated with another person.

From there, we change focus to a different of this present’s dynamic, fully-formed feminine characters, Fuji.

A determine who may need been diminished to nothing greater than a traumatized survivor on a lesser collection is right here given room to develop in addition to grieve.

When she’s offered with the ashes of her husband and son, Fuji as soon as once more longs to hitch them within the afterlife.

However she’s no mere bereft widow, and we all know the grit, ingenuity, and temerity of which she’s succesful.

Shogun locations Toranaga, Blackthorne, and Mariko within the highlight most incessantly, however Fuji embodies their greatest traits and supplies the clearest thematic hyperlink between their storylines in a means that makes her an equally indispensable character.

When Hiromatsu encourages her to proceed preventing for victory, Fuji’s torrent of conflicting feelings reminds us that whereas she shares Blackthorne’s braveness and Toranaga’s dedication to obligation, she additionally possesses Mariko’s information of the futility of all of it.

Proving as soon as once more that visiting family members have been getting drunk and performing obnoxious since time immemorial, Saeki will get into the saké and publicly disrespects Toranaga in a way that doubtless would have value anybody else their head.

He then perpetrates an act of betrayal that makes a narrative of childhood incontinence seem like — properly, children’ stuff.

Saeki’s official causes for betraying his brother and nephew to the Council of Regents is likely to be political, but it surely’s plain that he was primarily motivated by old style sibling rivalry.

In fact, Saeki is not the one one whose allegiances are unsure. Yabushige has been taking part in each side of the fence from the get-go, and the supply of his basic’s head in a dumpling steamer reminds him of how excessive the stakes have turn out to be.

Gin’s knowledge and entrepreneurial ambition as soon as once more come to the fore, as she makes use of her stick of time with Toranaga to share her imaginative and prescient of a brighter future by which courtesans are unionized and permitted to work collectively in a centralized brothel district.

Destiny is sort of a sword. Helpful solely to those that can wield it.


That is no mere marketing strategy, nevertheless. Gin is pleading for primary human rights and dignity, and for a second, it appears as if Toranaga’s new consciousness of his personal mortality — the pace with which his incense stick is burning down — would possibly lead him to think about her proposal.

However he is too near despair to think about the issues of his topics.

Thankfully, Gin — who’s used her restricted display time so far to make a case for herself as this present’s coolest character — possesses ranges of guile that Toranaga and his generals can solely dream of.

She reminds Toranaga of their frequent hardships and ambitions and hints that he could have permitted Saeki to penetrate the village’s perimeter together with his military.

Despite the fact that the discord throughout the Council of Regents predates the arrival of Blackthorne’s ship, a number of characters blame the Anjin for his or her nation’s present troubles.

One in every of them is Yabushige, who takes out his frustration throughout a violent “coaching” session that is noticed with nice curiosity by Buntaro — who proceeds to remind us that he additionally will not be a fan of Blackthorne by almost decapitating the Brit.

The state of affairs involves a head — no pun meant — later within the episode when Buntaro begs Toranaga for permission to take away the Anjin’s noggin for the crime of utilizing mentioned skull to ogle Mariko.

He is denied on the grounds that such an motion would implicate Mariko, too — however plainly Toranaga additionally has some considerations concerning the translator’s loyalty.

Issues as soon as once more take a flip for the very bleak, as Mariko turns into the second character of the episode to beg for permission to take her personal life.

The limitless rains and fog contribute to the episode’s environment of pervasive gloom, and Toranaga follows the lead of so lots of his topics when he provides in to hopelessness and surrenders himself to his brother.

Even when there’s evil on this land, nobody has the precise to tear the realm aside. Crimson Sky was a mistake.

Nagakado’s failed try to homicide Saeki and his personal subsequent ignominious dying are positive to be amongst this season’s most divisive plot factors, however they successfully tie collectively the episode’s main thematic pursuits:

We’re reminded that essential issues occur within the shadows of the willow world, that intercourse and violence make for awkward bedfellows (mirroring Nagakado’s earlier remarks concerning the similarities between pillowing and battle), and that destiny will be as ridiculous as it’s tragic.

When the scene cuts to black for a music-less closing credit sequence, we really feel each bit as depressing as Toranaga and his downtrodden vassals.

And we’re as soon as once more reminded that no present on tv so constantly demonstrates such a masterful management of tone.

Three episodes stay on this season, however as Toranaga finalizes his will (fortunately, he does not neglect Gin) and seemingly accepts his destiny, A Stick of Time takes on the sensation of a pre-finale:

It is the kind of episode that units the stage for the climactic battle to come back.

The title refers actually to the incense that is used to measure time within the brothels of feudal Japan but in addition to the fleeting nature of human lives.

This hour of Shogun depicts a hinged second between monumental occasions — a interval by which time briefly slows down and provides a second for contemplation in the beginning adjustments endlessly.

Whereas we all know there’s far more story left to inform, A Stick of Time left us with the sense that every one is misplaced — a set of dire circumstances that may hopefully make our protagonists’ forthcoming heroics all of the extra awe-inspiring.

What did you assume, TV fanatics? Was this the bleakest episode so far? Did it get a bit of too darkish in your style?

Hit the feedback part under to share your ideas.

Tyler Johnson is an Affiliate Editor for TV Fanatic and the opposite Mediavine O&O websites. In his spare time, he enjoys studying, cooking, and, in fact, watching TV. You possibly can Observe him on X and e-mail him right here at TV Fanatic.




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