Sakura barges in to Rintaro's apartment looking for adult videos, but she only finds videos of a baseball anime. She complains that she and Hiroto haven't done anything yet, and we finally get to see the rest of Hiroto's confession.
He tells her that despite waking up together in the hotel, they never had sex. He just told her they did so she would see him again. (Well, that confession explains something I've been wondering about, and really relieves some concerns I had about Hiroto. I mean, what kind of person seduces an extremely drunk woman when he's sober? That's breaking the first and most important rule. So, he's really messed up, but at least he has some morals. I guess?)
Rintaro tries to incite Sakura to be angry about Hiroto lying to her, but she tells him that she was only angry for a little bit because of her pregnancy scare. Now she's just really happy that he would lie to get closer to her. She chatters about taking time off to go on a trip and "make memories" and Rintaro grumpily replies that they're so busy this month, so she can't have any time off.
She changes the subject and sits really close to Rintaro. He scooches away and she leans in close. "How do you 'do it'?" A startled and very uncomfortable Rintaro keeps drinking his beer, mortified.
At the salon, Sakura and Rintaro have this cute exchange arguing about her time off behind the customers' backs. But whenever a customer is near, they act all cheerful and friendly.
Miki announces to her family that she has a job (but she lies that it's with a realtor). MIL grumbles that the family (and probably the house) will become a huge mess, and then digs at Miki by saying that all the money from her new job will probably go towards buying expensive clothes. Her daughter storms off, and Miki worries that something's wrong with her. (PLEASE don't say she's in love with the Host Boy.)
Sakura researches onsens (hot spring resorts) at the bar and asks Barkeep if Rintaro and Chiyoko are dating, but he hasn't heard anything. Hiroto arrives and checks out Sakura's top picks. He tells her that he's going to pay for it and resists her offers to go dutch or find a cheaper place. (If he were a decent guy in the first place, that would have set my heart fluttering. As it is I just almost like him.) He then asks for a key to her apartment, and she breathlessly agrees.
Poor Barkeep watches from the background, quietly puts down a beer and then clutches his heart when he overhears hear twitterpated answer to the key question. (His crush on Sakura has always been waaay at the back of the story, but this part is hilarious.)
Sakura rushes to the bathroom and then yells out in her happiness. It's so loud it startles everyone at the bar, even knocking Barkeep off his ladder.
Rintaro calls Chiyoko out to explain about the fake date. She accepts his explanation and asks if she's not good enough for him. He answers "It's not that. Right now, nobody's—" but then remembers Hiroto telling him that if he wants to protect Sakura, he'll take care of Chiyoko. On his way home, Rintaro sees Hiroto working extra hard at his job to earn extra money. His coworker remarks on his foolish grin.
Miki shows up for work at Host Boy's house (which is really nice, btw, for someone working 2 jobs) and notices the mess everywhere. He briefly explains his stocks and then tells her to wake him up if they go up. As he heads for his bedroom, he pulls off his shirt, startling Miki.
Sakura and Rintaro work at neighboring stations and grab for the same mirror. Their hands touch and they stare at each other for a moment. Sakura sticks out her tongue and Rintaro gets up to get another mirror. Later, they almost bump into each other in the back room and act really awkward. The other employees all come in and notice the strange tension.
Host Boy wakes up to a clean apartment and a home-cooked meal. He pays Miki for her work and thanks her for all her help. As soon as she's gone, he shoves the food away in anger. (Huh? I'm really confused here.)
The junior employees won't let Sakura go home until she's worked things out with Rintaro. She asks him what his deal is, and then (correctly) guesses that he's jealous, though he denies it. He asks her if she's serious about that guy and tells her that if she's not, she'll regret this trip. She tells him she won't regret it and decides they're good. But she pauses to think before leaving the salon.
The Three Amigas head to a spa to celebrate Miki's new job. Miki says she's always been a bit jealous of Shima and Sakura and their independence and personal success. Shima admits that she just wants to find someone who understands her and will go through life with her.
As they leave, Shima runs into her ex, who is there with his wife and adorable daughter. Shima looks like she's been punched in the gut as the realization hits her that she was the infertile one the entire time, and that he now has the happy family she had hoped they would be.
Shima heads to the bar to drink alone and is annoyed when a previous conquest approaches her and suggests they go somewhere else. For once, she's not in the mood for his nonsense and throws a drink in his face. Barkeep runs interference with the guy and his friends and motions for Shima to go.
Sakura corners a coworker and puts on a weird flirty act to ask a favor. Next we see, he's awkwardly leaving, but tries unsuccessfully to warn Rintaro from going in the back. Rintaro finds Sakura watching an adult film and tells her to take it home. She refuses, so he gives her headphones so he can get work done.
Sakura's not a silent watcher, though, and is still very distracting. They bicker a bit about things and when Rintaro tries to run away to avoid answering a question, she tries to chase after him, headphones still attached.
He leans forward to save the laptop at the same moment the headphones come unplugged, and Sakura's lips land on his. They stand like that for a moment and then do a little accidental shuffle dance as Rintaro gathers his things to leave.
Shima meets up with Kohei at a bar to talk about running into her ex. He tells her that he's finally made a doctor's appointment. They drink and joke around.
Miki runs out to buy some last-minute things for her son. On her way home she sees Shima and Kohei leave the bar, joking and laughing together. What she doesn't hear is their mutual decision to finally delete each others' numbers.
Sakura goes home and pauses outside Rintaro's apartment. She's surprised when her own door flies open and Hiroto pops out, happily stating that he's already put the key to good use.
Kohei comes home and finds out that Miki ran to the store and hasn't come home yet. The kids are a bit worried, so he leaves to go meet her.
Sakura is packing for her big trip the next day and is interrupted by Hiroto. She tries to explain the benefits of bringing your own towel to an onsen and he laughs at her. She chases him to the couch and demands to know why he was laughing. He tells her that she reminded him of an old man for a minute and she starts tickling him. They're interrupted by a phone call from Kohei looking for Miki.
Shima meets up with Kohei to help him search and realizes that Miki probably saw them together.
Miki heads to the host club and tells Host Boy that she'll wait for him.
Chiyoko sits at the bar, pleased that she's getting a chance to date Rintaro. As soon as he sits down, Sakura runs in, trailing Hiroto (who is cold towards Rintaro and pretends not to see Chiyoko). They're also out searching for Miki. Shima and Kohei show up as well and Sakura deduces that Miki went missing because of them. Barkeep and Rintaro finally make the connection that Kohei is Miki's husband.
Sakura loses it and starts yelling at Shima. Rintaro jumps in and stops her before she says something that could ruin their friendship. Shima and Kohei leave and Rintaro explains that Sakura doesn't know the whole situation between them, so she should cool it.
As they brainstorm together about finding Miki, Hiroto and Chiyoko look on, seething with jealousy.
Miki and Host Boy go to his place to talk. She decides that Kohei and Shima are having an affair, and it's her fault for sending him to Shima's gym, giving them the opportunity. Host Boy tries to kiss her, but she pushes him away. He tells her that he was just trying to cheer her up, and he couldn't help himself because she was just so pretty. (Blegh!)
He changes the subject and tells her about a "sure thing" investment. She decides she'll need money for a divorce and agrees to get money for him to invest for her. (Ah, now I understand him.)
Sakura is too distracted to pack. Hiroto offers to postpone the trip and Sakura decides to go search for Miki some more. The doorbell rings and Sakura opens to find Rintaro and a drenched Miki. She shepherds her inside and Hiroto leaves to let them talk.
Outside, he thanks Rintaro for looking after Chiyoko. Rintaro answers that they're not dating, just hanging out occasionally as friends. He asks if Hiroto loves Sakura and Hiroto asks what he'd do about it if he does. He asks Rintaro to take care of Chiyoko and leaves.
Sakura calls Kohei to tell him that Miki will stay with her and promises to come over in the morning to help with the kids. She asks Miki where she went and Miki comes clean about lying about her new job. She admits that Host Boy tried to scam her. In that moment she realized how stupid she was and just wanted to run away. But then she thought of her kids and couldn't bear to go.
She cries and says she feels worthless. It's no wonder her husband would cheat on such a woman. She's worried how a divorce will affect the kids. Sakura just hugs her and listens.
Sakura drops things off for the kids. Miki's daughter is clearly upset about everything (and has been since she didn't come home from the store). Sakura explains to Kohei that Miki will just stay with her until she's ready to come home.
Sakura goes to work and thanks Rintaro for his help. She tries to talk about the other day (I'm assuming the accidental kiss thing), but Chiyoko comes in. As Rintaro sees to Chiyoko, the door opens and another woman walks in and greets Rintaro. Sakura stares at this elegant woman and Chiyoko glares at her.
Clearly, this is Rintaro's ex. Even though we haven't been shown her face, it's pretty obvious that she matches Rintaro's requirements for his ideal woman. And the reactions of both Sakura and Chiyoko show that they're both aware of that, as well as the full implications of her showing up at Rintaro's work. Dun dun DUN!
I was very confused at the sudden storyline involving Host Boy. It didn't really seem to gel with everything that's happened before, and I was a bit confused why he was showing such interest in Miki. But, although it seemed to come out of left field, I'm glad this story thread seems to have been mostly resolved. I can even see why it was included as a way for Miki to come to some difficult realizations about her life and to face her future more head-on. So, yes, it was shoehorned in, but at least it was an effective plot device.
This is just another example to me of how this drama is trying too hard. I think it's trying to be a version of Sex and the City (a show I don't care for at all, btw), but instead of being a part of the big leagues, it's that one junior high student that always tries to tag along with the seniors or college kids. (Seriously, an accidental kiss, show? You should be above that.) It thinks it's on their same level, but it doesn't realize how juvenile it really is.
Case in point: the heavy-handed use/talk of adult videos to prove that this show is not for kids. I mean, obviously Sakura is insecure about sex and has questions. But her quest for porn just seems weird. Along with that (and my biggest pet peeve in this show), is the sighing sound effect they use EVERY TIME something. . . sexy(?) happens, instead of just letting the acting and the mood show us what we're meant to feel. And so many times, that sigh is used to try to make us believe that whatever is happening is sexy, despite everything else going on that tells us it's really not.
This is a real shame, because Last Cinderella really has some great things going for it. The main cast is very strong and has good chemistry overall. The writing in general is pretty good, and the story is interesting in itself. This show could do so much if it would just rely on the actors and story to make things truly special, but the director uses too many gimmicks. Maybe he's covering up for himself in some ways? Maybe he feels like he's not on a par with the actors and so he's overcompensating?
I don't really know, but I just wish he'd realize that he could just let the show be itself. Then it wouldn't have to chase after the big kids, because the people worth winning over would see how truly cool it is just because it understands and accepts itself for what it is. (Okay, I kinda ran away with the whole junior high kid analogy, but I stand by it. (P.S. I might have been one of those kids. Don't judge.)) Give yourself a little more love, show. You deserve it.