“In which our hero creates the most dangerous paper airplane of all time.”
Last week I questioned what Senku's plan for victory could possibly be. Taking the cave changed little as his force was still outnumbered and outgunned—and now with no way to retreat. Even if Senku made gunpowder, that wouldn't stop Tsukasa as the latter would know that Senku would never use it to kill. However, in this episode we learn that the gunpowder was never supposed to intimidate Tsukasa: it was supposed to intimidate everyone else.
While the events of last episode made the creation of gunpowder no longer possible, Senku and Chrome are able to jury-rig something even more dangerous: nitroglycerine. All it takes is an exploding paper airplane and an arrow coated in the stuff for Tsukasa's forces to give up on the spot—which brings us back to the Tsukasa problem.
Tsukasa is a man seemingly made for the Stone World. Strong and tactically brilliant, he is an idealist that believes man was better off in its natural state—that those who thrived by exploiting the system in the old world are not pure enough for the new one. However, there is one important thing to remember: Tsukasa himself was one of those who thrived in the old world—raking in obscene amounts of cash through cage fights and TV appearances.
While Gen is the mentalist that is supposed to understand human nature, he is also a pessimist—one who believes himself to be the moral baseline. Thus, it never occurs to him to ask why a person who hates modern society so much would have willingly been a cog in the machine. However, to Senku this is a massive incongruity—and what is a scientist if not a detective solving the mysteries of the natural world?
Thus Senku pieces it together. There had to be something that required money—something that Tsukasa, a man willing to murder for his ideals, would become a hypocrite for: his comatose sister. Moreover, Senku has a piece of knowledge that Tsukasa does not: the stone-ification process heals all wounds.
Because of this, Senku won the moment he took the cave—i.e., the source of the revival fluid—and had the power to blow it up. He knew that Tsukasa would fold the moment he realized that Senku was the only way for him to get his sister back fully healed.
However, Senku also knew that he had to make Tsukasa's army agree that an armistice was the correct choice for all of them (instead of having it appear that the only reason they lost was their leader betraying them in the face of emotional blackmail), hence the show of force with the nitroglycerine.
All in all, it was a brilliant plan on Senku's part—especially because he knew to draw the line at a simple peace when making his demands. With no one dead, he has set it up so that no one on either side will want revenge after this has all gone down. Moreover, by wanting nothing more than for both sides to leave each other alone, he allows Tsukasa and those who believe in his cause to keep their core values. Really, the only remaining thing they still need to hash out is the use of the revival fluid and the treatment of the statues—but something tells me Tsukasa's little sister won't be down with her brother murdering helpless people (so getting him to stop might not be such an issue).
Of course, with two episodes left in the season, I expect that things may not go as well as expected with this newfound peace—especially after seeing Hyoga's face light up at the damage caused by the nitroglycerine.
• I loved the little extra we got from Tsukasa about the burden of deciding who lives and who dies in this Stone World that can only support so many. It does a good job of humanizing him.
• Kohaku's constant smile in the fight against Hyoga should have scared him far more than it did. There's no person more dangerous than one who doesn't fear death.
• I'm surprised Gen would even hold a nitroglycerine paper airplane. At least Chrome has the excuse of never seeing the damage one could do.
• It was good to see Nikki try to fight Tsukasa—showing that her love for Lillian's music is truly worth risking her life for.
• Good thing Ukyo didn't actually bleed out when everyone just left his skewered ass in the dirt.
• I question the use of dynamite in the hospital excavation. While Yuzuriha may be able to piece together shattered statues, I don't think she'd be able to find all the pieces to any that get blown up.