Orochi begins barking orders at the gathered samurai to shoot Sanji and Zoro and kill anyone else who decides to intervene. Zoro and Sanji take a brief moment to reflect on the severity of the situation… ah who am I kidding, they start bickering as they always do. Old habits are hard to break I suppose. X Drake and Hawkins are shocked that the Straw Hats would be so brazen and the former goes full Animorphs into dino mode. Zoro decides that Orochi needs to be dealt with here and now, handing off Toko to Sanji. Zoro let's loose with a 720 pound phoenix but Kyoshiro intervenes to deflect the attack. On the sidelines, Shinobu, Kanjuro and the remaining Straw Hats split up - Shinobu and Kanjuro head off to keep the plan a secret while the Straw Hats move to help their friends. Franky leaps into the fray to gather up Yasui's body to get it out of danger.
This sets up a three-way struggle in the middle of the capital: Zoro taking on Kyoshiro, the Franky/Usopp/Robin/Nami versus the samurai goons, and Sanji versus X Drake. The battle kicks off literally and figuratively with a great deal of chaos breaking out, but by and large the Straw Hats are holding their own.
Back at the prison, Luffy is watching the battle via transponder snail and cheering on his crew. Queen is surprised that Luffy knows Zoro the magistrate killer. Before much more can be said, a pair of new prisoners arrive. The first in Kamazo - the scythe-armed warrior Zoro fought in the snow - and the second is Captain Eustass Kid, who has been recaptured. Everyone gets in a laugh at Kid's expense for “returning” so soon. Kid is distraught, falling to the ground and crying out in anguish. He wonders what they have done to Kamazo to make him this way, because it turns out that Kamazo is in fact Killer, his friend and long-time crewmember. He wonders what Orochi or Kaido did to Kamazo to make him a cold and distant laughing monster as he is now. After a flashback to their meeting at the Red Line, Luffy puts on his determined grimace and tells Queen to start the sumo competition because it's on.
A solid episode here. After the incredibly high emotional drama of the past few episodes it is hard to maintain that level of impact, so this is understandably a bit lower of an ebb. There is a fair amount of action too but nothing quite on the level of visual or thematic importance of other combats in the Wano arc thus far.
We do get a ton of wonderful smaller moments though. Seeing Sanji and Zoro back together again and arguing like old times feels great, and it's a reminder of how much these times of separation for the crew really impact the viewer. Robin, Nami, Usopp, and Franky all getting moments to shine and make big attacks is a treat - particularly Franky's terminator-like moments of deflecting hundreds of rounds and his cool single red eye.
Luffy has a couple of nice characterization moments as well. The bit with him cheering on his crew from prison is such a tiny moment but it is greatly appreciated, he really does love and believe in his crew. His shared anguish with Kid over the pain suffered by a crewmember is equally touching, as Luffy just can't help but be the best captain even for other people's crew.
There were a few nice visual flourishes in this episode too. The moments where Kid is in anguish and we get the reveal that Kamazo is Killer, the entire backdrop gets a blue filter with a single spotlight and spindly beams of light all around. Then when Luffy goes intense his face is half-drawn/half-open to reveal the swooshing blue background behind him. I loved the backsplashes behind the Straw Hats when they were calling out their attacks, each one a unique backdrop evoking era-appropriate paintings.
Again, an all in all solid outing that is somewhat dampened through no fault of its own but rather its proximity to the incredible episodes before it.