The episode opens with Maki visiting her father in Tokyo about Maiko’s missing brother. Weirdly enough she questions him as if he were dead, even though Haru would presumably have told everyone that he was actually alive after last episode. She did tell everyone… Right? Oh dear.
Randomly withholding important information is something of a recurring theme this episode, as the lead in to next week’s finale begins with the mens fishing team going missing after suddenly going AWOL and heading for the forbidden 99th fishing tank in order to look for Maiko’s brother. They inexplicably opt not to tell any of the other fishermen this despite them also being sympathetic to the plan, and as a result there’s nobody positioned to try and rescue them. When the other fishermen do try to mount a rescue the ministry of fisheries intervenes and forbids them to launch that one specific rocket they have. Luckily they also have a spare previously unmentioned rocket so they can get around that on a technicality. So that’s handy.
This spare rocket doesn’t actually mean much though since the ministry also sends in a bunch of armed guards to stop anyone from surreptitiously launching another rocket, if one just happened to be lying around to technically not disobey orders with. Because of this the head fisherman has to run over and try convince the girls squad to sneak in and carry out a rescue mission. When the girls not unreasonably voice concerns about going to a super dangerous tank to rescue people who have been consistently awful towards them since day one the head reveals that actually no, they were just pretending to be jerks in order to protect them somehow. It’s an obvious attempt to retroactively absolve them of their crappiness but it’s a fairly weak one. It’s apparently enough for Haru though so she goes ahead and volunteers them all for the rescue mission without consulting any of the others. In a rare bout of justified anger Namino does her usual thing and turns on her, but is immediately swayed when Haru randomly starts narrating her own backstory, which is apparently enough to cause Namino’s personality to completely invert and she’s suddenly totally on board with the idea. None of the others get a word in because they’re back to being glorified furniture.
While planning for their convoluted stealth mission Haru finally lets slip that Maiko’s brother might still be alive. Everyone does rightly call her out for keeping it to herself for so long, but they also immediately get over it and get back to coming up with extremely fragile plans. Said plan involves sneaking into a facility full of armed guards and somehow launching a rocket without any of them noticing. Rockets being well known for being easy and quick to launch. Getting into space is easy after all.
Against all the odds this works out almost perfectly, with the one moment where it looks like they might get caught by the guards being salvaged by the sudden appearance of Maki’s father. Who reveals that he too was just pretending to be a jerk all along and distracts the guards so that the girls can get at the rocket. This sudden change of course instantly redeems him and exonerates him of responsibility for causing this whole thing to happen in the first place by covering up the original accident. This means that Maki is able to instantly get over the turmoil caused by her dad being a jerk. So that’s good, glad we got that dealt with inside of one episode. With that out of the way the rocket launch otherwise goes off more or less without a hitch, they take off and head for the finale.
Just one more episode till I’m free of this.