Noel has the Lups and Good Striker meet him at the shrine for New Year’s. He requests Umika wear a utaka and believes Sakuya will be very excited to see her looking beautiful in it.
Suddenly, a red, safe-headed Podaman appears with a group of regular Podamans. The Lups shoot at it, but the Podaman uses his Play Together Collection Piece to transport them into a game. Noel says Lupin liked to play games with the Piece.
The Red Podaman says they can only escape after passing four levels or taking the Collection Piece. But the Red Podaman is actually not physically in the game, so that will be difficult.
Meanwhile at the GSPO, Keiichiro has something to tell the others. Jim Carter helps him present his findings.
Keiichiro describes their three Jurer friends’ connections to disappeared people. And together with Noel’s words to him when they fought in the cave, there’s no doubt. Kairi, Tooma and Umika are the Lupinrangers.
Back in the game, Kairi pulls out their first challenge: Make Red Podaman laugh with an impression.
Kairi knows exactly what to do. He starts doing an impersonation of Tooma’s aerobics. But Tooma makes him think better of it. Tooma makes Kairi freeze up and do the boring morphing pose instead. Red Podaman drops a wash basin on Kairi’s head.
Noel gives it a try. He does an impersonation of Keiichiro and goes on to describe how great the Pats are.
Back at the GSPO, the Pats continue piecing together all the clues that prove the Lups and the Jurer trio are the same. Tsukasa faints after realizing the three cute kids she fangirled over were them.
For the second round of the game, they must reveal something painful that happened recently. Umika talks about what they had to go through to retrieve Lupin Magnum. Kairi mentions their battle with Destra.
Red Podaman passes them through this round.
Down in the underworld, Dogranio shares a drink with Zamigo. Zamigo says he isn’t pursuing Dogranio’s seat since it seems like running this whole operation seems like a pain.
The third challenge is for the Lups to reveal a hidden talent. Noel steps up and shows off his parkour skills, but Red Podaman says that’s not a hidden talent. Umika has an idea though. She dresses Kairi, Tooma and Noel as beautiful women. Red Podaman loves it! He passes them this round.
Over at the GSPO, Tsukasa regains consciousness and remembers more clues from the past year. But Sakuya refuses to believe it since the Lups have always had alibis.
Tsukasa explains how each of their alibis has holes in it. Keiichiro suggests they test their alibi once more. Sakuya still can’t think Umika can be this kind of person. He points out how Keiichiro came to care about Kairi as well.
For the fourth round of the game, Red Podaman wants the Lups to show him their treasure so they display all their Pieces. That gives Red Podaman the chance to take all of their Pieces.
That includes Good Striker who is able to poke Red Podaman’s butt which then frees the Lups from the game. They retrieve their Pieces and Noel is able to take the Piece inside the Red Podaman’s safe. He then morphs into Super and finishes off Red Podaman.
Kairi leys Noel keep Cyclone.
Now that they’re free, they pay respects at the shrine.
Back at the GSPO, Commander Hilltop agrees to put the Jurer 3 under police surveillance. But Sakuya fights back. He wants a little more time to prove that Umika-chan and the others are innocent. He bows 90 degrees to ask for this request.
Down in the underworld, Goche has two new Pieces she wants to experiment with. Zamigo pops in with a request and offers her any amount for her to comply.
Well, that was a very typical flashback/recap episode and using the typical Sentai “trapped in a game” plot as well.
I will say that the flashback/recap format does fit with the Pats trying to piece together all the clues from the past year. Not so much with the Lups playing the game. But it makes sense for the Pats to be going back and remembering all things that were RIGHT UNDER THEIR NOSES!
Anyway, it appears that the Umika-Sakuya ship is definitely sailing. And it might even deliver an emotional payoff next week when it comes to both Sakuya and Umika struggling with their feelings, not just for each other, but for their team and the greater good, so to speak.
And I am definitely ready to finally get Zamigo up and running in the story as well. Come on now!
So overall, a pretty standard episode, but it’s an unavoidable annual event isn’t it?