With Stark’s power of changing people’s faces, it is very possible Katsuragi was able to fake his own death. Sento believes more and more that Blood Stark is indeed Katsuragi.
In Katsuragi’s research data, a search for Stark shows him explaining the Transteam Gun which can do a whole host of things, including raising a Kamen Rider’s Hazard Level.
So if they can reveal Katsuragi is Blood Stark, Ryuga will be cleared.
Sawa asks if they can fight Faust with only two FullBottles left. Sento says it’ll be difficult especially with only the Lock and Dragon FullBottles which even if a Best Match are difficult to handle.
The only chance might be if Ryuga can sync with the Dragon friend and henshin himself.
Meanwhile, the other two Prime Ministers are checking in with Acting PM Gentoku. They warn Gentoku to take care of the current situation as soon as possible.
When the PM holograms leave, Blood Stark arrives and asks why Gentoku is hiding Pandora’s Box. Two guards come in, but Blood Stark literally wastes them.
Sento says Ryuga is Rider compatible if what Blood Stark said about the Hazard Level is true. That’s why Sento, expecting this day would come, created the Dragon friend to use only one bottle to henshin.
The dragon isn’t readily willing to let Ryuga insert the FullBottle in him. But just then, a sighting comes in and Sento and Ryuga head out.
They encounter henshined Gentoku, flanked by Faust Mecha and Sento henshins himself. Ryuga tries fighting the Faust Mecha himself without the FullBottle power up.
But the Key Dragon power is too powerful for Sento again and he is forced to dehenshin or otherwise burn to death. Ryuga hurries over to him. Gentoku demands they hand over the remaining FullBottles, but Blood Stark arrives. He is a little annoyed by Gentoku acquiring FullBottles behind his back. He offers to help Sento and Ryuga. But Ryuga, convinced this is Katsuragi, is ready to fight him and prove his innocence.
Ryuga grabs the Dragon FullBottle and summons Dragon friend. But when he inserts the Bottle, the Dragon rejects him.
Blood Stark allows Sento and Ryuga to escape and they head back to the cafe.
Ryuga wants to know why the Dragon didn’t accept the FullBottle. Sento explains and Misora translates that Ryuga needs to have a strong desire to save someone.
While Ryuga tries to get in the Dragon’s good graces, Misora notices Sawa looking under the steps where she found the listening device.
Sawa is in a rush to leave, but Misora follows her upstairs to confront her. Sawa pretends not to know what Misora is talking about. Before Sawa can say anything more, Ryuga comes upstairs and yells at Misora for leaving the fridge door open and possibly allowing Dragon friend to leave.
Sawa is the one who leaves though. She quickly calls Nanba who has just met with Gentoku who gives a report on the progress of Pandora’s Box. Sawa tells Nanba what happened, but he merely says “I got it. Enough.”
Back at the cafe, Sento pretends to say out loud what Ryuga is thinking. He suggests Ryuga visit Kasumi’s grave.
Sento then asks Ryuga why he wants to become a Rider. If it’s only to reveal Blood Stark’s identity, it’s not going to work. He grabs Ryuga’s shirt and says the only way to obtain power is with great conviction and resolve. Doing it half-heartedly won’t cut it.
Next morning, Ryuga visits Kasumi’s grave at the location Sento mentioned. There he finds a letter addressed to him.
Still recovering from his injuries, Sento continues working. Misora tries to tell him about Sawa. But before she can, Sento gets an e-mail from her. Only, it’s a video of her being turned into a Smash, sent by Gentoku.
Sawa Smash is already rampaging downtown. Misora says Sento is in no condition to go out and fight. And that this is a trap to just get the remaining FullBottles. But Sento goes anyway.
Sento finds Sawa and henshins to Key Dragon. Gentoku watches as Sento fights Sawa. He fights through the power surges, but can’t take anymore and is forced to dehenshin.
Gentoku approaches Sento, but Ryuga arrives. Sento tosses Ryuga the Dragon FullBottle.
Ryuga remembers the letter and it is from Kasumi. She apologizes for being the reason he was banned from fighting and she asks him to forget about her as soon as he can and move on with his life. She wants him to keep moving forward.
Sento stops Gentoku from attacking Ryuga, but gets knocked aside for his effort. Sawa Smash also knocks Ryuga aside and he remembers the rest of the letter, Kasumi asks him to use his fists to defend and protect many people. She promises to look over him from afar.
Ryuga gets the resolve that he needs. He runs over to grab Sento’s Driver and attaches it to himself. Dragon friend flies in and transforms. Ryuga inserts the Dragon FullBottle and then inserts the new Cross-Z Dragon device into the Driver.
Ryuga henshins to Cross-Z.
Sento is excited to see it.
Ryuga unleashes a Dragonic Finish at Sawa and then turns his attention to Gentoku. Gentoku can’t believe how powerful Ryuga can be. Ryuga delivers a Million Slash at Gentoku who quickly retreats.
Ryuga thanks Kasumi for the strength. “You really did it,” Sento says.
Ryuga holds his hand out for Sento and gets him to stand. Ryuga knows it was Sento who left the letter at Kasumi’s grave. Regardless of where it came from, Ryuga thanks him.
Sento wants to hear it again, but Ryuga points to Sawa and tells him to hurry. Sento collects the elements and Sawa is back to her normal body.
“I see. He threw me away…”
She admits that she betrayed them. “I am a spy.”
Finally! I think this was a great episode for Ryuga’s introduction as Kamen Rider Cross-Z.
What I like about it most is that it’s great to see the secondary Rider actually getting the power. The last few seasons, at least as I remember right now, all had the secondary Rider(s) getting their power off-screen and then just having them pop up. Sometimes the character doesn’t even show up until (or even after!) the Rider debuts.
Not only seeing Ryuga henshin for the first time, but seeing him develop and grow to be able to handle that power was just great. I have really enjoyed his journey so far and seeing that development makes his first henshin all the more meaningful and satisfying.
This episode was also another great step forward for the Sento-Ryuga ship friendship and bond. Such a great dynamic between the two and something we also haven’t seen in a while.
And also evidenced again with the return of their intro narration.
This episode was definitely a Ryuga-focus and rightly so for the debut. But little tidbits about Gentoku, Misora and Sawa’s characters as well. Some reinforcement for what Gentoku is capable of in the scheming sense. We get to see Misora with her confrontation of Sawa. And of course Sawa quickly getting tossed aside when no longer needed. Should be interesting to see where they take Sawa from here. Her working for the enemy certainly didn’t last long. lol
So in this episode, we get on-screen confirmation of “Blood STALK,” but I refuse to use that. lol Too awkward and I like Blood StaRk more. Hehe. But on Blood Stark, it’s definitely interesting to see where they’re taking the character. It seems to be moving along a very typical and tried and tested path for Kamen Rider villain-turned-ally. But it’s definitely premature to think that’s what will happen here.
Overall, a great and exciting episode. And a satisfying debut for Cross-Z.