The Pats are on their way to the scene of a crime. Keiichiro insists Ganglers are behind this one again, but Tsukasa says they can’t jump to conclusions. Sakuya commends Tsukasa being so level headed. But she says she’s just used to Keiichiro’s antics since they trained together.
Sakuya asks if Keiichiro knows what Tsukasa’s weakness is then. But she says it would be impossible for him to figure out.
They get to an apartment where a little girl, Momoka, disappeared from her room. Tsukasa’s eyes get wide when she sees a stuffed shark. She doesn’t point it out to the guys.
Keiichiro believes more now that this is the work of Ganglers and he promises to Momoka’s parents that they will find her.
On the way back to HQ, Tsukasa gets Sakuya to stop when she sees a strange man selling stuffed sharks out of his van. She mentions that it is the same toy from the girl’s room. They ask the man if they’ve seen Momoka’s family or remember them purchasing from him. But he creepily says no.
Just then, the Lups appear and force the man to reveal himself to be Ganglar Labrum Jaws.
The Pats morph and they and the Lups battle with Labrum Jaws. Tsukasa tells Keiichiro to hold back so as not to kill Labrum Jaws which would mean losing any hope of finding the kidnapped people. The hesitation allows Labrum Jaws to escape.
Kairi and Tooma hop up on the roof. Before Umika can join them, Tsukasa asks them to tell them anything they know about the Ganglar. Umika stops and tells them that Labrum Jaws’ collection piece has the power to disguise any object.
Sakuya is surprised Umika gave them that information.
Over in the underworld, Goche Ru Medu asks Dogranio Yaboon if he can buy some of the humans Labrum Jaws has kidnapped for her to use in her experiments. Destra Maajo snaps at her to buy the humans herself. But Dogranio Yaboon obliges and orders him to go buy people.
At the bistro, the boys are questioning Umika on why she blabbed their intel to the cops. She apologizes, but says there are kidnapped people involved. And they of all people should understand wanting those people home safely.
Kairi says they understand, but he knocks Umika in the head and proceeds to wonder where Labrum Jaws could be now.
Keiichiro and Sakuya visit all the other homes where people have disappeared and they find a stuffed shark in each one of them. Kairi and Tooma decide to follow them around in the hopes of being led to the Ganglar.
At HQ, Tsukasa and Jim Carter are working on finding any information in what they have so far. But no luck. Jim Carter grows frustrated and Commander Hilltop suggests he take a break while he goes to buy treats.
Alone, Tsukasa stares at the stuffed shark. She approaches it… and can’t help but want to grab it and hug it because it’s so cute. She wants to take it home and play with it.
She can’t help herself. She makes sure no one is around, she grabs it and she rubs it on her face.
Suddenly, she disappears from HQ. She finds herself in a cave prison along with other people. These are all the kidnapped, missing people.
Tsukasa realizes rubbing your face on the shark activates a warp switch that transports them here. She shoots at the metal bars and she ushers the prisoners out to safety.
But Labrum Jaws appears and knocks her around, upset that she has lost all his products. Tsukasa does her best to fight him off, but he is able to grab her tightly. He promises to sell her to the highest bidder.
Tsukasa can’t reach her blaster as Labrum Jaws twists her arm. She has no hope of the others figuring out how to get here. But just then, Keiichiro and Sakuya appear to save her.
The Pats reunite and they morph.
Umika is alone at the bistro when she sees the breaking news report of the kidnap victims being found on Mt. Tokiori. She immediately calls the boys and they meet up on the way to the mountain.
They find the Pats fighting Labrum Jaws and Podamans. They morph as well.
Tsukasa takes on Labrum Jaws and, seeing Umika, knocks him toward her. That allows Umika to retrieve the Collection piece. Tsukasa says that’s for the tip earlier.
Tsukasa finishes off all the Podamans herself and gets a shot in at Labrum Jaws. Keiichiro and Kairi both want to deliver the finisher. Good Striker suddenly flies in and decides he wants to work with the Pats today.
The Pats combine into Ugou and deliver a One Hit Strike at Labrum Jaws.
Goche Ru Medu enters and embiggens Labrum Jaws. With Good Striker linking up with the Pats this time, they are able to hop into PatKaiser. But Labrum Jaws still has his Collection piece power somehow and materializes several mouths to allow him to warp in and out of them. Tsukasa realizes this is how she was taken earlier.
Tsukasa freezes upon realizing this and the Lups decide to jump in. Goody Striker decides to hop on with the Lups instead so he leaves the Pats, causing PatKaiser to come apart and eject the Pats.
The Lups are now able to combine into LupinKaiser and they finish off Labrum Jaws themselves. Good Striker leaves to wherever he disappears to again.
Back at the bistro, Kogure places the Collection piece into his book. The Lups offer a bite to eat, but he says he is busy and must go.
Over at HQ, Jim Carter shows Tsukasa how Keiichiro and Sakuya rubbed their faces on the shark to find her. Jim Carter records everything about their investigations. Commander Hilltop commends them on another job well done and gives them some treats.
Tsukasa can’t believe Keiichiro would think to rub their face on the stuffed animal. He says Tsukasa has always done that. He once saw her while they were trainees sneak a face rub in after class.
Tsukasa is horrified. Commander Hilltop, Sakuya and Jim Carter think that’s cute.
It is definitely great to finally have the Pats in the spotlight and in a positive light as well. The Lups have definitely been front and center the first three episodes, almost to the point of shortchanging the Pats and their characters to allow that.
So it was great to finally give the Pats a chance to step forward and actually have a chance to show they’re not incompetent fools compared to the seemingly invincible Lups. The Pats were one step ahead of the Lups this time instead of the other way around.
This was a great Tsukasa focus episode as well. She immediately became my favorite just based on that scene in the cave saving the prisoners and taking on Labrum Jaws by herself. That was badass!
But then they had to go and force the Lups to finish off Labrum Jaws at the end when the Pats could’ve done it themselves. Using the excuse of Goody Striker being fickle or Tsukasa freezing up at the idea of getting eaten by a stuffed animal was actually pretty bad. I get that they might want to introduce that concept of Good Striker’s personality AND that they want to make sure to sell both mechas each week. But a good writer can do both of those things without ruining what had been a great episode up to that point.
So while it was awesome to see the cops in action most of the episode, the Lups stealing their thunder at the end really annoyed me. The balance between the Lups and Pats in how they get a focus and the spotlight really will be interesting to see moving forward. I really hope it’s more equal than what we’ve gotten so far. I thought this episode was going to help fix that, but it only made the whole idea of the Lups one upping the Pats feel more tiring.
Elsewhere, I enjoyed the interactions between Tsukasa and Umika. The give and take was a perfect example of how to keep the two teams involved with each other without reverting to the one is better than the other laziness. I also loved Umika pointing out the “We of all people should know…” about wanting to save disappeared people. It should have taken Kairi and Tooma down a peg, but it didn’t, unfortunately.
Umika might just be what helps keep Kairi and Tooma grounded. But I’m rooting for the day the Pats can knock them down a few pegs as well.
The idea of human trafficking with Labrum Jaws was pretty heavy. And then they throw in that Goche Ru Medu experiments on humans. Well then! That certainly adds a whole new dimension to our gangster villains this season.
Also, more great, new camera angles used in that first morphed battle. Very refreshing.
Overall, most of this episode was great fun. Maybe my favorite of the four so far. But the end definitely kept this from being an excellent episode. I really, really hope the balance works out better moving forward. It was a small step in the right direction this episode, but I hope they do more.