The episode opens where the last episode ended: Akasaka steps on the accelerator in an attempt to crash through the barricade, and the Yamainu prepare to fire the anti-tank weapon. Suddenly, the Yamainu attempting to fire falls back with a gunshot wound to his right shoulder. The Yamainu in the van quickly realize he was hit by a sniper who, since they did not hear the gunshot, must be over 400 meters away. They attempt to fire at the oncoming care with machine guns to no avail, and Jirō and Akasaka crash through their barrier.
In the mountains we see a flash which is the reflection from Kasai's rifle site. Acting as his spotter, Shion declares that their car was armored with the "Sonozaki family's preferred bulletproof plating." When the Yamainu attempt to pursue, their tires are shot out by Kasai.
The scene shifts to Akasaka waiting outside a phone booth as Jirō talks on the phone. The voice on the other side is the same as that of the man he called in his hotel. The man asks rhetorically if Takano is the mastermind. Jirō affirms this, "regrettably." He orders the man to take control of the Irie Institution. He stresses that the Yamainu have fired their weapons above ground, and it is only a matter of time before the villagers find out. He then requests the deployment the Banken unit. The man agrees. After Jirō hangs up, he sighs, then turns to Akasaka, who asks him if the Banken unit is strong enough to take down the Yamainu. Jirō explains that if the Yamainu are a general purpose covert operations unit, the Banken is a full combat unit. Akasaka asks him what he will do next. Jirō looks surprised at the question, and Akasaka continues that he is thinking of returning to Hinamizawa. "Everyone is still fighting." Jirō asks him if he is sure given how they barely escaped. Akasaka responds that Rika is still waiting, and he has not fulfilled his promise. Jirō agrees to go back to Hanimzawa with him since he also has "unfinished business."
Akasaka repeats "unfinished question" as a question, but we do not hear the answer since the scene shifts to Okonogi running through the mountain forest trying to raise his units on his headset. He receives only static. He sees his exhausted men and dismisses them to their vehicles at the base of the mountain. Takano arrives shocked and demands to know why the men are leaving when, "They're right in front of us!" She turns to Okonogi and demands to know if he is disobeying her. He merely laughs and remarks, "far from it." At that point, Takano sees together on a hill. Mion, Satoko, Rika, Hanyū, Rena, and Keiichi standing together at the top of the hill. Okonogi ignores her demands he seize Rika, tells her to "Just shut up for a moment," then identifies himself to the group and asks to express his respect to their leader. Mion identifies herself. Okonogi declares she has won. Stunned, Takano protests, but he explains that their barricade was breached and it is only a matter of time until a unit arrives to put them down. He silences Takano further protests and suggests that, with proper training, Mion could succeed in the SAS or Delta Force. Mion laughs. The only thing she wants to do is be the leader of her club. She identifies the rest as: "Magician of Words, Keiichi," Rena and her "Take-it-Home Mode," "Trap specialist Satoko," "Sly fox Rika-chan," and "Our promising newbie, Hanyū," who glares severely but with normal pupils.
Okonogi laughs heartily while Takano renews her protests. Okonogi sighs that though the battle is over, "it is Princess' orders!" As he aims his gun at the group, a helicopter appears giving an announcement to all members of the Irie Institution: at 12:30 P.M. the authority of the Irie Institution has been frozen, and all members must disarm themselves and surrender immediately. Looking down from the helicopter's perspective, we can see Hanyū standing between Rena and Rika. Okonogi lowers his gun and starts to walk away. Takano insists that "It's not over yet!" but he ignores her. Members of the Banken descend from the helicopter. At this point we see the group, but Hanyū is missing. Satoko crouches and asks if it is "over now." As Rika responds that she does not know since "This has never happened before," Keiichi puts his hand on Mion's shoulder. She turns to see him and Rena smiling.
Akasaka calls her name and Rika leaps through the air to hug him in tears. He explains that the Irie Clinic has been taken under control under Irie. He adds that members of the Yamainu are surrendering. He then notes that they have taken charge of "that boy that was will them, too." Satoko looks surprised and asks, "Boy?" Rika turns to her and tells her she is glad, but Satoko does not understand.
Keiichi then notices Hanyū's absence. The scene changes to another area of the forest with the voice of Takano angrily declaring that she does not understand what is going on. Okonogi explains that with the arrival of the Banken they are at a "stalemate." He laughs at her suggestion they fight against the Banken. Jirō escaped and
contacted Tokyo. Okonogi receives a call from the command vehicle. They relate "Cuckoo's final message: 'Initiate cleanup operations.'" He looks at Takano and replies, "Roger that!" He then gives them permission to surrender to the Banken. Takano renews her protests declaring she will somehow contact Nomura. Losing his patience, Okonogi declares "We have lost the game! Being poor losers isn't going to do either of us any good."
Finally sensing something is wrong, Takano asks him what he is talking about. He informs her that her "role is already over." As she protests, he snatches Takano Hifumi's scrapbook away from her and throws it to the ground. As she chases after it he informs her that no one really cared about the research. All that was important was whether or not Tokyo could reap political benefits from it. He then informs her that Tokyo still has a role for her. He hands her his gun, informing her that it has only one bullet. He then asks her to "kindly put a bullet through your head." As she looks shocked, he gently reminds her that this is not uncommon: "The lizard sometimes has to shed its tail." "The client" can then wrap up the matter by putting the blame squarely upon her, and Tokyo is already making the arrangements for this. When she starts to cry refusing, he calmly continues by saying after he tried to pursuade her to surrender, she resisted, and he had not choice but to shot her. "That's how the scenario has been drawn up."
Takano demands to know who came up with this scenario. He replies it was Nomura. Takano now starts to scratch vigorously at her neck with both her hands. Okonogi declares her "helpless" and fires two warning shots at her. "A pierrot dances his way off the stage," he continues. He fires again, but she flees screaming with the gun he gave her and Takano Hifumi's scrapbook. Okonogi smiles and muses that he is being far too soft on her.
After the commercial break, we hear a communique that the leader of the Yamainu has been captured but Takano is still on the run. The scene shift to her tripping over a tree root. The thesis slides out of the scrapbook and drops of water appear. It starts to rain. Once again, Takano finds herself desperate in the rain. We see her empty shoe and her slowly walking and sobbing barefoot that she does not want to die as she continues to scratch at her neck. We then see two feet in front of her, and she looks to see Hanyū staring at her with bright
red spots in her pupils. She is dressed as she was when she was with the other children. The manga version has her wearing her shrine maid's clothing. "Child of man," Hanyū asks in one of the rare times she uses her adult voice, "What did you seek from this world." If Takano recognizes her as the goddess of the shrine or as one of the children, she does not indicate it. The manga version makes it clear that she does recognize her as the goddess she confronted. Instead, Takano sobs that she simply wanted to be told, "It's okay to live." She has flashback memories of her happily eating a child's meal with her parents, gaining another flag. Then being dragged by her hair into the orphanage toilet. Then promising with Takano Hifumi to work together. The scene returns to her with her throat red from her continued scratching. She asks why it came to this. She raises the gun and surmises that it is retribution for her sins.
"I am not human," Hanyū interrupts, "I am one who stands above man. An existence that forgives man's sins." She explains that the sins of man cannot be forgiven by man, but she can forgive man. She then declares that she forgives Takano. Takano declares it is "impossible" and "too late." At that moment, the scene is broken by Rika's voice calling Hanyū. The rest of the group join them, and Takano seems to stir from her thoughts. She laughs and declares that she will be able to "go out with a bang at the very, very end."
She raises the gun at them and demands that Mion step forward if she does not want her friends shot. Mion steps forward as Takano blames her for her plan failing. She laughingly asks for some "pay back." Keiichi declares her "desperate," which Takano agrees. She has only one bullet, "but as long as I have one, nee?!" Mion orders that everyone stand behind her. She then threatens that if Takano hits one of her friends, she will put her through a fate "worse than death!" "Scary!" Takano replies sarcastically.
Mion demands that no one else move and nothing will make her happier than protecting all of them. Takano then asks her that since they play a lot of games has she ever played "Old Maid." Mion replies that they never do, they play "Old Geezer." Takano replies that the rules are about the same: "The sin in this world is just like Old Maid. Everyone pushes the one old maid onto one another." She has drawn the Old Maid and will take revenge for it by shooting Mion. Speaking again in her adult voice, Hanyū steps in front of Mion. "You have shown enough bravery for now." Her pupils contain the bright red spots. She states it is her role to accept the Old Maid. When Rika protests, Hanyū responds in her child voice: "I had a lot of fun in this world."
"Fine! DIE!" Takano shouts and fires. As the red fills Hanyū's pupils the bullet seems to deviate from her head to strike the tree behind her. The anime does not make clear exactly why the bullet deviates: Hanyū using her powers? The belief of the rest of the children? Whichever, Takano stares stunned. She drops the scrapbook, and wonders how she could miss at this range.
The rain starts to dissipate. Rika, in her adult voice, asks Takano and Hanyū if they listened to Mion. She notes that Takano laughed off Old Geezer thinking it is the same as Old Maid. On the contrary, if one adds the missing card in the game, Old Geezer has no losers. Hanyū was the missing card, and the world became free of losers. "That is the answer Rika Furude reached at the end of her thousand year journey in search of a miracle."
The Banken arrive to take Takano in custody. As she scratches at her throat, she suspects she will be held responsible for everything. She screams as they start to take her away, demanding to take "Grandfather's scrapbook" with her. Jirō's voice is heard demanding they stop. He identifies himself as "First Lieutenant Tomitake of the Investigation Bureau" and states the Investigation Bureau will take her into custody. When the Banken insist they have been given orders to take her to Tokyo immediately, Jirō draws their attention to the scratches on her neck as well as all over her body. He states they suspect she has contracted "a considerably high level of Hinamizawa Syndrome." The Banken immediately let go of her, and Jirō orders her taken immediately to the Irie Institution Head Quarters and to have Irie prepare for treatment. He takes her into his arms. She cries his name as she holds on to him.
The scene shifts to evening during the festival. Mion declares she will win a stuffed Teddy bear by shooting it with an air rifle. When she fails, chibi Keiichi teases her only to be assaulted by rapid air rifle fire from an angry chibi Mion. This is halted by the sound of a drum that announces the start of Rika's performance.
During the end credits and music, we see Rika perform her dance. The scene shifts to balls of cotton floating in the river. Shion arrives with Kasai and reveals she has a ball of cotton. Rika places her ball in the river and all watch a number of balls float by.
The scene shifts to the outside of her home she shares with Satoko. We hear Satoko complain that if Rika does not wake up she will be late. Rika and Hanyū are curled up next to one another on the futon. Rika happily awakens. Satoko is cooking breakfast. As Rika walks towards a wall, the waking Hanyū mutters that she "can't eat anymore." Rika tears a sheet of paper off of the wall calendar as Hanyū watches. They both laugh like
children. Satoko scolds them to put away their futons. They agree and run off revealing that the day is, at last, July 1, 1983.
Instead of chibi Rika and Hanyū after the credits finish, the scene appears as a flashback outside Takano's child home. We hear her voice as a child--Tanashi Miyoko--declare that she is going outside to play. The child runs out of the house, down the road, turns a corner, and we hear a crash and see her fall to the ground. She looks up and apologizes to a young woman looking down at her as the music turns ominous.
The woman's identity is ambiguous and the source of much speculation which may be reviewed in Rika's profile. She appears as an adult Rika, is voiced by the same actress using Rika's adult voice, is dressed similar to Rika, and, for what it is worth, when the manga artist "teased" her vow in drawings for volume end-pages, he based his adult Rika on this character as she dejectedly looks down at her chest declaring they have shown no sign of getting bigger!
With that ambiguity noted, the adult Rika looks down on the child as the music turns more gentle. She asks, "Do you want to live? Or do you want to die?" The confused Miyoko responds that she wants to live. "I see. Then off you go. Even though your friends aren't home. Off you go."
Miyoko thinks for a bit and asks, "They're not home?" then asks, "Then what if I want to die?"
Adult Rika brightens slightly and responds, "You will obtain another happy meal flag." Miyoko suddenly grouses "How mean!" that her parents would go to the department store without telling her. She starts to run away yelling, "How mean! How mean!" Adult Rika asks her if she is sure: "You won't regret it, right?" Miyoko stops and asks why she would regret it. With a sly smile, adult Rika responds that she will not tell her, "because I am a meanie!" Miyoko thinks for a moment, then tells "Big Sister" not to worry. "No matter what happens, Mom and Dad are with me!" She runs away leaving adult Rika watching her.
The scenes still retaining their flash back view show Miyoko being patted on the head by her father as she holds her mother's hand. They board a bus. We then see a bus driving down a main city street. We see the driver have a heart attack, and the bus swerve into oncoming traffic. The scene goes black.
It is now night outside Miyoko's home. Switching to the inside, we see her place a French happy meal flag in her box of flags in her room as she declares she now has twenty. She then asks "kamisama" if she will be able to live out a happy life now. Her mother instructs her to brush her teeth before going to sleep. She replies "yes!" as she puts her box away.
Outside their home, adult Rika stands. She turns, smiles slightly, then walks away.