Tokyo Vice Episodes 4 and 5: Recap and Ending Explained: Like any sort of secret organization going back generations, the Yakuza too feels ancient, steeped in tradition, its mix of modernity sometimes clashing with the perspective of the ancient wisdom occupying and sustaining that organization. Outsiders aren’t allowed into secretive organizations, and when they are shown a glimpse, it is mostly followed by an ask for favors in return.
Before we get into the latest episode, have a look at the recap of Episodes 1, 2 & 3 here
Tokyo Vice Episodes 4 and 5 Recap:
Jake in the lion’s den
The previous episode showed Jake being kidnapped by the Chihara-kai and brought to their stronghold, where the episode opens. He finally comes face to face with Hitoshi Ishida, the head of the clan, who had come to know about Jake through one of his subordinates, Sato. Sato had pitched to Ishida that Jake’s close camaraderie with the cops might come in handy for Chihara Kai, due to which Jake was brought to the “lion’s den”.
The lion needs a favor, to identify the rat in their organization. The rat, or “mole,” is spreading rumors about Ishida bribing the cops, which led to the cops defying tradition and refusing to drink Ishida’s tea whenever they came to meet him. A subtle way of showing Japanese traditions is by masking overt emotions of trust or betrayal with the simple action of drinking tea. This leads to a cascading effect as his enforcers start believing that Ishida is a police informant. Both these rumours are harmful to perception, and Ishida is keen on changing that, lest he is forced to dig his own grave as per tradition.
Jake accepts the mission begrudgingly and is dropped off at home by Sato, who confirms Jake’s suspicion that he had brought Jake on Ishida’s radar. The friendship between Jake and Sato is one of the more fascinating wrinkles in the narrative; a bond formed due to a shared love of American pop culture, here being Backstreet Boys and American boy bands. The second fascinating friendship that Jake shares are with Detective Katagiri, whom he contacts to inform him about the mole. With years of experience dealing with the Yakuza, Katagiri agrees to find him, that experience providing the hunch that the rival yakuza gang Tozawa is responsible for planting the mole inside Chihara Kai, such that the gang can tear itself apart and Tozawa can sweep in to collect the pieces.
The loan shark investigation:
Jake is not willing to give up the investigation of the deaths caused by the victims’ being in debt with the bank in the previous episodes, be it the stabbing near the railway station, or the man dousing himself with gasoline and setting himself on fire. Jake discusses the common link between these two deaths: the same loan company with whom these victims were in debt too. Jake’s editor, Maruyama, remembers a news story that had run previously, depicting a similar case of suicide by the wife because the husband owed a lot of money to the credit loan company. Initiating contact with the husband, they were able to acquire the address, in no small part due to Maruyama’s revealing her Korean heritage to the distraught man, much to Jake’s surprise.
They learn from there that the bank had been convincing their customers to take their insurance policies and the credit loan company named as the beneficiary at the event of a death. The customers would be hounded by unknown callers once the premium dates had passed. Once these victims committed suicide, the credit loan company would swoop in, collecting the money from these insurance payoffs as the bank policy dictated that in the event of death, the family would relinquish all rights to the said insurance policy. Monetizing suicide, an insidious crime, Maruyama and Jake race to stop at the address where they figure the corporate headquarters is located, but they are met with a dead end.
Samantha’s secret and origin story:
American ex-pat Samantha (Rachel Keller) has big ambitions to open her own nightclub. They soon run the risk of being thwarted when she goes out to dinner with Matsuo, a guy she had met in the previous episode. Matsuo reveals that his client is the person Samantha had stolen from and escaped to Tokyo with, to the tune of 40 million dollars. Before Matsuo could elaborate on his threat, Samantha left in a rage, which only compounds when her boss from Onyx threatens Samantha to not steal his girls from his club for her own, a plan she had been keeping on the down-low.
To top it all off, Sato threatens Samantha to pay the customs taxes to the yakuza, as her plans to become a future bar owner would mean a new avenue for the Chihara-Kai gang to earn money. When Samantha finally returns home, she realizes that someone is keeping a watch on her house. She also faces a blast from her past in the form of a red bag she had kept hidden in her wardrobe. It is revealed that Samantha used to work for an ultra-Christian society called “Choose the Right”, having come from a highly conservative family and sharing her father’s religious beliefs, and had come to Japan in 1994 to spread the word of the Lord. After 18 months, she becomes disillusioned, steals 4 million yen in cash from the organizational fund, and goes underground in Tokyo to start a new life. Matsuo is after her on behalf of his clients and has threatened to extradite her to the United States so she can face punishment for her crimes, regardless of whether she can pay them back.
Jake meets with Tozawa while Maruyama conducts her investigation:
Meanwhile, Sato meets Jake at the Onyx bar, and after a good time with the escorts, they go out to a fancy Japanese restaurant. There, Jake finally comes face-to-face with Shinzo Tozawa, the architect behind most of the troubles in the narrative and Jake’s life. He also meets Sugita, who becomes important to the loan shark case later. Jake confronts Tozawa with a bravado produced due to his unfamiliarity with interactions with the yakuza and the good old American sense of confrontation.
He manages to make an impression on Tozawa, who warns him that good reporters are usually not allowed to stay here in Tokyo, as they acquire enemies, and “how would you be a man if you don’t acquire enemies?” Interestingly, this amount of bravado and loud confidence could come from Tozawa, a man adorned with a half body tattoo of a mythical dragon, which the camera is very fond of luxuriating on while Tozawa is in the middle of sexual dalliances. Tozawa’s deteriorating health makes these dalliances impossible. Conversely, his bravado is increasing, which increases his hunger to take over all the remaining turfs of Tokyo for himself.
At the same time, Jake’s editor, Maruyama, is running a parallel investigation on her own into an unusual murder that might have connections with an older story Maruyama is interested in. As explored in the previous episodes, the police are more interested in meeting their quota of closed cases than in running a full-scale investigation. As a result, they put behind a culprit they believed to be the accused, but Maruyama is not convinced because the confessional statement of the accused is incongruent with the wounds sustained by the victim. It is an interesting subplot that might go somewhere, provided the show doesn’t drop it.
The mole at Chihara-Kai revealed:
Katagiri is successful in extracting the identity of the mole in Chihara-Kai, which he conveys to Jake via a sealed envelope. Jake, as promised, delivers the information to Ishida and, ignoring Katagiri’s advice to not accept any favors from the Yakuza, asks Ishida about the loan shark company threatening the customers, driving them to suicide.
Ishida takes the information supplied by him to Jake and confronts the mole in the Chihara-Kai gang, revealed to be Kume. Kume is one of Ishida’s trusted soldiers and also Sato’s mentor, who saved him from the streets. It is revealed that Kume became disillusioned with the traditional ways of the yakuza, key among which is the yakuza’s insistence on not selling mind-altering or addictive drugs. A rule which Tozawa is not averse to breaking and selling methamphetamine, thus becoming more powerful from a financial and turf standpoint, due to which younger and ambitious members of the Yakuza are jumping ship, like Kume.
Kume knew that Ishida would never agree to sell drugs, even at the risk of destroying his organization or being left behind. As a result, Kume intended to depose Ishida from the helm of Chihara-Kai and replace him with Tozawa. Thanks to Katagiri and Jake, Ishida learns of Kume’s betrayal and asks Sato to either kill Kume, his mentor, and prove Sato’s loyalty to Ishida, or jump himself off of the building. Kume, to save Sato from damning himself, jumps off and commits suicide. His body is later found by Katagiri, who requests Ishida to not tamper with the body, as is customary of the yakuza in their dealings with their “rats”. That would incite a gang war, which no one wants, especially Katagiri, and so he brokers a peace treaty between Ishida and Tozawa’s clan, with the zen attitude of a man knowing full well of the balancing act he is playing every second.
The loan shark investigation concluded:
Jake takes Ishida’s hint and explores the angle, thus uncovering that the dead clients had first approached Suzuno Financials, where they were refused and forced to go to the credit loan company. The owner of Suzuno Financials, Mr. Sugita, is the person Jake had seen the previous night when he interacted with Tozawa. In a customary interview with Sugita, which later morphs into an investigative interview, Jake uncovers the conspiracy of Suzuno financials with Tozawa’s organization due to Sugita confessing in detail but off the record.
Jake decides to later go to Sugita’s house to scan the incriminating wire transfer documents, but Jake reaches Sugita’s home to find him already dead, having committed suicide by electrocution. He had left a suicide note, taking all the blame for the suicides on his shoulders and putting Tozawa in the clear. As Jake says, the case is closed, but Sugita manages to pull all its teeth out. Jake, however, tries to continue the investigation into Tozawa, but it is shut down by the chief editor of the Meicho, but Maruyama supports him and advises patience.
Sato and Samantha:
Jake takes Katagiri’s advice and goes to Onyx to get drunk and take Samantha out. Samantha is distracted by Matsuo’s presence at Onyx and unable to interact with Jake as he intends her to be, and leaves the club floor. She has a tense interaction with Sato in her locker room, where they finally kiss and consummate their relationship. The evolution of the relationship between Sato and Samantha feels believable, as they are both outsiders who have suffered through their share of losses. It also manages to strengthen the love triangle between Sato, Samantha, and Jake, which previously felt like it was leaning heavily towards Jake’s perspective. Samantha decides to deliver the money Matsuo requires from her, but Matsuo reveals his true motives to her-he wants sexual favours on the regular, and Samantha is helpless and unable to counter this blackmail.
Tokyo Vice Episode 5 Ending Explained:
Sato goes back to the Chihara-Kai clan’s stronghold, where he finds almost all the guards murdered. Moving in slowly, he finds Ishida battling alone with three assassins. With great difficulty, Sato manages to kill one of them by cutting the knife deep into his chest. When Sato goes to fight another of the assassins, who had already gotten the better of Ishida, Sato is unable to completely defeat that assassin, due to which he is almost killed by the assassin choking his neck until a sword is driven through the assassin’s chest by Ishida. The episode ends with the bodies of the assassins lying dead, Sato gasping for air and Ishida wounded, the promise of an impending gang war with the Tozawa clan up in the air.
A far stronger pair of episodes than the last two, the show excels whenever it focuses on the details of Jake’s time at the Meicho and his investigation and dealings with the Yakuza, as well as the Yakuza’s internal politics. The Samantha subplot is precariously in danger of being a completely uninteresting one unless they manage to tie it into the main plot successfully.
TOKYO VICE EPISODES 4 & 5 LINKS – IMDB
TOKYO VICE EPISODES 4 & 5 CAST – ANSEL ELGORT, KEN WATANABE, RACHEL KELLER