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Tokyo Vice Episode 8: Recap, Ending Explained & Complete Season Review

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Tokyo Vice Season Finale (Episode 8): Recap and Ending Explained: In Full Disclosure, I had thought Tokyo Vice would be releasing three episodes this week. It could have been me internally manifesting my love for the show so that I can enjoy three more hours of content in this world. But judging by how the show ends this week, Tokyo Vice is poised to be an ongoing show with multiple seasons, as the episode doesn’t end with any definitive closure, but with a promise of investigation with continuing vigour.

Before we get into the latest episode, have a look at the recap of Episodes 6 & 7 here


Jake and Samantha look into Yoshino: 

Following the last episode’s ending, we see Samantha waking up at Jake’s place, with no Jake. She finds a note promising they will find Polina, the hostess who went missing at the start of Episode 7, and that Jake had Meicho to investigate. As Jake returns from the meicho, Samantha looks around Jake’s room, her attention finally turning to the walls covered with newspaper clips about Tozawa.

As Jake returns with breakfast for her, he informs her that the reporter covering the small-town areas, including Yoshino, has come up short as there has been no information about any foreign hostess near that area. Samantha vehemently declines Jake’s suggestion about filing a missing person report with the department, as the priority of the police department in solving cases is very well known to Samantha. Enquiring how Samantha knows about Yoshino, Jake realises that Tozawa’s connection to the bar, where Polina had accrued a huge debt, might work to his advantage. He knows one obsessive chronicler of Tozawa, but to let the man speak his mind, they would need to acquire some crystal meth.

Jake takes Samantha to Ukai Haruki’s place, where they both try to convince Haruki that they are fanboys of the Yakuza culture, especially regarding Tozawa. Haruki was initially buying the deception until the mention of Yoshino put him on guard. Suspicious that they are journalists, Haruki starts pestering them until Jake shows them the quart of meth they had procured, Jake emphasizing that Haruki would be able to use this Shabu only if he gives them pertinent information about Yoshino. Haruki counter-offers, suggesting that both Jake and Samantha join him in “partying” right now, which Samantha accepts and convinces a very reluctant Jake.

As Haruki expertly mixes the Shabu and offers them, Sam warns Jake to go easy on it. Jake, being the newbie, takes in way too much and immediately starts tripping. Samantha, playing along with Haruki asks him about Yoshino, to which Haruki informs her that Yoshino isn’t a town, but a boat owned by Tozawa, where he brings in hostesses for his important guests as entertainment. Disturbed to know that Polina might be on a “sex cruise”, Samantha gathers up the tripping Jake and manages to sidestep Haruki’s advances, by kicking him in his private parts. As the two leave Samantha tries to bring Jake’s attention. Jake, realizing how alone he is, with all his sources burnt and finding himself between a rock and a hard place, starts panicking, to which Samantha kisses him, calming him down. On getting a call from his boss, Maruyama, Jake finally comes to his senses, and they both part ways.

Katagiri and Miyamoto secretly conspire: 

We see Katagiri at the beginning of this episode in a good mood, joking with his daughters, and when asked by his wife about the “big fish”, Katagiri reassures her, stating he will reel him in, though it is taking a bit more time than usual. At the police station, Miyamoto comes up to Katagiri, knowing that Katagiri is cognizant of Miyamoto’s involvement with Tozawa. Miyamoto tries to gain the upper hand by stating that Katagiri’s only source of proof is video footage of Miyamoto walking into an empty room and rummaging in an empty container, but Katagiri remains unperturbed.

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Seeing Katagiri refusing to budge, Miyamoto finally reveals that he had been in Tozawa’s pocket for a while now, his reputation having been built on tips given by Tozawa’s men, which led him to solve cases. But when those tips stopped, Miyamoto started offering Tozawa information regarding investigations, and thus a partnership was born, consisting of information trading and a cash payoff to Miyamoto. Miyamoto then asks Katagiri whether he should hand in his letter of resignation or confess to his superiors, to which Katagiri declines both those suggestions. He takes into account Miyamoto’s avarice but also knows his abilities as a cop, so they both start a plan to frame Tozawa.

Meanwhile, Tozawa was injecting himself with his medicine when Misaki entered. Upon being asked about her and Jake, Misaki tries to assuage Tozawa by stating that Jake had followed her, and there was no ulterior motive between them, emphasizing her love for him. But when Tozawa asks her to perform sexually on him, she declines on account of his health. Enraged, Tozawa punches her and orders her to leave, which she does, aware of his wife and children looking at her accusingly as she crosses the drawing-room to leave his apartment. Tozawa is later visited by Miyamoto, where Miyamoto explains and tries to convince Tozawa that Katagiri is bluffing, and acting under Ishida’s orders. Seemingly convinced, Tozawa thanks Miyamoto, stating that their business is over, to which Miyamoto counters by convincing Tozawa to not give up on this existing relationship.

Miyamoto later meets with Katagiri at a restaurant where they outline their plan. Tozawa is freaked out by the airport raid and is now bringing in all his drugs through a port south of Yokosuka and storing them in an old warehouse there. He wants Miyamoto there to oversee the operations. Miyamoto planned for Katagiri to drive out there and wait out the night, so when he left the warehouse, he would keep the door unlocked, letting Katagiri enter in and catalogue the evidence so that they could catch Tozawa red-handed. Suspicious of Miyamoto’s motives, Katagiri hesitates, which Miyamoto angrily dissuades by stating his abilities as a good cop, forced to make bad choices.

Samantha is led into a set-up: 

On the way home, Samantha is stopped by Pollina’s boyfriend, Akira, who informs her that Pollina’s kidnappers had contacted him and demanded ten million yen as ransom, otherwise, they would kill her. Blinded by her love for Pollina, she goes home and takes all the savings she had for buying the lease of her club and meets Akira. Akira, because it was an obvious set-up, betrays her and escapes in the van, which had been pretending to hold Pollina, but in reality, was the getaway vehicle for Akira and his goons. Distraught, she goes to the bank for approval of a bridge loan, which gets rejected as loan companies would not approve giving loans for businesses related to Mizu Shobai (Nighttime Entertainment). She finally goes to Duke, her old boss at Onyx, and makes a decision that will change her life in the future.

Sato tries to protect the new kid: 

Elsewhere, we see Ishida getting angry at the new kid hired by Sato to join the gang. Firstly, it was because of his inability to make the perfect soup. Berated by Ishida for making excuses and derisively commenting on his manhood, the kid, distraught, tries to cut his finger as penance for disappointing his oyabun. Other than making a bloody mess, he is unable to cut his finger as he has been cutting too close to the bone, which doesn’t escape Ishida’s notice, who belittles him yet again. Sato takes the kid to the hospital, and after his wound is dressed, he takes him home. He advises the kid firmly that this life isn’t for him, and that he should go back to his folks. He also warns him not to be seen hanging around or working with the competition. The kid is sad but finally agrees.

Jake’s altercation and epiphany: 

Jake, after his meeting with Samantha, had gone to the office. He details the entire morning’s events to Maruyama, who is worried and realizes that Jake is high. Reassuring that she will run the photograph of Pollina, which Jake had acquired from Samantha, as well as the other pertinent details, she sends him home, to rest and recuperate. Jake returns home, where he is violently attacked by two of Tozawa’s goons.

He more than holds his own against them, until he is held at knifepoint, at which point they finally relent because they had no intention of killing him. This was a warning by Tozawa to stay away from his business and his girlfriend. Injured, dazed, and concussed, Jake calls his home, reminded of Jessica after seeing the broken audio takes due to the altercation. His father picks him up and, while attending to his wounds, Jake enquires about his family, especially his sister. It is pretty evident that the relationship between him and his father is strained, but upon hearing that Jessica, his sister, isn’t doing very well, contrary to what she had been recording in her tapes, Jake starts to get worried. That, coupled with the recent events, almost forces Jake to consider his father’s proposal to buy a ticket home.

Tozawa finally meets Katagiri: 

Katagiri, according to plan, drives to the warehouse, where he parks some distance away and waits. Hours pass, with an innumerable number of cigarettes, smoked, but seeing no activity from the warehouse, he grows suspicious. Katagiri calls Miyamoto and finds his number switched off, getting even more suspicious. Readying the gun in his hand, he enters the warehouse and braces for an attack when two headlights flash at him. It is revealed that Tozawa had not believed Miyamoto’s excuse of Katagiri working for Ishida, and in a previous scene, it is shown Miyamoto being driven to a separate location, with this phone in the custody of one of Tozawa’s goons.

Tozawa strongly implies that Miyamoto is dead, and then Tozawa calmly threatens Katagiri, stating to back off investigating his clan, because he knows where his family lives, and by the details furnished to Katagiri, it is pretty evident that Tozawa had been watching Katagiri’s house. Katagiri, holding the gun, has a clear shot at Tozawa but is unable to shoot him, as Tozawa grins and walks away. We then see Tozawa boarding a plane, presumably flying to the US to get a transplant. He had called for Misaki to meet him at the airport, where he warned her that even if he might look sick and in danger of dying sooner rather than later, he was going to defy those odds.

Tokyo Vice Season 1 Finale (Episode 8) Ending Explained: 

As Sato enters the Ishida house, we see Samantha exiting from his oyabun’s office. He learns that Samantha had requested a loan to buy her club, on the condition that Ishida be a silent partner in her club. Sato disagrees with this decision, citing Samantha’s stubbornness as a key point in her lack of business acumen, but his denial is rejected. Instead, he is appointed as liaison to Samantha’s club on behalf of the Chihara-Kai clan. Sato and Samantha agree to restart their relationship anew, even as she silently rejects his invitation to kiss her. He agrees, but as he walks back to his car, one of the Chihara-Kai foot-soldiers drives a sword through his stomach. Sato falls to the ground, blood pooling in his stomach, his future uncertain.

The next morning, Jake receives a VHS tape titled “Yoshino.” It shows Pollina being taken to a room and being sexually assaulted by a client. When she pushes back and raises her voice, one of Tozawa’s goons presumably enters and tries to force her to yield. In the scuffle, Pollina is killed. The VHS tape fully records that incident, and Jake is horrified. Determined, Jake takes the tape to Katagiri’s house, where it is revealed that Katagiri had sent his family out of town for their safety. Convincing Katagiri that the item he has contains far more pertinent information than this cold war between them, the episode finishes with Jake entering Katagiri’s home and closing the door as the camera pans back. The evidence in Jake’s possession is enough of a smoking gun for them to thoroughly investigate this angle of Tozawa’s operation while settling their differences. Hopefully, we will see that in the next season, which as of now hasn’t been announced yet.

Tokyo Vice Complete Season 1 Review:

The big issue with the pilot was the complete aesthetic and pacing shift it caused between the first and second episodes. The Michael Mann-directed episode featured all of his controlled bursts of energy with the neon-lit slickness we’d grown accustomed to from him. But as the show progresses and we settle into its normal rhythm, we are led into a sprawling story about the Tokyo underworld of the early 2000s. Creator JT Rogers manages to balance all the subplots very neatly without it becoming overwhelming to the point of being incoherent. The show succeeds majorly because of its attention to detail. From the clothes to the cars, to the choice of music playing in the background, the production and art design of this show are sure winners all the way. The A-plot of Jake investigating the different aspects of Tokyo’s world of crime, and him getting involved deeper and deeper as time goes on, is also ably handled. Those sequences are also complemented by the acting in the show, which is universally solid across the board.

The B-plot regarding Samantha, her struggles with starting her club, and her dark past with her relationship with young yakuza Sato, is easily the weakest subplot throughout the show. It stands out even more because Samantha as a character is very inconsistent, as even the incident in the final episode regarding her paints her as naive and too trusting, a complete departure from the no-nonsense, suave woman she had been shown throughout.

The yakuza subplot, which slowly engulfs the main plot, is far more interesting because of how methodically paced and detail-oriented the show is in exploring the structural aspects of both the Chihara-Kai and the Tozawa organizations. Sho Kasamatsu as Sato is easily one of the more interesting protagonists of the whole show, even as he is saddled with a cliched backstory resembling a traditional yakuza as well as an outsider.

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It’s Elgort as Jake who holds the show. It’s not because of his acting prowess per se, but his interactions with all the other characters in the show are some of the strongest moments of the show. Jake’s relationships with his two mentors are the definite highlights of the show, be it with Ken Watanabe’s Katagiri, whose zen-like mannerisms make him the perfect candidate to navigate the crucible that is the yakuza and its entanglements with the administration. Or be it his relationship with Rinko Kikuchi’s Eimi Maruyama, his immediate superior, who is also investigating a parallel case of her own, which is interesting from an individual point of view, but how it connects with the main plot remains to be seen. His relationship with Sato is also one of the more interesting relationships in the show, sans the love triangle with Samantha. It is interesting how both Jake and Sato are viewed as outsiders throughout, getting pulled deeper and deeper into the muck.

Tokyo Vice starts as a methodically paced story. The stark change in direction between the first and second episodes could have made or broken the show, but the show’s consistent tone, its synth-heavy score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurrians, evoking the gritty noir underbelly where the show primarily takes place, and the clear touches of Michael Mann’s oeuvre sprinkled throughout, ensures that the show is a watchable one. The last episode, though, fails as a season finale because it leaves a lot of important dangling plot threads without tying a single one of them, which is a problem considering the show’s uncertain future.



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