The punches, both literally and figuratively, keep coming on Banana Fish.
This episode immediately picks up from last week with Eiji getting cornered by Arthur and company, threatening to kill the doctor’s assistant if Eiji doesn’t tell him why Ash sent him to the doctor. Even when the Maria’s lab geek gets his hands on the Banana Fish drug again, Arthur was still going to kill the doc and his assistant while Eiji would become the Don’s new plaything. Only a timely save by Shorter (who actually did meet Eiji in the restaurant) and a walking, talking (sort of) Griffin prevents any additional casualties.
Well, except for Griffin, who gets shot by the Mafia’s lab geek when he sees Griffin still alive. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, Griffin succumbs to his injuries.
Eiji meanwhile, is told that he’ll be returning to Japan because things are getting dangerous in America.
In prison, Max requests to change bunk mates (he initially requested to room with Ash) due to his guilt about Griffin from last episode. However, when Max hears that Griffin has died, he goes to tell Ash the news, leaving the two devastated in their own way; Max is thoroughly exhausted from the mental toll about guilt over Griffin’s circumstances, while Ash is just plain numb over his brother’s death.
The big moment this episode was undoubtedly Griffin’s death and how it reverberates across so many of the characters. Eiji is in shock and sympathetic toward Ash when he learns Griffin’s identity, Max only just learned Griffin was alive last week, only to hear he’s really dead now, while Ash was in prison as it all happened. Most of the episode was alright, but the final scene between Ash and Max in prison sealed the deal for me. The loss of a friend/brother was handled particularly well, there wasn’t dramatic tears or swelling music, the news just lands and settles in its own way with the survivors struggling to find peace with it. They knew Griffin probably wasn’t long for the world, given his state of mind (or lack thereof), but as Ash puts it, he’s really gone now. It’s one thing when a loved one is physically around, even if they aren’t mentally all there, it’s another when they’re dead. While other shows may also have characters dealing with the loss of someone who didn’t have their full mental capacities, the way Banana Fish did it was very tone appropriate for the show.
The episode also moves a few steps ahead with other plot points: what Banana Fish, it’s effects on test subjects, and connections to the police cases from earlier. Eiji is further developed in showing his empathetic side, while Arthur is further villianized as a vengeful asshole.
Banana Fish continues being an impressive show this season as it moves a few, small steps forward with its plot while also humanizing its characters. Also one of the prison assholes gets stabbed in the dick with a fork. If that’s not karma, I don’t know what is.
Banana Fish is currently airing on Amazon Prime.