This episode begins with the doctor giving his prognosis for Ushio, she has the same illness as Nagisa and it will probable progress as it did with Nagisa. Tomoya asks the doctor why this is happening when Ushio was perfectly healthy until now? He has no answer for Tomoya. When Akio senses that Tomoya is about to lose it, he gets Tomoya to pull himself together. Then the scene changes to the dream world where the junk doll and the girl are trying to hurry somewhere, because this world will become pure white.
Ushio’s fever continues without respite, one month passes and Ushio still doesn’t get any better. Finally, Tomoya submits his resignation to his boss, his boss wishes that Tomoya didn’t have to quit work. As Tomoya is leaving, Yoshino exchanges screwdrivers with Tomoya telling him that when Ushio gets better come back to work and return it to me. Tomoya continues to care for Ushio, they thought about taking her to the hospital but saw no point to it since they have no idea what her illness is, or how to treat her. Ushio tries her best to be strong but her illness won’t even allow her to change her own clothes.
Ushio’s illness has worsened to the point where she can no longer use the bathroom by herself, or even eat solid food. Tomoya asks Ushio if there’s anything she wants? No. But, Ushio soon tells Tomoya that she wants to go on a trip with her daddy, just like before. Tomoya tells her that their last trip couldn’t have been that much fun, with daddy yelling and so on. But, Ushio says it was fun. Tomoya tells Ushio that when she gets better, they’ll go. Ushio says she wants to go now, but Tomoya puts her off. Tomoya begins to think that the city is toying with him and his family, granting happiness, and taking it away on a whim. Can he even grant his daughter just one wish? Tomoya vows to save Ushio somehow.
A while later, Akio tries to offer Tomoya some money. But, he refuses saying that he’s still OK, Akio says that if he’s lying, he’ll beat the crap out of him. Tomoya promises him that he’ll come to him if things get really bad. Akio and Tomoya go shopping together, and they stop for a rest near the new hospital. Tomoya asks Akio if the land was sacrificed to build the hospital and what else will sacrificed? Is it possible when he brought the dying Nagisa here, Nagisa got linked to the land? Is it possible that the changing landscape is causing pain to the city? Akio tells him that it might be like “oh, everything is changing”. He says that people built the hospital so unhappy things like death can be avoided, and he says here’s to the happiness of the town and it’s people.
More time passes, Christmas approaches, and Ushio’s illness continues to worsen. Tomoya seems to be getting weaker, is it stress, or exhaustion? He looks out the window and he sees a brief vision similar to the frozen wasteland from the dream world, then he snaps back to reality. When Ushio awakens, she tells Tomoya that she wants to go on a trip, Tomoya tries to put her off, but Ushio says that they have to go now. When Tomoya asks her where she wants to go, Ushio says she wants to go to the field of flowers (that’s where they reconciled a few episodes back). Tomoya finally gives in and tells Ushio, OK. He dresses Ushio, grabs Nagisa’s picture, and they head out into the city.
As they head off, Tomoya offers to carry Ushio on his back but she refuses saying that she’ll walk with daddy. Tomoya tells her to let him know if she needs help, and they’ll walk as far as they can (is he submitting to fate, or going to meet it head on?). As Tomoya and Ushio walk through the city Ushio struggles more and more and begins to falter, Tomoya tells her that’s enough. It begins to snow and Ushio gets a faraway look in her eyes. Tomoya tells her it’s snow, and he asks her if she likes snow? Yes. Ushio asks him if he likes snow? Yes. Tomoya tells Ushio that they should call a cab, or he’ll carry her on his back. But, Ushio says no, she wants to walk.
Ushio continues to struggle, and she grows weaker as they walk on. Tomoya holds her hand and watches her. Finally, Ushio collapses in Tomoya’s arms, Ushio asks if they’re on the train now? Yes. Is it dark? Yes, it’s the middle of the night. Ushio tells daddy that she loves him. Tomoya tells Ushio that daddy loves her. Ushio seem to breathe a final breath and goes limp in Tomoya’s arms, he calls to Ushio but she doesn’t respond. Tomoya shouts that he doesn’t want this, he calls for Nagisa to save Ushio, he calls for someone to save Ushio, and he collapses in the street with Ushio in his arms.
Then we switch to the dream world, the girl has collapsed in the snow and the junk doll gets her up, she thanks him and they continue to walk onwards. Soon the girl weakens and collapses again, and the doll stands over her and looks to the sky (for salvation?).
Then we listen in on Tomoya’s deepest thoughts. I hate this city and the memories only brings me pain; a home and a school that I don’t like. Then we see Tomoya walking towards school, and at the bottom of the school hill he meets the girl who says “Anpan”. She asks him “do you like this school, because I do”?, and she says “nothing can remain the same forever”. Tomoya thinks to himself that if he answers her then they’ll meet, but he also thinks that maybe it’s better that they don’t meet? Well, that’s all for this episode.
I’ll be doing a slightly different type of review for this episode, this will be a more emotional instead of logical review. I’m going to forgo any type of why did this happen, or why didn’t they do that.
For me what really stood out about this episode was Tomoya’s strength of character. After receiving the “fatal” news about Ushio’s illness Tomoya showed only one moment of weakness, and Akio quickly set him straight. A man has to be strong until the very end for the ones they love, and a man has to protect the ones they love to the best of their abilities.
Any father would give anything, even their own life to protect their loved ones, but Tomoya faced the worse possible situation. Tomoya faced a enemy he had no chance of defeating, if you saw a car getting ready to run over your child you could push her put of the way sacrificing yourself, or you can step in front of a bullet for your child, but Tomoya’s enemy was far worse. Call it a curse, call it fate, or call it destiny, but in the end, it was a no win situation.
I feel that Tomoya quickly realized that Ushio was going to die, and if he tried to fight, it would be like he was battling God. So, Tomoya decided to submit to fate and wrap Ushioin the a protective layer of love and kindness. While Tomoya’s heart was being ripped out his chest he only showed Ushio a gentle smile and a calming voice. In the end, Tomoya was able to grant one of Ushio’s wishes, he gave her the trip with daddy that she wanted, and he did the best that a mortal man could do. Well done Tomoya, I’m sure Nagisa and Akio would be proud.
But there’s a limit to how much suffering and pain any one person can take before it overwhelms them, and with Ushio’s death I think Tomoya’s reached his limit. At the end of the episode Tomoya again asks himself if it would have been better if he and Nagisa had never met? Tomoya slipped into what I call “magical thinking”, this best described in Joan Didion’s book “The Year of Magical Thinking” (great book, if your haven’t read it, do so). In the book, the author experiences such overwhelming grief and loss over the death of her husband that she begins to obsess about if I did this, or if I did that, could I have changed to outcome? The question that Tomoya has answer for himself is did his love for Nagisa and Ushio mean more to him than their loss? If he’s chooses the path of stagnation, will that bring him anymore joy in the long run? If Tomoya chooses the path of love and loss will there any salvation or mercy for him and his family? I don’t know, but I feel that the old saying “it’s better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all” will hold true, or I pray it will.