‘Shogun’ Episode 6 Recap & Ending Explained: What Is Crimson Sky?


In the fifth episode of Shogun, tensions reached the stratosphere between Buntaro, John Blackthorne, and Mariko, as Buntaro constantly disrespected Mariko for following Toranaga’s orders and being John’s translator. Nagakado was reprimanded for acting in an immature way against Jozen, thereby taking the first step towards the inevitable war with Ishido. Omi was promoted to the position of commander of the Anjin’s cannon regiment in order to toy with the two-timing Yabushige. Uejirou was killed in order to cover the tracks of Toranaga’s spy, who was being hunted by Yabushige. John was ready to leave Japan, but a random earthquake ended up reforging his bond with Toranaga. In addition to all that, Lady Ochiba made an appearance to essentially announce that the Regents would be answerable to her. Let’s see if today’s episode made some progress in terms of the rivalry between Toranaga and Ishido.

Spoiler Alert

Toranaga Tells Mariko To Take John To The Tea House

Episode 6 of Shogun opens with a flashback that takes us 22 years into the past to show the formation of Mariko and Lady Ochiba’s bond. They grew up while the dynamic between Ochiba’s father and Lord Akechi Jinsai fell apart because Ochiba’s father kept killing people. When Mariko was training to become a great warrior, she was forced to marry Buntaro. That marked the end of Mariko’s friendship with Lady Ochiba as well as her dreams of becoming a warrior. The episode cuts to the present day, where a funeral ceremony is being held to honor the people who have died during the earthquake. Toranaga, as a sign of gratitude for saving his life, gives John a fief near Kanagawa that’ll garner him an annual salary of 600 koku. But that’s not the end of it. A foreigner, with Toranaga’s blessings upon him, has now become the general of the Japanese cannon regiment and enjoys the post of Kanto’s chief admiral. Additionally, John gets a new pair of swords because he has given the ones he got from Fuji to Toranaga. Omi complains about all this to Yabushige, and Yabushige tells him that they’ve got a war looming over their heads, and that’s why John should be the last of their worries. Yabushige hilariously tells his assistant to make a new will because he thinks he is not going to make it out of this whole ordeal in one piece. 

A brief scene shows Mariko and John praying, and then the focus shifts to Buntaro, i.e., the man who can’t show Mariko a shred of dignity despite being her husband. He tries to justify his abuse. Toranaga tells him to divorce her (I didn’t know that the concept of divorce existed back then), but Buntaro refuses to do so because they’ve been married for such a long time (regardless of the time period, men have apparently used this excuse to not give their wives a moment of peace). So Toranaga tells him to stay away from her for seven days. I hope that Buntaro realizes that he should move out of Mariko’s life in these seven days so that I don’t have to tolerate seeing his annoying face again (props to Shinnosuke Abe for making my blood boil). John approaches Toranaga to talk about the gifts he has gotten from him. According to John, he’ll be of more use to Toranaga if he fights from the seas. He says that he wants to take down the Portuguese and the Christian Regents for Toranaga. Since Toranaga doesn’t want to do that, he sends John away and tells Mariko to take him to the Tea House (the brothel) and make sure that he gets some good pillowing. It’s a little odd that Toranaga tells Mariko to go with him to be his translator. I think he is aware of Mariko and John’s relationship, and he is not-so-subtly pushing her in his direction.

Mariko Makes A Bid For Lady Kiku’s Time

Hiromatsu tries to escape with Lady Kiri and Shizu as Ishido holds the Regents and their clans hostage so that they can come to a decision regarding Toranaga’s replacement. But since Shizu is pregnant, Kiri decides to stay with her and tells Hiromatsu to go to Toranaga and tell him what’s going on. The growing violence worries Father Dell’Aqua, and he tells Tsuji (whose Christian name is Martin, I guess) that things have gotten worse after Lady Ochiba’s return to Osaka. Since Tsuji feels that Lady Ochiba is anti-Christian, he suggests the church should form a bond with Toranaga. Father Dell’Aqua rejects the suggestion because Toranaga is from the allegedly violent Minowara clan, but he hopes that Toranaga will be on their side once everything that’s unfolding between the Regents is over. Following this interaction, we get another flashback involving Lady Ochiba, where she was forced to flee after her father’s assassination. In the present day, Lady Ochiba and the Regents attend a theatrical reenactment of Taiko’s reign. 

Kiyama complains about Ochiba and Ishido to Sugiyama, and they hope that the hostages will be released once the Fifth Regent is announced and Toranaga is killed (by the way, Kiri is listening to all this). Daiyoin tells Ochiba that she is making a wrong move by siding with Ishido. That, coupled with the ongoing play, triggers the memory of Ochiba being forced to become the Taiko’s consort. After the play, Ochiba and Ishido approach Lord Ito, the guy who played the role of the Taiko in the play, and, weirdly enough, Ishido asks him if he would like to become a Regent. It’ll be easy to convince Ito to vote against Toranaga and get him killed, which is a dumb and wise move, to be honest. That said, while Ishido sees all this as a political move, for Ochiba, it’s personal. Ishido wants to know why, but Ochiba doesn’t elaborate on that and simply tells him to get Toranaga killed as soon as possible. Hiromatsu reaches Ajiro in one piece and tells Toranaga that they’ve to initiate something called the Crimson Sky to beat Ishido and his allies. Toranaga rejects the proposition because it involves too much bloodshed. While all this is going on, Mariko is seen making a bid for Lady Kiku in front of Gin (the owner of the Tea Shop where Kiku works), and this whole scene is quietly hilarious (the editing and shot choices are exquisite) with the best moment coming from Fuji (Moeka Hoshi is awesome), who is slurping her tea while enjoying the verbal battle between Mariko and Gin. This upsets Omi because he is in love with Lady Kiku.

What Is Crimson Sky?

Mariko says that it’s uncommon for a married woman to go to a Tea House, but Toranaga has made an exception for John because he needs a translator. The whole scene between John, Mariko, and Kiku establishes how John longs for Mariko and how Mariko longs for John, but they can’t live with each other because of the sea of customs, traditions, and responsibilities that exist between them. The shot choices from the POV of John to illustrate how he sees Mariko and what he feels when he looks at her, the way it’s edited, and the performances from Cosmo Jarvis, Anna Sawai, and Yuka Kouri make this whole situation so twisted and yet romantic. The following day, Kiku and Gin escort John back to the village while everyone looks on. Omi and Nagakado are evidently jealous of John because he is getting such special treatment from Toranaga. Additionally, it’s hilarious how Mariko waters down the translation of the conversation between Kiku and John because she is clearly angry regarding what has probably transpired between them. Later that night, Toranaga and Mariko have a conversation about Ochiba’s motivations, and Mariko gives a general answer about how women don’t need a reason to wage war against anyone because society always keeps them in a state of war. Then, the topic shifts to Mariko’s prospects of being a great warrior and how that dream was cut short due to her marriage. Toranaga assures Mariko that she hasn’t reached the end of her road and that there are a lot of avenues for her to become who she truly wants to be. 

At the end of Shogun, episode 5, the Regents sit down to make Ito the fifth Regent. However, Sugiyama opposes the vote because he thinks that the threat to the Heir of Taiko is fake and Ishido is wrong for creating a hostage situation to influence the Regents’ votes. Ishido assures Lady Ochiba that Sugiyama will be impeached so that their plan to kill Toranaga goes uninterrupted. Ochiba finally reveals that she wants to kill Toranaga because she thinks he is the one who used Akechi Jinsai to kill her father. And she talks about how Daiyoin pumped her with drugs and herbs to bear Taiko’s heir. She turns all this into an example of her wielding the power of fate instead of letting fate control her. This provokes Ishido to kill Sugiyama and his clan because he is standing between him and Toranaga. This prompts Toranaga to initiate Crimson Sky. As explained by Hiromatsu, Crimson Sky is a warfare tactic where Osaka Castle is taken over in one fell swoop. The Council of Regents will be erased, and a new government will be formed with Toranaga as the titular shogun. This means that Toranaga is going to get in touch with his half-brother, Saeki Nobutatsu, and spill insane amounts of blood. We have to see if this tarnishes Toranaga’s legacy or takes it to new heights.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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