Yabu has returned from Vietnam with an American soldier who is suffering from PTSD. When the pair goes to the hospital for the soldier to be examined, Yabu is surprised to run into Hazama, who has exhausted himself by searching for a cure to Johnny’s analgesia. While Hazama and Yabu talk, Tommy, the soldier with Yabu, goes elsewhere, only to return later and mention that he ran into Johnny, who was a former comrade of his. During their conversation, Hazama finds out that Johnny never actually went to Vietnam, contrary to what Johnny had divulged. Realizing that he has been lied to, Hazama returns to Johnny’s room and uses scare tactics to drag the truth out of the injured man.
Elsewhere, Professor Risenberg meets with a CIA operative, where they discuss the true causes of Johnny’s analgesia, Risenberg’s secret past, and the implications for Johnny’s future. Afterward, Risenburg approaches Hazama on the roof of the hospital and tears up Johnny’s test results, commenting that Hazama will no longer need them since he is returning to Japan. Risenberg later injects Johnny with a sedative before hooking him up to a machine that restores his ability to feel. Back in Japan, Hazama laments that he was not the one to heal Johnny before finding out that Johnny has now retired from civil disobedience movements.
This episode is unique in the series thus far, as it is the only one to not feature Hazama involving himself in a surgery of some sort. Instead, the focus shifts more to Johnny and Professor Risenberg, with Hazama actually serving as more of a plot element than anything this time around. Instead, the more shocking revelations come in the form of Risenberg’s true personality and the truth behind Johnny’s lack of pain recognition. These revelations, combined with the attitude of the CIA agent, do make one question what the Japanese (or at least the writers of this show) think about Americans.
It is also interesting that everything beyond the first two episodes has stemmed from the Vietnam War (and even the second episode provided the resource needed to get Hazama to Vietnam). While the episodes themselves are largely self-contained (minus the trilogy and duology aspects), this common theme does serve to provide a sense of unity for the series, and the weight of the Vietnam War as a backdrop continues to give the series a historical perspective. This particular episode manages to capture the type of drama you’d expect to find in a live-action medical drama, such as House, without losing its originality, and it also raises the question of whether previous events will continue to culminate in future plot developments. After all, we do see the return of the CIA agent who is familiar with Hazama’s skills. Young Black Jack has successfully managed to defy expectations in this installment by following a different path than normal, but whether or not this pattern will continue has yet to be seen.
A Christian Perspective:
The first idea I had was to compare Professor Risenberg to the apostle Paul. After all, both appear to have murderous backgrounds (Risenberg seems to have worked for the Nazis while Paul was a Pharisee who executed the early Christians) prior to changing their lives around and ultimately using them to help people. On the surface, this seems like a good comparison; however, it quickly falls apart with a little thought.
For one, we have to consider the culture: Paul’s murdering of Christians was legal, at least by the worldly authority of the Pharisees, whereas Risenberg’s murdering of Jews was seen as a heinous crime. While turning from murder is obviously right in God’s eyes, Paul’s transformation actually went against the governmental authority he was under, so him facing worldly punishment for his crimes was not realistic. Risenberg, on the other hand, should have faced justice, but instead was harbored by the American government in exchange for his research. This is also an abdication of duty by the American government, as they failed to administer appropriate justice when presented with the knowledge of Risenberg’s crimes and instead profited off of that information. Let’s not forget that God is the One who gives authority (Romans 13:1), though humans do have a tendency to abuse their authority. In the end, Risenberg at least makes some form of repentance by choosing to use his knowledge to reverse Johnny’s analgesia and save the young man’s life, but one must wonder if this is really enough to make up for the fact that he never faced justice for all the lives he took.
In summary, while Risenberg and Paul appear to have similar stories at first, that comparison quickly falls apart when we realize that Paul was murdering with the full support of his government before turning against that to spread the true Gospel, while Risenberg was murdering and committing acts that were considered a crime by pretty much the rest of the human race before turning from those actions and being harbored under a false identity. Paul never hid who he was—everyone knew his past and the miraculous work God did in his life. The same cannot be said of Risenberg.
Language: 1 “sh*t”; 1 “swear to G*d”
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Violence: Scenes of gunfire and explosions are shown; a flashback shows Johnny having his leg broken by a police baton; Johnny is beaten by several police officers
Other: Scenes are shown to indicate people being killed by poison gas, but they are represented by shadowy figures
The Bottom Line