This week’s episode of “Terrace House” treated us to two roommate pairings, two dates and two very different outcomes.

We start off by finally seeing who Hana called after her fight with Emika in the playroom. Did she want to tell Ryo her side of the story? Was she trying to get some dirt out of Ruka? Nope, she called Haruka down to give her a play-by-play of what had happened.

Haruka remains diplomatic, not really taking anyone’s side and listening to Hana’s retelling of the verbal joust. Hana emphasizes that Emika kept cutting her off mid-sentence, but after rewatching the heated exchange, I think Hana was the one interrupting. Hana concludes her case by saying that her first impression of Emika was correct: The girl has no empathy for other people. That was way harsh, Hana.

Thankfully, Hana has to go to Taiwan for work, which means there won’t be any lingering tension in the house for a few days at least. Seeing that the wrestler has left the ring and no one can block her next move, Emika goes in for the kill on Ryo.

She gets off to a rocky start, though. She asks Ryo to give her a ride, but he has a basketball game in Chiba that day. When she mumbles how she needs someone to drive her to work, Ryo still doesn’t offer a helping hand. Instead, he says she must have a lot of other guys to ask. It’s like you can see Emika scrolling through her options in her mind before bringing up how Ryo hasn’t made good on his promise to treat her to dinner after she bought one of his basketball fan merch T-shirts. She makes her demands — sushi in ritzy Ginza — and Ryo agrees.

The two meet up and have a date that seems fine on the surface, but there are a few odd moments. Emika floats out of the subway exit, probably expecting a warm hello from Ryo, but instead he chastises her for being late. Did he forget how late he was for their baseball game date back in Episode 19? Instead of bringing that up, she remarks on being surprised he actually followed through with taking her on a date in Ginza as they head to Sushi Yamaken for a meal to remember.

Whether this is standard practice or simply not wanting to make a scene on TV, the waiter kneels next to Ryo and quietly runs down the pricey set menus: either ¥10,000 per person (around $90!), or ¥12,000 ($110?!). I don’t know if the price is right or if Ryo is actually that hungry, but he opts for the more expensive course and the two eat their glistening sushi, piece by piece.

Emika nonchalantly chows down without squealing “Oishii!” (“Delicious!”) or talking about how fresh the fish tastes. This lack of gushing appreciation for a high-quality meal infuriates the commentators and they lay into her for treating this outing to a fancy sushi restaurant like a routine trip to a Denny’s. “She’s too used to being treated to dinner,” Yama-chan says.

Raw deal: Emika makes the most of her roommate Ryo's promise to take her out to dinner by suggesting a pricey sushi meal on 'Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.' | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT
Raw deal: Emika makes the most of her roommate Ryo’s promise to take her out to dinner by suggesting a pricey sushi meal on ‘Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.’ | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT

Even though Emika’s face doesn’t make clear what a splendid time she had, her mouth sure does. The pair returns home just in time to welcome back Hana, who is up to her elbows in souvenirs from Taiwan. Emika sits across from Hana, cooing about how she’s on cloud nine, saying, “I’m in heaven … the sushi was good, too.”

Hana and Emika’s relationship won’t be on the mend any time soon. First, Emika makes it look like she and Ryo have become much closer while Hana was away. Second, she hums loudly to show her joy. Third, Emika amps up the drama by freaking out when she realizes she left her earrings at the restaurant. What happened that forced her to take them off in the first place, ask the housemates. Cue Emika’s giggling — and my eye rolls.

While vicious competition might have brought together one couple, Peppe is using a more old-fashioned motivator: He’s looking for love. Keeping the promise he made in Shizuoka, he invites Haruka to a fancy cocktail bar at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. The two meet — Peppe in a suit with slicked back hair and Haruka in an alluring dress — and he hands her a bouquet of pink roses. Red roses are for a deep, long-lasting love while pink ones represent a new, blossoming love, Peppe explains.

The two drink their martinis when Peppe confesses that he likes Haruka, and she looks thrilled but can’t give him an answer just yet. She explains that she needs more time, but the mood is definitely romantic as the two look out at the trains passing down below at Shinagawa Station.

When they get home, Peppe has one last surprise for Haruka: matching pajamas. It’s a pretty intimate gift, but then again it’s not like it’s Victoria’s Secret or something.

Then — THEN! — Peppe and Haruka sit on the couch next to each other. Staring into each other’s eyes, they get closer and closer … their voices get lower and lower. Are they going to kiss?! You can practically feel the tension in the air before they both suddenly shut things down by awkwardly chirping back and forth, “Are you OK?” “What? Oh, yes, I’m fine.”

NOOOOO! They were so close. Another letdown.

A moment like this: Peppe (right) and Haruka get closer after their date on 'Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.' | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT
A moment like this: Peppe (right) and Haruka get closer after their date on ‘Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.’ | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT

A few days later while everyone is hanging in the kitchen, Haruka whisks Peppe to the playroom where they bump into Ryo chilling out. After dropping some hints, they finally tell him to get out and Haruka lays into her story. She talks about how, at the cocktail bar, she couldn’t say whether or not she liked Peppe back. But now she has an answer. The answer is … BANG. Episode over. Strike up the Snow Patrol song. Dang it. Another week of anxiously wondering what will happen next in the playroom.

The Japan Times is posting weekly recaps of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.” Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. New episodes of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020” stream on Netflix and Fuji TV on Demand (FOD) and air on Fuji TV on Tuesdays.

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