"Until the Full Moon Sets"
Synopsis: When Lupin targets a wealthy widow believed to have inherited a secret treasure, Inspector Zenigata vows to protect her until the master thief backs off. Zenigata is as obsessive and single-minded as ever, determined to ward off Lupin, despite Elena's initial distrust of him. Lupin is as persistent as ever, employing fake-outs and decoys, but Pops doesn't quit easily, either! And yet, Elena may have secrets to uncover after all. Who will win the struggle for a possibly fictional payoff? It's a battle of wits with twist after twist!
It's rare in a Lupin TV series that we get an episode that is, for the most part, from Inspector Zenigata's perspective, following mostly him. You can make an argument for episode 10 of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, but that was just as much from Lupin's POV as it was Zenigata's, as they were both trying to uncover the mystery from the abandoned science facilities. Lupin and the gang are barely even in this episode and are uncharacteristically willing to acquiesce to Pops' authority, but I'll let that slide this time.
For a portion of this episode, Zenigata is interacting not with Elena, the woman he's sworn to protect, but actually Fujiko in disguise. It was an interesting fake out, because we see Pops and Elena gradually get comfortable with each other's company, all the while Zenigata actually realizes it's not her, since the real one hadn't been to the cabin in a while and Fujiko-Elena knew right where to find the first aid kit immediately (thus proving she'd cased the place). It shows Fujiko's dedication to her scams as well as Zenigata's understated cleverness. All throughout this episode the usually comic relief Lupin chaser shows that he's a worthwhile foe. After all, he's been chasing Lupin for a long time, he's bound to pick up on something now and then.
The episode goes into a bit of a dark place towards the end, though. Not only was Elena saved from a life of child prostitution on the streets by her husband, but in actuality, after he caught her cheating on him, he abused her himself. If not tempered with Zenigata's compassion and Elena's strident desire to help people like her, this whole plot element would come across as being excessive, but it works because we see how Zenigata's determination to help her inspires her to play it forward with her husband's fortune at the end. I appreciated that turn, among so many others here.
But with all that said, I wouldn't say it's one of the strongest episodes of this show, it's just fun to see Pops get his due.
3.5 out of 5