Alice in Borderland season 1, episode 4 recap – run, Arisu, run! all aboard

December 10, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

Arisu is wracked with guilt after the previous episode’s shocking ending, but there’s another game to play.

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3.5

Summary

Arisu is wracked with guilt after the previous episode’s shocking ending, but there’s another game to play.

This recap of Alice in Borderland season 1, episode 4 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words

Check out our spoiler-free season review.


After the calamitous ending of the previous episode, Arisu is struggling, to say the least. In fact, Usagi, while out wringing a rabbit’s neck, finds him collapsed in the middle of the road, begging to die. The first portion of Alice in Borderland episode 4 gives us some welcome backstory for Usagi and delves into Arisu’s headspace a little, before delivering another game.

Usagi’s key relationship is obviously the one she shared with her father, a fellow climber who was accused of faking his widely-publicized no-oxygen climbs and subsequently killed himself. The loss of her father obviously deeply affected Usagi, so she knows how Arisu feels when he says he wants to die, even if she doesn’t quite get his sense of personal responsibility — he thinks he personally killed his friends and therefore doesn’t deserve to live. She reasons that since they’re going to die at some point they might as well eat while they’re alive, and they do, and some progress is made.

Arisu’s visa is due to expire so he needs to play another game, and Usagi wants to repay her for saving her life during the tag game, so they go together to the next challenge, which begins on a bus in an underground highway. A team is already aboard, a threesome who met during their first game and have cleared three more since then as a team. This game is called “Distance”, and is rated a four of clubs. The deliberately vague clear condition is to safely attain the goal, but everyone determines it involves running a significant distance. The problem is that one of the dudes they just met, Takuma, has a badly injured leg and can’t do that, so he demands everyone leaves him behind. They do and set off running.

Eventually — a distance tracker on the smartphone keeps notching up the miles — the group reaches a replenishment station which they’re all too hesitant to drink from, so Usagi shares her little canteen with Arisu and he shares it with everyone else. Further on, they come face to face with a big cat — it looks like a panther or some such — which pursues them in the other direction. It must be said that the CGI used to bring the cat to life is questionable, at best, but the sequence itself is still pretty well choreographed, so that helps to take the edge off. Seizan, one of the threesome, gets eaten, leaving behind only the guy with a wife and kid whose name I never caught. Let’s just call him Family Man.

Anyway, the next thing the group comes across is an old Royal Enfield motorcycle with a diesel engine, which should still run despite the suspected EMP detonation since it doesn’t have any electrical circuits. Arisu’s plan, which admittedly is rather farfetched, is to push the bike back the way they came and use the diesel in it to fuel up the bus and thus rescue Takuma — he’s done winning by letting other people die. There should be just enough time to get back to the bus, fuel it up and then drive all the way to the destination, but just in case Usagi and Family Man continue running as they were.

Having made it to what they believe is the endpoint, Usagi and Family Man sit down and have a chat until they’re interrupted by jets of water bursting through the creaky doors at the end of the tunnel. Uh-oh. As the metal begins to bow and more and more water begins leaking in, they set off running back the way they came at full sprint, hoping to outrun the tidal wave. Family Man isn’t able to. Usagi, though, is saved in the nick of time by Arisu, who is able to drag her onto the speeding bus, which is promptly swept up and toppled over by the current.

When everyone comes to, we see that the graffiti on the side of the bus reads “Goal”. Their distance counters had been counting how far away from the goal they were getting. They were safe at zero. The bus was the goal all along. With their visas renewed, Arisu and Usagi decide to head to the beach next, and Arisu resolves to stop the architect of these games and return the world to how it was.


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