“Sanji’s Scream! An SOS Echoes Over the Island!”
This episode wants to spend its time with Sanji for a good chunk of it. With him captured by Black Maria, he’s definitely being tortured, though kind of playfully at first but some of her subordinates. But Black Maria herself is definitely a threat to take seriously and she’s enjoying her time with Sanji in abusing him and making clear her threats while making it clear that it’s Robin that she’s after and just how they’ll spend years torturing her once they have her. It’s clear that Sanji won’t give her up in the slightest, but it’s not too often we get this kind of threat made. The episode does give us a little side-time with Carrot and all as they deal with their opponents, but it shifts back to other things pretty quickly from there. It is largely about Sanji and those that have captured him.
Black Maria, while not having a lot going on as a character overall, at least has a solid and threatening presence here. For sure it’ll all fall apart quickly, but with a mission of her own against Robin and having Sanji in her grasp to try and extract her, it definitely has a real sense of threat about it. Admittedly, the setup and trap that has been put together for Robin isn’t anything significant, but Black Maria simply wants her drawn there so they can get into it. And we see her highlighting this to Sanji, right down to the brass knuckles that she puts on and starts beating him with. Sanji’s one that deals with this well enough as he’s always been that kind of split person where while he’s a terrible womanizer type, he’s also very much a team player and protective of his friends. And he really takes a beating here in a pretty brutal way that plays very different from most fights with big powers. The battle of wills between him and Black Maria definitely unfolds well.
Sanji is captured and tortured by the merciless Black Maria. She names the terms of his release: to turn over one of his crewmates. He hesitates but has no other option. After much distress, he makes a move that surprises everyone.
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