Cosmo Jarvis and Anna Sawai as John Blackthorne, the Anjin, and Lady Mariko in Shōgun
(FX)

Complete ‘Shōgun’ Episode 2 Recap

Shōgun has been one of the standout TV shows this year, capturing audiences’ imaginations through its stellar writing, performances, and production value.

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The FX show was back in the news recently, with reports suggesting that it could have a second season after all, as star Hiroyuki Sanada renewed his deal. Shōgun has ten episodes in total, so with the possibility of a second season, let’s take a look back at what happened in the first—this time, in episode 2.

Following the events of episode 1, Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis) gets an audience with Lord Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Lady Mariko (Anna Sawai), with Jesuit priest Martin Alvito serving as the interpreter, much to Blackthorne’s chagrin. However, the meeting doesn’t last long anyway, as Lord Ishido interrupts the session, and Toranaga has to call for the imprisonment of Blackthorne to avoid any suspicion from the former.

Meanwhile, the cold open takes the audiences into the past, where the dying Taiko instructs Toranaga to be the informal guardian of his son, and lets him know about his intentions of forming a five-member council of regents. In the present, Blackthorne’s journals are handed over to the Catholics by Rodrigues, while the English sailor is able to befriend a friar in the prison. He gets to know about Portugal’s secret base in Macao, which they use to harbor assassins and take the profits from the silk trade directly to Europe, thereby using the feud between the Chinese and the Japanese to their advantage and cheating the latter in the process.

Lord Ishido ends up at a crossroads when two Catholic-supporting regents demand instant execution of the heretic (Blackthorne), while Yabushige presents him with the potential usefulness of the English pilot. An execution is ordered, but Yabushige and his posse are able to ambush the party that is leading Blackthorne to his execution. Blackthorne then has a second meeting with Toranaga, with Yaechiyo (late Taiko’s son) in attendance and Lady Mariko being the only translator. Blackthorne uses the opportunity to inform Toranaga of Spain and Portugal’s intentions to take over all the non-Catholic countries, including Japan.

Following the meeting, Toranaga offers the anjin (Japanese for pilot, referring to Blackthorne) his room to stay in for the night. The compound is attacked by a shinobi in the night, with Blackthorne being the intended target (sent by the catholic regents), but is slain by Toranaga, who had taken sanctuary in the anjin’s room purposefully. The episode concludes here, with palpable tension in Toranaga’s camp.

The key takeaway from episode 2 is Toranaga devising a plan to use Blackthorne to sow seeds of discontent between Ishido and the two Catholic-supporting regents, delaying the vote for his impeachment and making his position stronger. Like all the other episodes, episode 2 is written by Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks, with Jonathan Van Tulleken directing. It was released on February 27, 2024.


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Evan Tiwari
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