Saeki (Eita Okuno) wears a large helmet in episode 7 of Hulu/FX's 'Shōgun'

Brotherly Betrayal Spells Trouble for Toranaga Ahead of ‘Shogun’ Episode 8

War is on the not-so-distant horizon in feudal Japan following this week’s episode of Hulu and FX’s historical epic Shōgun. As the series finale inches closer and closer, here’s when you can expect to see episode 8 arrive on streaming.

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It’s hard to believe we’re already nearing the end of co-creator Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks’ latest historical drama. Based on James Clavell’s 1975 novel of the same name, the miniseries follows disgraced lord Yoshii Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada) after he abandons his place on the corrupt Council of Regents, enlisting the help of Englishman John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis) and his trusted translator, Toda Mariko (Anna Sawai), to bring his clan to power—at any cost.

What happened in Shōgun episode 7?

**SPOILER ALERT: This post spoils the ending of episode 7 of Shōgun.**

The latest Shōgun episode, titled “A Stick of Time,” sees the ultimate betrayal of Toranaga as Yoshii enlists the help of his estranged half brother, Saeki (Eita Okuno), to launch operation Crimson Sky. With an all-out attack on Osaka Castle drawing nearer, Lord Toranaga needs his brother’s army to defeat Ishido (Takehiro Hira) and his forces once and for all.

Although things initially go well (or, as well as they can) between Saeki and Yoshii, Saeki disturbs the peace after he asks for the region of Izu in exchange for his army—despite the fact that Izu is considered Yabushige’s territory. Displeased with his brother’s demands, Toranaga is understandably shaken at the development, but agrees to think it over—although he’s already well aware that Saeki is, in fact, a traitor.

You see, that pesky Ishido got to Saeki first, and offered him a seat on the Council of Regents in exchange for turning his brother in. Ever the backstabber, Saeki announces that he’s already accepted Ishido’s offer, and has been ordered to deliver Toranaga to his impeachment and subsequent execution. Wanting to protect the lives of his clan, the lord says, “No one has the right to tear the realm apart,” and agrees to surrender peacefully.

To put it simply, it’s a mess. But things get even more complicated when Toranaga’s brash son, Yoshii Nagakado (Yuki Kura) takes matters into his own hands in an ill-fated attempt to prove himself. Joining forces with the courtesan Lady Kiku (Yuka Kouri), Nagakado leads a group of assassins with the intent of killing Saeki, only to slip and fall and crack his skull on a rock in the teahouse’s garden—a rather unfortunate (and anticlimactic) way to go out.

It’s not exactly the honorable warrior death Nagakado presumably imagined for himself, but it further illustrates the consequences of his reckless behavior. Meanwhile, Toda Buntaro (Shinnosuke Abe) and Mariko’s unhappy marriage turns downright morbid after her husband asks the lord if he can kill Blackthorne as revenge for getting close (and not just metaphorically) to his wife.

To no surprise, Toranaga shuts down the request. The episode ends on an open note, with Toranaga being more uncertain of his future than ever, despite those around him being confident in his abilities to restore power and respect to the clan—in addition to cementing himself as shōgun.

When does Shōgun episode 8 premiere on Hulu?

The eighth episode of Shōgun, titled “The Abyss of Life,” is slated to arrive on streaming on Tuesday, April 9. Per usual, it will arrive on Hulu and Disney+ at 12:01AM (ET), before its FX premiere at 10PM (ET) the same day.

According to the official synopsis, “The Abyss of Life” will pick up immediately after the events of episode 7, as “Toranaga’s defeated clan moves to Edo and awaits their fate; Blackthorne must decide who he fights for, the lord who has turned his back on him, or the ambition that brought him to Japan in the first place.”

Given that episode 7 saw Blackthorne questioning his place in Toranaga’s ranks—and why he’s even still in Japan, at that—we could see the English pilot switching sides in exchange for his “freedom,” or simply abandoning the fight when things start to get too heated.

As we draw nearer to Shōgun‘s penultimate episode, the stakes have never been higher for Toranaga following his devastating defeat. Will Blackthorne ultimately side with the lord who saved his life, or will he follow through with his original aspirations of damaging his enemies’—the Catholic Portuguese—trade relations with Japan? What will become of Mariko? Will Toranaga become shōgun? Only time will tell.

(featured image: FX)


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Amanda Landwehr
Amanda is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer who lives and breathes Star Wars, Marvel, and all things pop culture. She has worked in digital media since 2021, covering the latest movie/TV releases, casting updates, fan theories, and so, so much more. When she's not rotting away behind her laptop screen, you can typically catch Amanda maxing out her AMC Stubs membership.