WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 4 of Higurashi: When They Cry - Gou, "Demon Deception - Part 4" now streaming on Crunchyroll.
With Keiichi’s suspicions rising and the disappearances and murders surrounding the Watanagashi Festival still a mystery, Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou hits fans with a completely unexpected and violent twist in Episode 4; one that sets the tone for what should be an interesting reimagining of the series going forward.
Following the revelation that Rena was spying on his call with Oishi, Keiichi is unable to get his mind off of the dam construction murder and how it relates to his friend’s mysterious behavior. As he dwells on this, Keiichi becomes more and more paranoid. The next day, he tries to skip out on school due to his unease, but he’s forced to attend class when he discovers the local clinic is temporarily closed for renovations. Keiichi is visibly uncomfortable around Rena, and Rika, taking note of it, calls him out and confronts him on his suspicions.
Keiichi confesses that Rena sometimes scares him with her out of character behavior and reluctance to talk about the string of mysterious events going on around Hinamizawa. Rika explains that there are likely reasonable explanations for Rena’s behavior and that Keiichi is probably just overreacting before wishing him luck.
The following night Keiichi returns home to an empty house. With his parents out of town for the night, Keiichi’s mother informs him over the phone that Rena will be going over to make him something to eat. Rena soon knocks at his door but Keiichi is still reluctant to trust her, even considering not letting her inside, which causes him to then have a flashback in which he assaults Rena with a bat, before coming back to his senses, hugging her and letting her in.
Things only get stranger, though, when later, Keiichi walks into the kitchen and notices Rena clawing at her neck before turning his attention to the contents of her bag. Rena tells Keiichi that she and he will be the victims of Oyashiro-sama’s curse for the year, after which her father can live in the village in peace. She then attacks Keiichi with a knife, chasing him down to his living room before getting knocked down to the floor. Keiichi hesitates for a moment and Rena stabs him in the chest, repeatedly impaling him while Keiichi tries to bludgeon her with a nearby clock radio.
The episode then fades to an image of the two on Keiichi's living room floor, with a massive amount of blood surrounding them. Keiichi wakes up in the hospital with his parents by his bedside who are relieved to see him but won’t tell him what happened to Rena.
Mion soon visits and reveals to Keiichi that the doctors couldn’t save Rena while also revealing that shortly after the incident at his house, Rika and Satoko were found dead in their home, with the police ruling it either a murder or a suicide, before giving Keiichi a somber goodbye. His nurse asks Keiichi if his neck feels itchy, and like Rena, he begins clawing at it, before letting out a scream.
After weeks of build-up Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou comes into its own with this explosive fourth episode. As its name implies, the “Demon Deception” arc has had fans fooled from the get-go. The production staff has done an incredible job of keeping viewers guessing through the early phases of the series thus far. With so much of the arc playing out like the “Spirited Away By Demons” arc, and a “Festival Accompanying” arc-like turn of events teased halfway through the episode through Keiichi and Rika’s heart-to-heart, Rena’s actions are all the more shocking.
If the new naming scheme is anything to go on, fans can expect Episode 5, the first part of the “Cotton Deception” arc, to follow a similar structure before delving into more trickery.