Higurashi May Have Just Confirmed a Wild Fan Theory on Satoko’s Birthday

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 17 of Higurashi: When They Cry - Gou, "Cat Deceiving- Part 4," now streaming on Funimation.

Higurashi: Gou just dropped a bombshell on its fans in Episode 17, with the end of the “Cat-Deceiving” arc seemingly affirming a popular fan theory about the mastermind behind Rika’s recent troubles. Though this reveal leaves viewers with more questions than answers, it should make for an interesting final handful of episodes for the season.

The episode starts off with a flashback of the “Massacre” arc, depicting Miyo and the Mountain Dogs killing off the members of the club. Rika remembers her death at Miyo’s hands during that timeline as she is approached by her and Jirou in the current Hinamizawa. Miyo apologizes to Rika and admits to the terrible things that await Rika and her friends, promising that she’s had a change of heart and has made arrangements to right her wrongs. Jirou takes her into hiding as Rika looks on stunned at the sudden turn of events.

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As Miyo promised, actions are indeed taken in order to prevent and cover-up her plans. Rika is taken aside by a member of the Bloodhounds and updated on Jirou and Miyo’s status. Meanwhile, Okonogi and his men are arrested after Miyo sold them out, and Irie allows the Bloodhound members to search his clinic where they find a comatose Satoshi. They also discover a briefcase of H-173 samples Irie had believed to have been destroyed.

A few days later, Rika runs into Jirou outside the school gate during recess and, with no tragedy looming, Rika wonders how things will play out in this seemingly perfect timeline. While near the Shrine, she examines the Onigari-no-ryuuou fragment and ponders on the idea of someone controlling things from behind the scenes, feeling anxious over the possibility, before Satoko joins her. Noticing that Rika seems downtrodden, Satoko comforts her by telling her that the two will be safe as they are in Hinamizawa and under the protection of Oyashiro-sama.

The next day, Rika wins the club activity and gives the rest of its members tasks to complete as part of a punishment game. Satoko is tasked with going shopping with Rika, and while she’s confused at first, she’s ultimately happy to spend time with her friend.

But the pleasant atmosphere doesn't last long. When the club members meet again to celebrate Satoko’s birthday, Rika reveals that all of the “punishment” tasks had to do with preparing for the celebration, and Satoko is given presents from Keiichi, Rena and Mion.

Rika takes out a present of her own and hands Satoko with the trap box from the “Demon-Deception” arc. The prank briefly plays in Satoko’s mind, causing her to fall to the ground and cover her head. When Rika reveals that she had replaced the mechanism inside with a toy bear, Satoko tries to play it off. But Rika presses Satoko for information, thinking back on her theory about someone else controlling the recent tragedies and the Onigari-no-ryuuou being able to kill those with the ability to loop. Before she can react, Satoko’s eyes change to a bright red as she raises a gun to Rika, leaving things on a tense cliffhanger, setting up what's sure to be a thrilling handful of episodes to come.

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