WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 14 of Higurashi: When They Cry - Gou, "Cat Deceiving- Part 2," now streaming on Funimation.
Higurashi: Gou continues its downward spiral as things seem to get worse and worse for Rika. Episode 14 continues the recent trend of hopeful optimism followed by inexplicable tragedy, and the toll this all takes on Rika’s mental condition seems to get worse with each loop.
Continuing on with the current loop, Rika and her friends head over to the local toy store to procure some prizes for the upcoming festival auction. The friends run into Ooishi and strike-up a game of mahjong in the back room. During the game, Rika is surprised to see Akasaka and takes the opportunity to talk to him in private. Feeling indebted to her for having saved his wife’s life with a precognitive statement years prior, he agrees to stay in town up until the Watanagashi Festival in order to look over her.
As Rika smiles at him, the scene cuts to a bloodied and injured Rika laying on the floor, with a crazed Akasaka standing over her. Showing signs of L5 Hinamizawa Syndrome, Akasaka lights the room they’re in on fire. Rika laments the arbitrary nature of her recent misfortunes and counts down from five to four on her finger before the building the two are in explodes.
The episode moves on to another loop on June 15. Within the Sonozaki estate, a bloody Akane cuts down members of the family indiscriminately before turning her attention to Mion. As she pleads with her mother to stop, Akane coldly decapitates her daughter before turning her attention to Rika. Akane and Rika discuss the cursed circumstances that come with being born in Hinamizawa, and Akane swiftly decapitates Rika, but not before Rika counts down from four to three on her hand.
The next loop opens up on June 21 and sees Kimiyoshi dragging a tied-up Rika across the ground. Frantic about the possibility of Oyashirou-sama’s curse destroying the village, he explains that he plans on sacrificing Rika in order to appease the town deity. Rika pleads with him to kill her first but is rejected. Getting annoyed with the dragged out proceedings, Rika prods Kimiyoshi in order to speed things up and is swiftly thrown down the local swamp, counting down from three to two as she drowns.
The final loop of the episode begins on June 13 and takes place within Angel Mort. A massive police barricade is outside of the restaurant as Keiichi lays waste to the people inside with his signature baseball bat. Rena pleads with him to stop and though she fends him off for a while, she’s eventually bludgeoned to death while trying to reach out to him. Rika looks on with tears in her eyes, wondering what she’d done to deserve such torture.
Keiichi turns his attention to her, visibly suffering from L5 as he demands the cure to get rid of the maggots he claims are crawling beneath his skin. Rika defiantly mocks him before goading him into striking her head. As Keiichi gets ready to strike, Rika wishes that she could return to the normal life she’d been living before the new loops began.
Something sinister is definitely pulling the strings behind the scenes in these new, altered loops. Rika is being met with outcomes she’d never dealt with in the original series, which not only confuses her as she tries to figure things out but offers the audience no insight into what seems to be nothing more than random tragedy being piled on. The remainder of this season will at least need to allude to some sort of root cause or culprit before presumably solving the mystery in season 2.