WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 8 of Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood, "Confidential File 642, The Witching Hour," now streaming on Crunchyroll. It also contains discussion of suicide.
Joran’s last few episodes have been rough on Sawa, as every victory the series hands her seems to come with a devastating defeat or loss. Asahi’s death at the end of Episode 7 was a shocking surprise and came without any warning or provocation. Having lost so much already, it will be harder for Sawa to move forward and find something to fight for, now more than ever.
Immediately following Makoto’s betrayal, Sawa engages her in combat. While Sawa has been shown to be an adept fighter throughout the series, Makoto's new changeling form is more than a match for her. Matching her in swordsmanship, strength and battle savvy, Makoto is able to take advantage of the grieving Sawa for a short while. But as the fight goes on, Sawa musters the strength and focus to land a devastating blow on her former Nue colleague. As she rushes her opponent to deal the final blow, the injured Sawa recalls Asahi’s pleas for a peaceful life and fails to land the finishing blow.
Gradually succumbing to her injuries, Sawa is unable to follow up on her previous strike and staggers to the ground. With Sawa down, Makoto prepares a final blow but is surprisingly finished off by a crow-like changeling attacking from the sky. Following Makoto’s defeat, Jin appears to collect Sawa and instructs various Nue cleaners to take care of the bodies left behind in the aftermath.
Jin seems as concerned for Sawa’s well-being as ever with this surprise intervention. It’s still unclear what his true motivations are, but he obviously cares for her. Having taken Sawa under his wing following the destruction of her village, Jin alone is now the closest thing to family she has left after Makoto’s attack on Asahi.
Jin moves Sawa to a remote cabin, far from Tokyo and Nue’s watchful eye. Though he makes preparations for the two to stay temporarily isolated while her wounds heal, Sawa quickly falls into a depression after regaining consciousness. Desperate to pass on and escape the grief of losing her family once more; Sawa attempts to take her own life in the sea near the cabin. Luckily, Jin gets to her before she can fall too deep into the water.
Sawa pleads with Jin to end her suffering, saying that she’s lost the will to live and has nothing left to fight for. Jin responds by telling her to continue pushing on, regardless of the hardships life throws her way. In doing so, Jin reveals some details about his brutal childhood and past, telling Sawa of a woman he cared for who has long since died. Though it’s brief, the scene shows a different side of Jin besides the cold and calculating murderer viewers have come to know him as.
Jin manages to snap Sawa out of her fugue state – if only for a moment – before taking his leave from the cabin. Outside, Jin rendezvous with an unscathed Elena, months into her pregnancy. The two briefly catch up before Jin asks her to watch over Sawa and take part in what he says will be one last job.
Episode 8's big reveal of Elena’s survival might’ve had more impact if it hadn’t pulled the same card so many times up to this point. Regardless, her re-inclusion into the fold with Joran’s last few episodes approaching should indicate something massive going forward. With Sawa at her absolute lowest following the loss of Asahi, it will be interesting to see how she manages to push forward and just what role she’ll play in Jin’s final conflict.
For more information on the warning signs and prevention of suicide, click here. If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you live outside the U.S., click here for a list of international hotlines.