WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece Episode 951, "Orochi's Hunting Party! The Ninja Group vs. Zoro!" now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.
After revealing themselves by defending Otoko following the public execution of her father, the Straw Hats are dealing with the consequences of their actions. The last fans saw of Zoro, he was fleeing the Flower Capital protecting Hiyori. Episode 951 offers an update on that unfolding situation, as Zoro goes on the offensive against the shogun's ninjas. With the events at the Flower Capital fresh in his mind and his awareness of the upcoming revolution, Zoro doubles down on his resolve and shares his intentions with Hiyori.
Zoro is typically not an emotionally expressive character. What tends to be most important to him are his goals: mastering advanced combat techniques like Haki; becoming a worthy first mate to the future Pirate King and, of course, becoming the strongest swordsman in the world. Getting the chance, then, to see Zoro's resolve flare with regards to a specific situation is a clear indication to fans that the Straw Hat first mate is no longer messing around.
Zoro's First Step: Recover His Sword, Shusui
In a truly unsurprising yet well-animated turn of events, Zoro dispatches the ninja pursuing both himself and Hiyori, culminating in him besting Fujin, a member of the Orochi Oniwabanshu. After securing their safety, Zoro and Hiyori take a moment to assess their situation. As Zoro verifies that Hiyori wants to return to the house in the snow, he opens up to her about his plans.
Fans will likely remember that since the fight against Kamazo, Zoro has only had two swords since Shusui, which was bequeathed to Zoro by Ryuma the zombie on Thriller Bark, was stolen by Gyukimaru. Zoro makes it clear to Hiyori that he wants to get Shusui back from Gyukimaru, stating that not having Shusui makes him uncomfortable. As a Santoryu master, this makes sense: despite the fact that Zoro has time and time again proved his lethality with fewer blades, he knows he's at his strongest with three.
Thankfully, Zoro has established a solid bond with Hiyori (much to Sanji's dismay). Hiyori immediately assures Zoro that she will guide him to the Bandit's Bridge in Ringo. A small gesture, some might argue, compared to the lifesaving steps Zoro has taken to protect her, but keen fans will know that as Zoro is directionally challenged to a legendary degree, so offering to escort him back to the Bandit Bridge more than makes up for it.
Zoro's Second Step: Avenge Yasuie
As the conversation goes on, the subject shifts to Toko, Yasuie's daughter. Having witnessed her father's execution and almost being killed by the Shogun herself, Hiyori is concerned for the well-being of her friend. Because she's with the Straw Hats, Zoro assures Hiyori that Toko will be physically fine; however, thinking back on the execution evokes a physical reaction from the Pirate Hunter. Even as he rests, Zoro exclaims that he won't forgive Orochi and that he intends to avenge Tonoyasu at any cost.
This, in turn, evokes a rather emotional response from Hiyori -- upon seeing Zoro's resolve first-hand, she's reminded of her past. Flashbacks of Kuri castle burning and silhouettes of her parents bring tears to her eyes. The evil and ruin that Orochi and Kaido have brought to Wano is no secret to Hiyori, who has suffered in silence for the past 20 years. After seeing only a portion of what the Straw Hats have done for the country so far, Hiyori seems inspired despite her tears, and she reveals that she wishes she could kill Orochi herself.
Episode 951 gives viewers a fantastic look into Zoro's character. In the face of injustice and evil, the normally stoic first mate won't tolerate seeing wrong done to others. This serves as a pleasant reminder to viewers: yes, this is the same Zoro who was skeptical after Nami's betrayal at Arlong Park. It's the same Zoro that felt Usopp shouldn't have simply been forgiven after challenging their captain at Water 7. It's the same Zoro that called Sanji an idiot for going to Whole Cake Island rather than show concern for his crewmate.
Zoro has shown how pragmatic he can be compared to other members of his crew, but he's not above emotion himself. When there's wrong being done and he's determined to stop it, it really, truly shows. Once Zoro secures his third blade, the people of Wano will be incredibly lucky to have him on their side.