Cooperation and progress is the word for this episode. What started off slow and uneventful is looking quite decent as both a natural result of the Sister’s arc and a reminder of what made Railgun special to begin with.
I mentioned several times that I wished for this story to move forward rather than dwelling on the moe elements for far too long. Well this episode answered my prayers, because there is alot going on this time. Febri’s condition is due to a natural toxin produced in her genes, and the lolipops she keeps are antidotes. She only has 72 hours worth of candy, and only her creators can cure her.
At first she tries to handle it alone, but it seems that after a few reminders she actually learned. First Kongou calls Misaka for the first time asking about Febri, but then mentions how worried her friends were when she went out alone to fight the robot armor. Then when Misaka’s about to leave, Kuroko once again keeps a forced smile when saying goodbye, which immediatly goes back to how she lied to her in the Sister’s arc.
Knowing in the Sister’s arc how bad she ended up hurting both herself and others, she decides it’s time to actually talk about the dangers in her life once more. Other than the fact Febri’s artificial, she mentions to Saten, Uiharu, and especially Kuroko about how several groups in the Underworld can bypass even Anti-skill, and that she’s had to fight some of these people in the past. Expecting some backlash, Misaka is touched when she sees all 3 of them eagerly discussing their next move in saving Febri.
Before and after this, we get a huge amount of outside information from different sources. MISAKA reveals that Febri has similar behavioral patterns to her experience with the Testamant system, along with a hinted older sister. Anti-skill gets locked out of the case by HQ, but manages to sneak Kuroko and Misaka the purple remote found in the automatic armor. It’s revealed that inside is a strand of hair that is strikingly similar to Febri’s protein structure (possibly her sister?).
But probably the biggest mysteries involve two individuals. One is of course Shinobu, as we’re reminded that even if she helped Misaka to try stopping the Level 6 shift, she’s also responsible for building the Testamant system, making her highly likely of organizing these mechanical attacks. The other is the return of an old enemy; Railgun’s 2nd villain Theristina. Being responsible for the Capacity Down incident and being part of the Level Upper experiment, she’s no stranger when it comes to the hidden research in academy city’s underworld. The question is if she’ll cooperate with Misaka after her plans were foiled by her.
Now having said that, I can’t really defend this arc as neccessarily good. It’s highly reliant on moe, has villains that are cliche enough to put the index villains to shame, and heavily referential to past arcs. But being that this is an original story written as filler, I’ve seen far worse to consider this bad. And for those that complain how Misaka reveals the dark side ruins the Remnant arc, I’d like to clarify: she only MENTIONS that she fought the underworld. She doesn’t reveal anything about the MISAKA sisters, ITEM or any details to ruin Kuroko’s involvement in that arc.