Misaka is stunned by her friends suddenly forgetting her and infuriated by Misaki’s involvement, though realizes she could probably jog their memories by showing them photos. But she doesn’t have time and would rather keep them out of it anyway. Still, even her attempts to escape Misaki’s clique prove futile as they can even follow her after “accidentally” jumping on a train. Instead, she finds some unexpected help in Kongou, who remarkably was able to tell the difference between her and 10032. And while she says she’ll help, Kongou also tells Misaka that she shouldn’t trust what she says in case she too is manipulated by Misaki.
Kongou starts by investigating where 10032 collapsed and finds her black cat, deciding to find a girl who can communicate with animals. Unfortunately her efforts are immediately spotted by Baba, who lures her out to a deserted area to capture. What he doesn’t count on is her near limitless air based abilities and the fact that her vast riches can cover any property damage. But when he goes to attack the cat, she jumps in front and gets hit with a nanomachine that also stopped 10032. When all seems lost, she’s saved by Saten, Awastuki, and Wannai, the latter two being furious at what Kongou has suffered and are ready to take it out on Baba.
While our lead Misaka is occupied being monitored by the enemy, it’s time for the limelight to turn to some of the supporting characters so that they can get a chance to shine. Kongou’s had a few times to show her stuff in the previous two seasons, most notably helping propel a giant mech suit in the last season finale. But NOW she gets the opportunity to show her stuff in canon material AND in one on one combat, not to mention showing her better qualities of being chivalrous, eager to help her friends, and most importantly disgustingly rich enough to destroy the city and be able to cover the costs. Luckily she also gets to go up against an opponent that lets her get these qualities out in the open to make them look great, which turns out to be Baba of MEMBER, the group that got totally stomped (or WILL get totally stomped later) in Index. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s got the same voice actor as Asta from Black Clover.
As for what’s happening with our leads, this situation helps display some of Misaka’s better and worse qualities. She’s definitely a quick thinker, which is good when one has as versatile powers as she does, but she’s also someone who would rather take on a problem by herself if she can and push others away when possible. If not for Kongou volunteering, she probably would have fine trying to carry this burden entirely on her own. Now, she’s not going to be thrilled to hear that Kongou got pretty banged up because of her OR that now others are also hooked, including Saten, but it was probably the better call in the long run. Speaking of Saten, it seems Misaki left some mental connections in place, as Saten still finds herself remembering Misaka’s love of Gekota keychains even when her memories of Misaka as a person are so muddled, while Kuroko is likely having some confusing feelings of her own regarding how she interacted with Misaka briefly. That is definitely going to be an interesting development to follow as the group works on getting their memories back, which we will see more of next week. In the meantime, more supporting character showcase incoming as Awatsuki and Wannai take on Baba’s army of K-9 bots, who will probably need more than a spaying and neutering. Help us Bob Barker!