While episode 8 was the first episode to delve more in-depth into Mariko's life, this time it's Kaoru's turn.
We get a brief recap of the previous episode before seeing Nanako sitting by the ocean, where Tomoko comes up and is like "So, how did the birthday party go?" Nanako tells Tomoko that it was just her, Mariko, and Mariko's mom, but not about what happened at Mariko's house.
Then they see Kaoru running, being her usual princely self. They exchange pleasantries before Kaoru continues along. Tomoko's admiringly like
Nanako dreads seeing Mariko at school the next day, and things will indeed be awkward.
But first a look at Mariko. She scares the hell out of her mom by lying motionless face down in her bathtub, only getting air when she hears her mom panicking.
In class the next day, she reaches for Nanako's hand and says she's sorry, but Nanako understandably doesn't respond. They're both miserable and being seatmates doesn't help.
And Rei rehearsing for a school play, quoting lines that seem to parallel her early relationship with Nanako- but also Fukiko to some extent.
Elsewhere, Kaoru collapses holding her chest when Nanako is nearby, and she asks Nanako to get her some painkillers.
Also known as not-the-nurse's-station.
For one of the most-fangirled-over students at Seiran, Rei is hard to pin down, but Nanako eventually learns she and her admirers are in the theater getting their Takarazuka on.
and notes after Nanako leaves that it must be really bad if Kaoru is asking for painkillers.
Nanako watches Kaoru for as long as she will allow it, and their conversation turns to how Kaoru's poor health made her idolize sports. (Which reminds me of one of the Hotaru-focused episodes of Sailor Moon.)
Nanako rushes to check Kaoru again after school as promised, but she's gone. Mariko chooses that as the worst possible time to try to apologize again and gets rushed by, and Nanako fails to reach Kaoru via something called a landline.
We last see Nanako wandering along the beach again, pondering what Kaoru told her awhile ago about not being able to help worrying for people when you can't really understand their pain or do anything for them. Speaking of which, a more lucid-seeming Rei redeems herself for her earlier behavior by going to the hospital to check on Kaoru. She missed Kaoru, but still gets confirmation that she's fine now.
Nanako concludes her ruminations on a bleak note, and we see that Mariko is still doing badly at home. That will segue into the next episode, which focuses on her again.