Back to Mariko not eating because she hates her life- like seriously, she really doesn't want to eat-
Nanako and Tomoko bond over eating- someone sure went all out animating Tomoko eating- and Nanako worries out loud about Mariko.
Mariko lies on her bed at home and her mom tries to enthuse her for the prospect of steak, but when her pleading reaches "you're my only treasure, please don't make me sad" with the subtext being that her marriage is 100% down the tubes, Mariko snaps.
Anyway, Mariko's mom leaves, and we cut to Nanako's family life- her dad bringing her an English dictionary and ruffling her hair and her mom bringing her tea and some pie while she studies for midterms, and them all just being a warm, functional family.
She dials Mariko's number, but hangs up, so Mariko doesn't pick up in time.
At school, Nanako and Mariko's Sorority sempai "Princess Mona Lisa" (I love the nicknames at this school) asks them if they could go buy flowers for the first weekly Sorority tea party of the year. (Hey, my dorm had weekly tea parties too! We were just like the Sorority! Aside from the loud burping and people sitting on the floor and "come whenever you feel like it" attendance.)
Mariko is just about ready to pee herself in excitement over buying flowers for the tea party, because it's the Sorority equivalent of a Congressional Summit.
Mariko tries to bring up the elephant in the room while reaching for Nanako's arm, but that doesn't go quite as hoped.
Nanako is depressed while lunching with Tomoko, and Tomoko is sharp enough to be like, "Yup, something did happen at that party" but knows better than to push for details.
At lunch, Kaoru tries to tempt Mariko with sandwiches, but Mariko gets mad and unwittingly strikes a nerve.
Kaoru almost completely loses her shit, but regains her composure and leaves with a nice zinger.
Because Kaoru outwardly has everything together, she comforts Mariko after Mariko is like "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ME" and runs crying down some stairs. Mariko unwittingly hurts her again by telling her how much shinier her life is.
The Kaoru fangirls at this school fail at reading the situation,
so Mariko runs back to her classroom.
Then a scene in which Rei is recklessly cocky ("Imma make it look like I'm jumping from this balcony to play volleyball with y'all.") turns into another Rei-Fukiko scene that attests to the health and functionality of whatever you would call their relationship.
Then Mariko faints and Kaoru princess carries her, but she sadly isn't conscious to enjoy it. An ambulance takes Mariko to the hospital, accompanied by Kaoru, and Nanako rushes to Mariko's house to let her mom know what happened.
We cut to Mariko's mom out shopping, hence the school not being able to reach her, and see why her marriage to her generic-looking husband is dead.
BTW, Mariko's mom's arc is ultimately pretty great.
She goes from sad housewife to happier single and supporting herself and Mariko.
Kaoru stays by Mariko's bedside and ponders the irony of fighting a terminal illness while surrounded by healthy people who practically have death wishes.
Mariko's mom's day continues to get better as she learns her daughter is in the hospital, and Nanako learns from her that Mariko won't eat as long as she doesn't forgive her. Which is (figuratively) really unhealthy, but not really manipulative on Mariko's part, IMO, because she didn't do anything to let Nanako know about it. Nanako REALLY, REALLY shouldn't feel guilty or responsible for it, though, although I do uncomfortably understand as someone who has had misplaced guilt for holes other people have dug themselves into.
Back at the hospital, Kaoru manages to have a good bedside manner while calling Mariko out on her shit.
Mariko's mom comes in, then Nanako, and Mariko is tsundere.
And we finally see Mariko's dad's face.
Uh, never mind.
And Nanako and Mariko make up.
In a lesser series, the resolution of this arc would be it for Mariko's development, and as far as we'd see, it'd be wrapped up with a neat bow. She still has a lot to improve and confront, and we'll continue to see that throughout this series. It may be hard to believe at this point, but she does become likable.
The next episode promises more fainting, suitably melodramatic rain, and a lot of Rei.