Shizuku and Haru are both trying to figure out what they want and how to get there.
As the school has their Cultural Festival, Shizuku is still trying to keep Haru at arm’s length (or, actually, “2 meters”). And she bluntly reminds him of this after he actually punches her while trying to, well, It’s hard to figure out what he was actually trying to do, but he let himself be easily manipulated into losing his cool by Yamaken, who had been talking to Shizuku. But Shizuku is trying to keep everyone at that same distance, and when Asako, who has wanted nothing more desperately throughout the whole show than to be close to another girl friend, tries to be that friend that Shizuku really needs, Shizuku tells her it’s none of her business and walks away, leaving Asako crushed. But then the best advice Shizuku has gotten comes along, from the person of Yamaken. Of all the people in the show, Yamaken is arguably (the only other candidates being Sasayan and Mitsuyoshi) the most ‘normal’, even if his worldview is cynical and his motives overtly selfish. He makes Shizuku realize how lopsided her attitude towards Haru is, wanting him to meet her expectations, but not putting forth effort to reciprocate.
Mitsuyoshi also shines in a brief appearance in this episode, helping Asako realize that her ideas of girl friendship are a little colored by fiction, and if she wants to be friends with Shizuku, she just needs to keep trying and not assume it’s over. Meanwhile, reflecting on what Yamaken told her, Shizuku apologizes to Haru (while scolding him for his impulsive actions, see The Bad below) and then to Asako, who is glad to be her and Haru’s friend.
Shizuku owns up to her fears
And in a final encounter in the episode, Haru lays it on the line, pointing out that Shizuku says she doesn’t love him, but then sometimes acts like she does, and he can’t understand what she’s doing. This forces Shizuku to realize that while Haru may be immature and rough on the edges, he’s also guileless and always sincere. She finally confesses that her reasons for keeping him away are primarily that she lost her nerve to deal with Haru as her ability to concentrate on studying was hampered by her attention wandering to him. This causes Haru to embrace her, both of them feeling an unknown desire for human contact, just like Shizuku mentioned a few episodes ago, and makes her remember the other time she felt like that, after waking up on his lap in the sun: embarrassed, happy, comforted, discomfited. In the end, she asks Haru for some time to think about their relationship and also about her own self.
Haru once again shows his large amount of immaturity, in that he can’t figure out how to deal with other people pulling his strings. This episode had two separate occasions where Haru is provoked into just being stupid. One of the biggest checks on the amount of damage immature kids can do is their limited size and strength. But Haru has been repeatedly shown as excessively strong, even though he’s a thin guy (perhaps part of his ‘strength’ is actually a lack of the self-limits that most people impose on themselves?). And combined with his quick temper and his poor understanding of grownup situations, this leads to bad things happening when he has encounters with people who like to tweak him, primarily Yamaken and especially Yuzan. And that leads us into…
First he punches Shizuku…
Haru’s provokability this time causes him to hurt both of the main girls in the show. First he punches Shizuku when Yamaken dodges him, after being provoked by Yamaken’s casual touching of Shizuku. And this wasn’t a Chuu2Koi joke punch. It was pretty much a full on punch that left Shizuku with a bloody nose. That this doesn’t have more serious repercussions in his relationship with Shizuku is somewhat unbelievable, but mostly because Shizuku also feels guilty about her initial reaction to it. If Haru wanted to continue having a chance with Shizuku, that’s the kind of thing that definitely needs to stop. Shizuku won’t (well, shouldn’t) take that for long.
Then he holds Chizuru hostage?
The other time he gets in trouble is when he’s in the middle of talking to Chizuru, with Yamaken and Shizuku overhearing it (since all of them were hiding from Yuzan), when Yuzan comes in. Somehow this ends up with Haru holding Chizuru in a threatening pose. There’s no explanation for why Haru would grab Chizuru like this. Is he trying to shield himself from Yuzan? With a girl who likes him, and had just about confessed to him immediately before? What the hell is he doing? Maybe sometime we’ll actually find out what it is about Yuzan that causes Haru to lose all semblance of control.