Fast summary: Sode no Shirayuki throws the mother of all tantrums in a bid to get Rukia's attention. Rukia is so awesome that Shirayuki realizes she doesn't actually want to leave her, but Muramasa makes her. The end.
Less fast summary:
Rukia arrives in SS. Byakuya is still missing. After leaving his office, she sees several shinigami frozen in death, which she accurately takes as a sign that Sode no Shirayuki is around. She finds Sode no Shirayuki wreaking havoc on some shinigami redshirts. While fighting her, Rukia realizes that Sode no Shirayuki really hates her, something she finds odd given that SnS is in fact... her. She briefly reminisces about achieving shikai (Kaien is in the background clapping) and how happy she was that this beautiful sword was her own.
It's clear that SnS is angry at her. When she uses Hakuren on Rukia, Ichigo blocks it. Rukia is a tad upset that he came, since he has no idea what caused the zanpakuto rebellion (implication being he could get in trouble too). Still, he's off to fight Shirayuki, who comments to him (she's still calling him "shinigami substitute") that he must want to take it easy on her because she's Kuchiki Rukia's zanpakuto. SnS demonstrates her powers over ice very.. very.. clearly.
While watching the fight, Rukia realizes Shirayuki is doing all of this to hurt her. Rukia tells Ichigo to stand down, which he does. She has a beautiful speech to Shirayuki that I understand 1/20th of, but it seems to be about how she's letting Shirayuki go free. Rukia's idea of "going free" is to bind Shirayuki with a Rikujo Kouro; while frozen to SnS's body, she then sets off a Souren Sokatsui in the palm of her hand. The explosion blows them apart.
It becomes clear that whatever Sode no Shirayuki was doing and saying, she doesn't actually want to be apart from Rukia, because at the very end, she reaches out her hand to her. Muramasa catches the offending arm in question. The episode ends with him confronting Ichigo.
PREVIEW: looks like Zangetsu caught the disease :P
NOTEWORTHY (?) OBSERVATIONS
Sode no Shirayuki
- can make shields of ice
- can freeze the sword she's fighting against (Ichigo's)
- has a faster Hakuren
In short, her powers over ice and snow are clearly more advanced, or at least more varied, than what we've seen of Rukia's. I imagine this power difference will be so with at least all the non-captain shinigami. Kind of like when we saw Shirosaki using Zangetsu in ways Ichigo had never thought of.
Shirayuki instinctively rejects the idea of parting with Rukia for good, which makes me wonder just what she signed up for here.
Rukia says again and again that she and Shirayuki are the same. Zanpakuto and their shinigami are not just partners.
Rukia left Ichigo last episode in part because she didn't want his zan to get in trouble. Good intentions, Rukia, good intentions.
Why is everyone so okay with Byakuya being missing? First Ichigo, then Renji. "Oh, Rukia, I'm sure he's fine." ... um, no, he's mysteriously missing.
Muramasa self-identifies as a zanpakuto, so the question is... whose? My money is on a random Filler!character.
This is the second week I've done this, but I probably only will as long as I find the content relevant to my very limited interests.