Treachery, Bloodshed, and All-Out War: It All Comes Down to The Final Shōgun Showdown

After nine exhilarating episodes of fight for power, betrayal, and bloodshed, all eyes are glued to The Final Shōgun Showdown, as the acclaimed miniseries comes to a riveting conclusion this week.

In the volatile political landscape of Feudal Japan, what would all the scheming ways, intense revelations, and tragic fates lead up to? We’ve listed down the most important events that have transpired thus far. It’s time to make your best guesses on how these will impact the outcome of the series finale.

Just a friendly reminder, though: MAJOR SPOILERS ALERT! 

Otherwise, keep reading. Here we go:

1. The Anjin got guns

Meet John Blackthorne, an English pilot-major whose ship, the Erasmus, was caught in a storm off the coast of Japan in 1600. His arrival not only served as an outsider's perspective of the developing Feudal Japan but also a window to the growing influence the Catholics had in Japanese politics and tradition. His guns and apt seafaring abilities postponed his death sentence, but it was Toranaga’s influence that kept him alive, much to the dismay of other bushō.

Having successfully found his own place in Toranaga's regimen, what role will he play in Toranaga's Crimson Sky? Will he – and his guns and cannons – be an ally or adversary?

2. A bloody day in Edo

The death of Ishido’s messenger, Nebara Jozen, signaled the first glimpse of the bloody war that was about to come. A cannon fire struck Jozen and his men, as directed by the naive and easily manipulated Nagakado, Toronaga’s son.

But Toranaga would not be played. He knew it was Omi and Yabushige who orchestrated the whole ordeal and made Nagakado pull the trigger. As Lady Mariko declared it herself: “It is war.”

Yabushige’s duplicitous ways seem unending and inevitable. How will Toranaga, a master of mind games himself, use these to his advantage in seizing full control of the Council?

3. A samurai’s wrath

Alongside his army, Toranaga returned with an unexpected guest – Mariko’s presumed-dead husband, Buntaro, who survived with the help of a ronin. This brought shock to Mariko, especially after her dalliance and deepening relationship with Blackthorne. After his heroic sacrifice, Buntaro was welcomed with defeat, having to live under the roof of his adversary, Blackthorne.

Grieving the death of his marriage and his father, Hiromatsu, how will this once great samurai regain a sense of purpose in his life? Will he lead the charge during Toranaga’s Crimson Sky?

4. Will fate be on Lady Ochiba’s side?

A victim of fate, getting pushed by the currents when Mariko's father killed the Taiko, Lady Ochiba embodied strength and intelligence, wasting no time in wielding her influence to shape events in her son’s favor and further her personal agenda. Not only did she turn the tide on Toranaga, as she believes Toranaga plotted the assassination of her father and other opposing council members, but she also saw through Mariko’s intention when Mariko threatened to kill herself. Now allied with and engaged to Ishido, Ochiba became a figure of power and perseverance to protect the heir and herself.

What is she willing to do to protect her child once all hell breaks loose? Will she be a victim of fate yet again or will she be the one directing it now? And where will her resentment for Toranaga take her?

5. Minowara, the Shogun?

Toaranaga’s strength was once again put to test when Saeki betrayed him, accepted Ishido and Ochiba’s offer of a seat at the council, and escorted his brother, Toranaga, back to Osaka. The night before the forced surrender, Saeki faced a surprise attack from Nagakado, resulting in his nephew’s untimely and shameful demise – which only added fuel to Toranaga’s fire.

Losing family members, one through treachery and the other through an accident, understandably broke something inside Toranaga. Now, the lord who used to have everything has nothing, not even his most loyal aide, Hiromatsu. Will he finally change his mind and become the Shogun?

6. So long, friend

Surrounded by doubt and fear, Toranaga's men were beginning to question their loyalty, clouded by the foreboding trip to Osaka that would mean death to them all.

Hiromatsu, as the ultimate and final show of loyalty to Toranaga, showcased total trust and allegiance to his lord by seppuku – and made sure all the important people in Toranaga's regimen saw it. This move not only let Toranaga pluck out the ones disloyal to him but also set forth Crimson Sky, his long-decided plan.

Will his sacrifice be worth it? Will he be remembered for his courage and decades-long dedication to his friend and liege?

7. Her death and the war to come

Proving her allegiance and faith for the last time, Mariko knew she would be risking her life the moment she set foot in Ishido’s council and asserted her loyalty to Toranaga. After the public confrontation with Ishido’s guards, men were sent to kill Mariko and Toranaga's followers as a brutal and desperate demonstration of power. Faced with imminent danger, Mariko, graceful as ever, made the selfless choice and welcomed death to save the others.

In her sacrifice, Mariko not only proved her total and utter allegiance to Toranaga but also set the stage for the bloody and brutal war that was about to come. Her death as a samurai’s daughter, challenged Ishido’s leadership while awakening the fire in Toranaga’s clan and other bushō that would be necessary in waging their war against Ishido’s Osaka.

With the fate of Feudal Japan hanging in the balance, Shōgun promises to deliver more shocking twists and turns, more punches straight to the gut, and more heart-stopping moments one last time. Don’t miss The Final Shōgun Showdown today, April 23, on Disney+.

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