It's Nodame's first visit home in two years. The Noda family is happy to have everyone together. They wonder what her plans are after graduation. Nodame's brother points out that she will have to teach. The family has spent so much money paying for her tuition to an expensive music academy, that if it doesn't result in her getting a job, it will turn into a bad debt. Mrs. Noda remarks that piano is all Nodame has. Her father agrees; she could never have gotten into a regular college. At least graduating from a music academy will make her seem refined and she might be able to get married.
Nodame excuses herself and her famly wonders what's wrong with her. She hasn't played the piano at all since she arrived.
Mine's father serves a Rising Star's Christmas Concert Memorial Special to Sakuma. He asks Chiaki if he wants this feast as well, but Chiaki just orders his usual club sandwich with coffee.
Sakuma reports that he met with Matsuda, Chiaki's first choice for his replacement as R.S-Oke's conductor. Matsuda is interested in joining the orchestra. Chiaki thanks Sakuma and asks why he's so good to him. Sakuma explains that musicians need not only talent, but important encounters with people in order to make history. He wanted to be someone like that for Chiaki.
Kawano arrives to remind Sakuma that he has a deadline. As she and Chiaki leave the restaurant, she reveals that Sakuma used to be a musician as well, playing piano and conducting like Chiaki. Chiaki asks if he didn't get a good opportunity in music, but Kawano says he just didn't have much talent. That's why he can't pass up a person who has talent they don't know what to do with.
Mine toasts the new members of R.S-Oke, to the success of the concert, and Chiaki's future as well. Moe, Kaoru, Tamaki and Hashimoto, along with many of the S-Oke members have been accepted. Kikuchi says they have a lot of potential and asks for the Suzuki sisters' phone numbers.
Chiaki talks to Kuroki who confirms that he will be studying abroad soon. Mine asks Chiaki about the new conductor and hopes he is someone they all can accept. Ookouchi steps forward thinking that he's the natural replacement, but Chiaki announces that Matsuda will be joining them. He was with the Paris orchestra until last year and is currently conducting the M Philharmonic in Japan. Everyone is overjoyed. Chiaki thinks about how his job here is done.
Chiaki looks around his apartment, thinking about how he needs to pack everything up. He lingers over Nodame's plant, the pocketwatch and the concert ticket that Saiko had brought over for Nodame.
Mine tries to call Nodame, but can't get through. Everyone wonders how she's doing when suddenly Mine's father remembers something about her.
Chiaki remembers back to Nodame asking what was wrong with playing freely and for fun. It's not a matter of right and wrong, he thinks, if she doesn't come to Europe with him, he won't be able to hear her play.
The phone rings and Chiaki rushes to answer it. Mine's father tells him that they're selling Christmas cakes and since Nodame returned home, she asked that her cake be given to Chiaki as a gift. He mentions that Nodame told him she lives in a big metropolitan city. Mine takes the phone and tells Chiaki that Kiyora is mad that they don't have a day off before Christmas, so rehearsals are cancelled. Kiyora doesn't know what he's talking about.
Chiaki decides to call Nodame at her family's home, but when he refers to the shipping label on one of the boxes her they had sent her, there is only an address. He thinks of Sakuma's words and curses the fact that he has to be that person for Nodame.
At first Chiaki plans to fly to Kyuushuu, but anxiety takes hold of him and he decides to take the bullet train instead. Meanwhile, Nodame finds herself reminiscing about her performance in front of an audience.
Chiaki gets to Kyuushuu and finds there is no Okawa station, so he takes a taxi. Nodame goes home and is pleased to find her piano is tuned. She starts to play for the first time since the competition.
Chiaki contemplates what a strange girl Nodame is; what is he thinking taking someone like that with him? He wonders how he can persuade her. He knew she had no interest in going pro, and coercion does not work with her. But he thought it'd be different with him, that she would follow him if he asked her to. It's no joke, he thinks, she has no idea how much courage it took to ask her.
Nodame's grandmother comes in and applauds. Nodame explains that she's playing the Schubert piece that she performed at the competition. She admits that she failed. Her grandmother asks if it was fun, and Nodame says yes, she received big applause. She managed to play well because he supported her and she wore pretty dresses.
Chiaki figures out that Okawa City (Nodame's hometown) is not a metropolitan city as the cab drives on. He tries Nodame's cell, but it's still turned off. Meanwhile, Nodame checks her phone and is surprised to find that it's turned off. She has 23 messages, almost all from Eto. But there is one from Puri Gorota News so she reads it. It turns out that the message is from Eto (sneaky) who tells her that based on Professor Auclair's advice, he sent an application to a school in France on her behalf. The exam is in February, so she must hurry and contact him if she wants to go.
Masumi wonders if Chiaki is in Kyuushuu yet and tells Mine that he sees him in a new light (since he cancelled rehearsals in order to send Chiaki after Nodame). Mine says it's for the sake of his best friend and soulmate. Besides, his dad is lost without Nodame to taste his new dishes. He asks if Masumi is alright with losing Chiaki to Nodame. Masumi says that if it weren't for Nodame, he wouldn't have been able to get close to Chiaki at all, so he's happy.
The S-Oke members file in, saying that they've decided to practice in order to pay Chiaki back for all his help. Soon after, the rest of R.S-Oke drops by to say they didn't have anything to do with the sudden cancellation. Kiyora suggests they all rehearse.
Chiaki's cab bill escalates and he decides Nodame is nothing but lies, saying that her hometown was in a metropolitan city. Then he thinks about all the lies that she told him in the past, realizing that she always looks away when she's being dishonest. Even when he had asked if she had fun on stage during the competition, she was looking away when she said no.
Chiaki gets a call from Nodame who tells him that she's back in her hometown. He's startled when the cab passes her on the road and orders a u-turn. Oblivious, Nodame tells Chiaki that she's decided to study in France at Auclair's recommendation. She still has to take an exam and they may end up in different countries, but she will do her best to study piano so she can perform a concerto on stage with him one day. He'll conduct and she'll play piano, and they'll perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra. There will be requests for them to perfrom from all over the world. Playing Rhapsody in Blue with the New York Philharmonic would also be nice and they can play a violin sonata too.
By then Chikai reaches Nodame and hugs her from behind, telling her to say all that after she passes her exam. She must pass it and go to Europe with him. If she rejects him again, he won't forgive her.
They are caught by Nodame's father who comes up the river in his boat and asks what they are doing. When Chiaki realizes who he is, his eyes roll back into his head.
At the Noda house Nodame announces that she will study abroad and asks for the family's retirement savings. Everyone erupts indignantly until Chiaki explains that there are foundations that can support Nodame, especially since she got a recommendation from abroad.
Nodame introduces Chiaki and it's revealed that he was hugging her at the riverbank, and that he asked her to go to Europe with him. He tries to explain that it was like teammates hugging; they don't have a romantic relationship. Her family ignores him and celebrates the happy couple. Chiaki wonders at this environment that produced Nodame.
Kiyora is ready to play the violin solo in Carmen. Mine remarks that it's passionate, lively and dynamic, which suits her well. It's also appropriate for their last performance. Mine tells her that he'll do his very best and one day when she returns to Japan... he'll compete with her for the concert master position. Not quite what she was expecting him to say, but Kiyora smiles.
Nodame asks Chiaki which country he will be going to, and he says Prague when he was actually considering Paris as well. She asks if the two countries are close enough that she can eat with him after school. He explains that it would be impossible. She suggests that they live halfway between the two destinations so they can be together. He'll miss her before long, afterall, they've nutured their love while they were apart. Chiaki denies it, but Nodame asks him why he's come to her hometown then. He tries to make excuses, rather unsuccessfully.
Chiaki asks Nodame to play the piano, and when he realizes how rusty she is, he drags her out to go back for training immediately. They run into Nodame's father who is just returning with sea bream.
Mr. Noda convinces Chiaki to stay in Okawa City just a little longer. He asks if Nodame will really be alright studying abroad and proceeds to fill him in on her history with the piano. When Nodame was five years old, she took lessons from a music academy graduate who was so impressed with her talent, she insisted Nodame have proper training. Next they sent her to classes with a famous piano teacher in the neighborhood. He wanted them to take her abroad as soon as possible. But his lessons were strict and Nodame began to act strange and not want to attend them. Then the violent incident happened and Nodame stopped playing. Mr. Noda wonders if maybe she's not meant to pursue a music career. Being a professional is far from playing just for fun.
Chiaki says she'll be fine. Despite what happened, she's still playing piano. No one can know if she will succeed or not, but he really loves her piano. Nodame's father takes it to mean that Chiaki loves Nodame and embraces him, calling him son.
At home, Chiaki gets pulled into the family kotatsu for sushi and sake. Nodame shows him the new dress her mother made for her, and Mrs. Noda immediately fixates on Chiaki, wondering if she should make him a new shirt. She and Nodame tackle him to measure his body and he thinks they are perverts, vowing to never move to Paris.
Saiko meets with Chiaki's mother to discuss the fact that Chiaki's father has just moved to Prague. Chiaki won't want to live there now, so she suggests letting him study in Paris instead. His mother agrees.
Masumi announces that he passed the exam for the New Metropolitan Philharmonic. Nodame wonders if they chose him because of his hair.
Mine has them rehearse in formal clothing since they may not have a chance to take pictures on the day of the concert. Chiaki is touched when Mine urges him to succeed in Europe, but then he adds that the photos will sell better that way.
At first Nodame grumbles when they make her take the photos, but then she enjoys zooming in on Chiaki in every shot.
When rehearsal starts, Chiaki throws Nodame out so she will practice for her exam. He tells her to do her best; he'll be waiting for her in Paris.
As the rehearsal starts, Chiaki thinks about Carmen Fantasy, composed by putting together famous melodies from the opera, Carmen. It's a difficult piece that requires transcendent techniques. He can trust Kiyora with it. He reflects on how she made the orchestra with him; created a place for him.
Maki and Reina tell Nodame they were worried about her. Now the lunch thief is going abroad to study. They happily hug and celebrate together. Eto tells Tanioka that Nodame was a very interesting student, but also very scary. He couldn't do anything for her. Tanioka remarks that the Fart Exercise choreography was excellent. Besides, whether he really did anything or not won't be determined for at least 10 or 20 years.
During the break at the Christmas concert, the S-Oke members thank Chiaki. His strict training made them realize they loved music and that a professional career in music really was a possibility. They say they'll root for him when he goes abroad. Then the rest of R.S-Oke comes in and encourages Chiaki as well. Aizawa says it feels like a graduation. Takahashi tells Chiaki that he lovs the orchestra and Matsuda, but loves him the best. Masumi knocks him out of the way and thanks Chiaki, but can't bring himself to graduate from him. Kiyora vows to improve and become concert master again. Mine says he'll write, and Chiaki suggests email instead. Even Ookouchi is teary-eyed outside.
Nodame sees Strezemann and tells him to greet everyone before the last piece. He says there's no need, Chiaki will do just fine. She tells him she's now determined to face music seriously and he encourages her to do her best.
Minako comments that so many music academy students graduate, but there are limited career opportunities available. Having real talent doesn't guarantee a position with an orchestra. So many will waste their talent. Strezemann says that's why their music is wonderful. At this moment, the joy of being able to play music is overflowing from their spirits. They remind him that being able to continue with music is not just a matter of course.
Chiaki reflects that Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 is the last piece he will conduct as a student in Japan. It was the first piece he conducted in an orchestra. And he feels that something will begin again with this piece.
An emotional Chiaki feels he must convey his gratitude to this wonderful orchestra; the members helped to change him tremendously. He gives the okay for them to do their theatrical flourishes, twirling their instruments and posing dramatically. They finish to a standing ovation.