When Nodame's timer goes off, Chiaki wakes up and finds the pocketwatch in his hand.
Kiyora daydreams about R.S-Oke's triumphant performance. Masumi suggests having another concert.
He shows Kiyora the rave review they received in the newspaper, and Mine's father attests to the concert's profitability. Masumi calls the others who are enthusiastic. Kikuchi (with his girlfriends fighting in the background) agrees with a request to play a cello concerto. Kimura says he was already planning for a concert, in fact he is in the process of putting up posters to advertise it.
Chiaki has an anxiety attack at the airport after asking Mine to accompany him to Hokkaido for ramen. Nodame had left a hypnotic suggestion for him to take a short flight to Hokkaido in preparation for traveling to Europe. Mine is confused about the trip, but since Chiaki is paying for it, he's in.
Chiaki panics when Mine's phone rings and rushes to turn it off. Mine protests that he'll turn it off after they board the plane. The anxiety attack continues with Chiaki clinging to Mine after they take their seats. However, Nodame's hynoptic assurances that everything will be okay eventually take hold.
Once on the ground, Chiaki feels confident that he can fly anywhere. Mine tells him that everyone wants to do another concert; it's the first step in his plan for an everlasting orchestra. Chiaki is conflicted now that his fear of flying is under control and he can fulfill his dream of going to Europe.
Mine wants to go sightseeing, but Chiaki, gripped by hypnotic suggestion, rushes to the market to buy crab, sea urchin, ramen, melons and white lover chocolate.
Saiko meets with Chiaki's mother who tells her that Chiaki is able to fly again, thanks to Nodame.
When Chiaki gets home, he finds a note from Nodame asking him to take care of her plant as she'll be away for awhile. He checks in with Mine's father who explains that Nodame is staying at Eto's house. He thanks Chiaki for looking after Mine in Hokkaido,staring longingly at the crate of crabs Chiaki is holding. When he mentions that Mine didn't bring any crab back, Chiaki misses the hint and leaves.
Nodame practice's at Eto's house. When she asks if she can win the competition, Eto tells her that there isn't much time; this year is just to prepare for next year. Nodame insists that next year will be too late. She wants to win the two million yen and scholarship to study abroad. Eto informs her that no one enters competitions just for money, but she says that she must win so she can follow Chiaki to Europe.
Chiaki is watching Nodame practicing through the window when he is caught peeping by Kaori (Mrs. Eto). She's excited when she sees the crab, so he gives her all the souviners from Hokkaido and asks that she eat it with everyone.
Chiaki asks if Eto is still holding cram sessions. Kaori tells him that it has been awhile since her husband was so enthusiastic. His current student will be entering the Maradona Piano Competition. She's the first to be having special cram sessions since Chiaki, so she must be an excellent student.
Chiaki is surprised since Nodame always hated the idea of entering competitions. He notices that her playing is reckless. Her sounds and technique are superb, but he wonders if Eto can fix her bad habit of improvisation. If Nodame is serious about piano, it's best that Eto work with her.
Chiaki goes home to find 44 messages on his answering machine, most of which are from Masumi. In the midst of them, his mother congratulates him on flying and mentions that he can go to Europe now. Chiaki happily remembers his childhood there.
Kaori serves up the crab, explaining that it came from Chiaki. Eto mentions that he must have brought them for his girlfriend. Nodame realizes that Chiaki successfully made it to Hokkaido and tearfully starts eating.
Sakuma shows Kawano an issue of Oshiuri (a newspaper) where music critic Okawa Soutaro gave R.S-Oke a glowing review. Kawano informs him that Okawa called to ask when the next concert will be. Sakuma waxes poetic about the talented members while the office mostly ignores him. Kawano receives a call from Elise.
Eto scolds Nodame for improvising. He explains that doing so in competition shows that you don't understand the piece or the composer. The first round is for eliminating participants on basic technique which is where she's weakest.
Nodame asks if the judges can be influenced by sending them gifts and if he has any connections. She conjures up an image of Eto and Kaori bribing an official with ryo (gold currency used before 1885). Eto screams that entrants are represented by number so names and schools are unknown. Most of the judges are foreign anyway. Nodame says that it's fine if no one can cheat, then she won't worry. Eto wonders if she really thinks she can win and where she gets the confidence.
Eto tells Nodame that she's terrible at Schubert and asks why it has to be that piece. She says it's like trying to date a type of guy you've never dated before.
Chiaki gets a text from Nodame saying that Schubert seems to be a difficult person. She's tried talking to him, but they've yet to become friends.
Kuroki approaches and asks Chiaki if the text is from Nodame. He says it's okay, that it's unthinkable for such a wonderful girl not to have a boyfriend. Chiaki assures him that he's misinformed about Nodame (being wonderful) and they aren't dating either.
Their conversation is interrupted by Mine and Masumi who rush Chiaki outside where top students from other schools have gathered, asking to join R.S-Oke. Tamaki and Hashimoto are there to apply as well, along with Ookouchi who feigns indecisiveness. Masumi promptly kicks him.
Mine announces that they will hold auditions. Chiaki interjects that he hasn't decided whether they'll have another concert yet, but Mine informs him that it's already been scheduled for December 25 at Suntory Hall. Kawano has secured the hall for them with Classic Life signing on as their sponsor.
Everyone is excited except for Chiaki. Mine turns to him and tells him that they're counting on him. Kikuchi adds that it's because he's the key person.
Kawano calls Chiaki to report that Strezemann has stopped in Japan on his world tour, but has disappeared from the hotel. At that moment, everyone is amazed to see the maestro approaching. Strezemann opens his arms to Chiaki, but just short of the hug, asks him why he hasn't sent the Nagaoka Mami Photo Book.
A drinking party ensues with lots of dancing and shouting led by Strezemann. Chiaki asks him why he came to Japan. The maestro inquires about Nodame. After hearing that she's training for a competition, he concludes that Chiaki must be able to fly. He tells Chiaki to come with him when he returns the following week to prepare for next year's conducting competition in Vienna. He should feel the music of the world as soon as possible. Chiaki argues that he has a concert to do, but Strezemann tells him not to talk back. Whatever he says, goes.
Nodame wonders if she can remember all the variations in the Schubert piece she has been practicing. She takes a break and reads Chiaki's reply text. He asks if Schubert is really a difficult person and tells her not to just talk about herself, but listen to the other party too. He encourages her to face the score head-on. She recalls Strezemann telling her to face the music head on or she won't be able to enjoy it from her heart. And also the part about her not being able to be with Chiaki as things stand now.
Nodame decides to face the score seriously. She follows it accurately, but get lost before too long. As she continues to practice, she imagines Chiaki giving her corrections, telling her that each note has a meaning, asking if she can see the scene it depicts. As she gains new understanding of the music, she's transported.
As Nodame plays during the first round of the competition, Professor Auclair listens intently. His colleague comments that a wonderful player has finally emerged. Eto is happily surprised and wonders when Nodame changed her playing style.
Nodame tells Chiaki that she passed the first round, and also, she loves him. Chiaki says that though passing the first round is nothing to celebrate, he wouldn't mind cooking for her. She declines as she has to start practicing immediately for the second round. She apologizes for making him feel lonely, which he denies. Nodame thanks Chiaki for the crabs and asks when he's going to Europe. At first he can't answer and she wonders if he no longer wants to go.
Chiaki says that he wants to go, but they've decided to have another concert and he doesn't want to inconvenience everyone. Nodame tells him not to use others as an excuse. His talent is being recognized and he's meant to go out into the world. She demands that he stop being a coward and dragging his feet. As she runs off, Chiaki stares after her shocked not just at her words, but the aggressive tone she took with him.
Eto tells Nodame to practice Chopin's Etude and Debussy's L'isle Joyeuse. Nodame says she's already learned Etude and proceeds to play it. As a child she had performed it in class to the delight of the other students and their parents who were so impressed with her skill level. Eto realizes that Nodame is not only talented, but she can touch the hearts of others, even making Chiaki buy her crabs. He thinks that perhaps she can make it.
Out for a congratulatory dinner, Nodame mentions that she recalled a bad memory. Eto tells her to put it out of her mind. He praises his other student, saying that his preparations from last year have paid off. His student says that Nodame's Schubert was good and she has fans now.
Kaori mentions that in terms of technique, Nodame ranked close to Segawa Yuuto. Eto adds that Segawa won the Oshiuri Competition while still in high school and studied abroad. He's a favorite to win. Kaori interjects that if he's that talented, he should enter bigger international competitions. Nodame seems to remember the name from somewhere.
Chiaki reviews orchestra applications. He thinks about Strezemann ordering him to return to Europe the following week, and Nodame telling him not to be a coward.
Eto runs into Chiaki and invites him to watch the second round of the Maradona Competition. Chiaki says that he's busy. When Eto accuses him of being a cold boyfriend, Chiaki denies being Nodame's boyfriend and remarks that she's doing just fine without him. Eto explains that Nodame is seriously going for first place because she wants to catch up to Chiaki and study abroad with him.
Chiaki calls Strezemann to say that he will go to Europe right after R.S-Oke's concert. Mine overhears the conversation. Strezemann tells Chiaki that he's matured, and for his last performance, he won't tolerate mediocrity. Chiaki leaves and Mine keeps out of sight looking heartbroken.
Kaori tries to get Nodame to wear makeup and fix her bedhead. She tells her to think of something fun like feeling good to be in love. When Debussy went on a trip to a southern island with his girlfriend, he composed this piece in great happiness. Nodame checks her phone and feels depressed.
Eto gives Nodame a pep talk on their way to the stage when she hears someone calling her name. Nodame recognizes him as the boy from her childhood piano class, Yuuto. She seems shaken and Eto hurries her off as they're late.
Eto is happy to see Chiaki show up just in time for Nodame's performance. Chiaki notices that she'll be playing Chopin first. Technique and accuracy are required for that piece and he wonders if Nodame can do it. Professor Auclair wakes up excited to see bedhead dress girl play.
Nodame sees Yuuta watching her from the balconey. As she sits down, she remembers her teacher hitting her hand until she bit him, after which he knocked her to the gound while Yuuta smirked.
Nodame can't escape her childhood trauma as she plays the same piece that elicited the abuse from her teacher.
Eto is puzzled by Nodame's slapdash performance. He realizes that it's all over now. Auclair still looks interested while Chiaki is worried. Nodame's tortured playing is cause for concern.
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