WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 6 of Dr. Stone, "Two Nations of Stone World," now streaming.
The last two episodes of Dr. Stone have dealt with the cliffhanger-ending drama of Senku's apparent death and subsequent revival. His untimely death, the second since the series began, came at the fast, deadly hand of his rival in this futuristic Stone World, Tsukasa. His miraculous recovery was achieved through both his ingenious fiddling with Tsukasa's subconscious and his friends, Taiju and Yuzuriha, putting all the pieces he'd left for them in place.
Pouring the reviving Stone Formula on a section of the young scientist's neck that was still sealed by the odd stony substance that entombed humanity 3,700 years ago, Taiju and Yuzuriha are delighted to see their self-appointed leader restored.
While Senku's life hangs in the balance, we're treated to a little unseen backstory leading up to the events of the first episode. One of the most burning questions since Dr. Stone began is how and why the strange petrification phenomenon that created the Stone World all those thousands of years ago happened. Senku has a couple of theories involving things like aliens or an out-of-control virus but, following his second revival, Taiju's irrepressible optimism rubs off on him, and he starts to wonder if the "attack" was actually something more benign -- maybe even a gift.
After all, the same process that stopped the human race in its tracks also has incredible healing properties. The only other animals affected were, weirdly, swallows -- a clue that will likely prove instrumental later on when the mystery is further unpicked.
However, as we learned prior to Senku's "death," humanity didn't seem to be entirely frozen before the genius teenager was de-petrified. Tsukasa is accosted by this very evidence in this episode: a young girl named Kohaku who responded to the gang's accidental smoke signal and became enraged when she witnessed the "primate" high-schooler's murderous action. Hearing her refer to Senku as a "sorcerer" and fail to understand what the gunpowder he engineered was by name, Tsukasa deduces that her lack of 21st century knowledge means she can't be from his generation's era. Rather, she must be, somehow, born of this current primitive one.
He also decides that this makes her a threat to him, knocking down a huge tree to trap her. Once again, though, Tsukasa makes that typical villains' error of not sticking around to see the job through to the end.
Over at the Kingdom of Science's camp, Senku makes a difficult but necessary tactical decision of his own: continue to allow Tsukasa to think his greatest enemy is slain, and send his allies -- Taiju and Yuzuriha -- to infiltrate his soon-to-be-established Empire to keep an eye on him. Meanwhile, Senku will seek out the native inhabitants of the Stone World -- like Kohaku -- in the hopes of fighting Tsukasa's army of the young with his own science-enhanced allies.
Though she battles valiantly against Tsukasa, Kohaku doesn't avoid the falling tree in time. Luckily, she lands in a crevice in the earth that bears the brunt of its weight, leaving her stuck but largely unhurt. When Senku arrives on the scene -- having heard the tree's fall -- he creates a physics-assisted pulley system (inspired by "Old Man Archimedes") to carefully lift the trunk off of her, to which she expresses a blossoming affection for her "sorcerer" savior.
Given the terrible first and second impressions Tsukasa left on her, you can bet she'll be an easy recruit to Senku's cause.
New episode of Dr. Stone air every Saturday night as part of Adult Swim's Toonami block, and on Crunchyroll.