WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 5 of Dr. Stone, "Stone World, the Beginning," now streaming.
Dr. Stone's previous episode ended on a classic soap opera note: right after the possible death of a major character. Given that said major character was Senku -- the scientific genius whose inventiveness, as flashbacks in the latest episode reveal, powers the entire show -- the odds of him making a miraculous recovery seemed to be in his favor.
Unfortunately, his two companions in the Stone World, Taiju and Yuzuriha, don't know that they're on a television show and react to the seemingly fatal injury with the kinds of hysterics you'd expect. Thankfully for Senku, whose life now hangs in the balance, they're not so hysterical that they can't save their own skins from their powerful enemy, Tsukasa,
As Tsukasa mournfully regrets what could have been between the four of them in another time, the grieving Taiju quickly forms an escape plan. Launching a huge bolder at the super-humanly strong teenager, Tsukasa is distracted just long enough for Yuzuriha to make a dash for the gunpowder the group recently concocted. As the two objects meet, the resulting explosion gives the pair just enough time to make off with their fallen friend's body while Tsukasa is blinded by the smoke.
Once they've reached a safe distance, Taiju and Yuzuriha desperately try to figure out a way to revive Senku in a world without the medicine or technology that could have pulled such a feat off in their original time. Their minds turn to memories of everything Senku did and said, convinced that someone as equally intelligent and paranoid as him must have covertly indicated the secret to his survival if anything ever happened to him. As it turns out, that's exactly what he did.
Yuzuriha thinks of where Tsukasa hit Senku -- on the back of his neck -- and remembers the spiky-haired boy's penchant for cracking it, a habit he only developed in the Stone World, Taiju adds. Putting two-and-two together, they turn Senku onto his front and discover a small patch of stone nestled at the point Tsukasa delivered the blow. By continually drawing attention to that spot while they were together, Senku had planted the idea in Tsukasa's subconscious that he should kill him by striking him there.
Following Yuzuriha's revival, Senku and Taiju used some of the Secret Formula on one of her toes that was still covered in stone and discovered that the fluid also had restorative properties beyond just breaking the rocky outer shell encasing all of humanity. After pouring it on the tiny patch of stone that could well have saved Senku's life, the duo watch with bated breath as it cracks away, as the episode ends on yet another cliffhanger.
New episodes of Dr. Stone air every Saturday night as part of Cartoon Network's Toonami block, and on Crunchyroll.