WARNING: The following article contains spoiler for the My Hero Academia episode "Rescue Exercises," which aired Saturday on Toonami.
My Hero Academia continued the Provisional Hero License Exam Arc this week with "Rescue Exercises," which introduces a new component to the exam: rescuing people. While the episode pushes the heroes to utilize their experience as heroes in new and interesting ways, arguably the most interesting component is how it furthers the will-they/won't-they dynamic between Ochaco Uraraka and Izuku Midoriya.
They have developed an immediately loyal friendship that may be gearing up to be more than a friendship. However, this episode might indicate the direction their relationship will go in the coming episodes, and in Season 4. Viewers hoping for these two to run off together into the sunset may be a little disappointed.
The Rescue Exam
This section of the exam focuses on the heroes rescuing civilians from disaster. A group of examiners (aptly named the Help Us Company) is placed in dangerous situations, waiting for rescue. The heroes-in-training are graded based on how effectively they protect them. How well-cared for are the civilians, physically and emotionally?
Midoriya, for example, loses points because he comments about how bad the situation is, within earshot of one of the victims, prompting him to imitate his idol All-Might with a big, goofy grin and a declaration of confidence. Class 1-A encounters problems with the whole procedure, and, while they do well, there are enough problems that indicate they might not all pass this portion of the exam.
Come the end of the episode, Gang Orca arrives on the scene to play the role of the villain, meddling in the rescue operations. Now, the heroes need to protect the civilians while keeping Orca and his crew at bay. But the episode ends with the exam's future uncertain.
Putting Aside Feelings
However, the core of this episode, at least emotionally, is Ochaco Uraraka's struggles while performing her duties and her uncertainty about her strong feelings for Midoriya. Throughout the series, it's been strongly implied, if not stated outright, that she's attracted to Midoriya; she admires him, at the very least. At most, she wants to be with him forever.
But she doesn't seem certain of those feelings. That makes sense, as Midoriya is probably her first serious crush. However, during the events of the exam, she resolves to put her feelings aside in order to complete the trials.
What Does This Mean Going Forward?
Its likely that Uraraka will inevitably deal with her strong feelings for Midoriya, but that ties up with Uraraka's resolve to better herself. Ever since the middle of Season 2, Uraraka has tried to become a better hero, able to match Midoriya in terms of competence. That ties in with her learning martial arts in the second season.
That she puts her feelings aside to become a better hero indicates two important things. First, that Uraraka won't fade into the love-interest role that so many other shonen characters fall into. She intends to be a powerful hero, and displayed incredible potential after she fought Bakugo to a stand-still in the Sports Festival Tournament Arc.
The other thing this may indicate is that Uraraka isn't anywhere near able to process her feelings about love yet. She has a lot to process, but she doesn't yet know how to deal with her. In all likelihood, Midoriya is entirely oblivious to the full extent of her feelings.
While shippers might want to see these two get together, their prospects aren't looking good as of now.