WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for One-Punch Man Season 2, Episode 10, "The Encircling Net of Justice," available now on Hulu.
After spending the majority of the second season hunting heroes as the self-proclaimed "human monster," Garou finds himself on the run in the latest episode of One-Punch Man, pursued by the very figures he had stalked relentlessly before. The past couple of episodes have seen Garou's villainous efforts begin to backfire on him with disastrous consequences and, as the season moves into its climax, the hero hunter has effectively become the hunted.
Picking up from the previous episode, Garou awakens battered and bloodied after being embarrassingly dispatched by Saitama with a single kick during their long awaited rematch. Still unclear how exactly he was defeated so quickly, Garou had similarly been easily beaten by the S-Class hero, Watchdog Man, who employed an animalistic combat style that the villain was ill-equipped to counter and defend himself from. The two back-to-back losses have visibly begun to take a toll on the over-eager antagonist who finds himself completely exhausted and recuperating in a remote shack rather than resuming his hunt for new heroic prey.
While recovering, Garou is confronted by the boy, Tareo, whom he had confided with earlier throughout the season, even using the boy's manual of heroes to help him track down and develop strategies against prominent figures within the Hero Association. Tareo had been forced by his friends to drive Garou out, revealing that the shack was used by them for their own fun, free from adult intruders. It is then that the exhausted villain notices that Tareo has been ostracized by his peers.
Over the course of Season 2, it was revealed that Garou's own violent vendetta against superheroes stemmed from being bullied as a youth, seeing monsters constantly destroyed by publicly adored heroes as kindred spirits. To avenge the fallen monsters, Garou had trained most of his life in martial arts, quickly rising through the ranks before defeating his fellow students once he felt he reached a reasonable level of power and skill to carry out his rampage.
Seeing Tareo brought to tears, Garou realizes the boy has a similar background and urges him to grow strong to overcome bullies himself. Believing he has just delivered life-changing advice, Garou's aspirational stance is undercut when Tareo points out how obvious the suggestion is.
The moment between the two misunderstood characters is cut short when the hero, Death Gatling, announces he has arrived with his team, consisting of Smile Man, Chain Toad, Gun Gun, Glasses, Stinger, Shooter and Wildhorn, to stop Garou's hero hunting activities for good. Death Gatling and Garou had noticed each other at the beginning of the episode but the human monster was too tired to issue a challenge before the hero could gather reinforcements.
The fight quickly begins in earnest and, while Garou had previously shown himself more than capable of battling against superior numbers, his fatigue and the coordinated strategy between Death Gatling's team prove to be more than a match for the hero hunter, even when he attempts to target its weakest member, Glasses.
Garou had constantly challenged himself to take on progressively more powerful heroes over the course of Season 2 of One-Punch Man, often rising against mounting odds to pull out bloody victories against high-ranking opponents and larger groups. After enduring two decisive defeats, the villain appears to finally be on his last legs and offers what he believes to be sage advice to a similarly isolated boy.
However, Garou's own legacy has finally caught up to the exhausted antagonist as he is relentlessly hunted by heroes who seek to stop his rampage and finally bring him into justice. As the Monster Association faces the possibility of a cataclysmic defeat, so does the self-proclaimed human monster against those he had underestimated the entire season.
Produced by J.C. Staff, new episodes of One-Punch Man debut every Tuesday on Hulu.