Skate 9 - Yuuri vs Yuuri! The Horror!! Rostelecom Cup, Free Skate (第9滑走: 勇利vsユーリ！おそロシア！！ロシア大会 フリースケーティング, Dai kyū Kassō: Yūri VS Yūri! Oso Roshia!! Roshia taikai furī sukētingu) is the ninth episode of Yuuri!!! on Ice.
With Victor gone, Yuuri is placed under the guidance of Yakov for the free skate. Meanwhile, Sara, who notices her brother's unhealthy dependency on her, urges Mickey to do well without her support. Just moments before his turn, Yurii decides to schedule his jumps later in the program, and delivers a flawless program. On the other hand, Yuuri is unable to perform his best without Victor around and barely manages to make the cut for the Grand Prix Final. Yuri finds Yuuri after the competition and shares Pirozhki containing katsudon filling made by his grandfather. Yuuri returns to Hasetsu where he reunites with Victor and a fully recovered Makkachin, and begs Victor to be his coach until he retires.
At an interview, Hisashi Morooka asks Yuuri about his morning practice with Yakov, and why Yuuri did not seem to talk with him. Yuuri quickly replies that he will continue to do what he and Victor have usually done in practices.
Outside, Yuri greets his grandfather in his car and is given a pork cutlet bowl pirozhki, which he enjoys immensely. Nikolai then wishes Yuri luck in the free skate, giving him confidence that he will be able to win.
As the skating order of the competitors is announced, Emil Nekola begins his program, skating to music from the movie Anastasis. The announcer then reveals Emil's theme and the four quads that he has planned.
Emil's first jump is a quadruple salchow, followed a quadruple jump combination, consisting of a quadruple toe loop and a triple toe loop. During Emil's performance, Sara Crispino tells her brother Michele that she will make it to the Grand Prix Final with or without his help, and that he needs to win without her support as well. Emil's next jump is a quadruple toe loop, which he nails cleanly. Backstage, Michele is unable to accept what Sara has told him, and embraces her in an attempt to change her mind, asking her to not leave him. Sara reprimands Michele, and states boldly that she is able to skate without his love.
As Michele makes his way to the rink, Emil does a quadruple loop, effectively completing all his quad jumps flawlessly. At this point, Emil begins to tire and messes up his planned combination, lowering his morale and causing him to also mess up on his triple Salchow jump. Emil ends his free skate with 189.15 points and a total score of 271.58.
After this, Michele begins his program, skating to "Serenade for Two". As he skates, he wonders whether Sara is watching him. Michele's first jump is a quadruple Salchow, which he performs perfectly. Next, Michele does a triple flip, single loop and triple Salchow combination, also executed without mistake. This is followed by a triple axel. In the audience, Sara notes that his skating is much more mellow in comparison to practices. Sitting beside Sara, Mila even goes as far as to say that he seems like a different person. In response to Mila, Georgi says that he can feel the love in Michele's skating. Michele thinks about how he has always protected Sara, but must now let her go, thinking to himself that this is his "true love". In the audience, Sara begins crying, and after Michele performs a triple Lutz, she suddenly runs off. Michele ends his free skate with 193.24 points for a total score of 282.89. Sara arrives and runs into Michele's arms, telling him that this has been the best program she's seen from him and that she is sorry for reprimanding him earlier. However, she quickly states, happily, that they are better off apart, and runs off to watch Seung-gil's program, leaving Michele bewildered.
Seung-gil Lee, who was shown to be nervous at the end of Michele's program, takes to the ice. He is seen touching down after a jump, and in the kiss and cry, it is mentioned that he fell attempting a quadruple loop. He receives a score of 164.37 for his free skate and an overall score of 236.2. After receiving his score, Seung-gil walks out, and is later seen crying, as he has lost the chance to advance to the Grand Prix Final.
During Seung-gil's program, Yuri was shown talking to Lilia Baranovskaya and Yakov Feltsman as he enters the stadium. He had decided to reduce the number of jumps in the first half of his program from four to two, so that he would do six in the second half. Yakov asks if he has a death wish, and Yuri replies that it is the only way he can beat JJ and Yuuri. As he begins his program, he thinks about how this performance will earn him his first gold medal in the senior division. His first jump is a quad (?), followed by a triple axel from a spiral. Mila comments on how high his jump was, wondering if he's too psyched up. Yuuri, watching his step sequence, wonders how Yuri manages to stay so calm. Yuri's second-half jumps are a triple Lutz, a triple flip, a quadruple toe loop, a quadruple Salchow, triple toe loop combination, a triple loop, double toe loop combination, and a triple axel, single loop, and triple Salchow combination.
He executes them all without any mistakes. As he is skating, he thinks about how JJ stole first place from him in Canada, and angrily curses as him as he performs his quadruple Salchow combination. At the end of his program, he falls to his knees, exhausted from the demanding program, as noted by Yuuri. His free skate score comes out to be a 199.87, a personal best, giving him a total score of 297.96. Upon hearing his score, Yuri stands up and raises his fists into the air, as he has secured a place at the Grand Prix Final. He then calls out to Yuuri, but then realizes he is already on the ice.
Yuuri begins his program, thinking about how he does not want people to think that Victor's coaching has gone to waste. He performs his first jump, a quadruple toe loop, but flubs the second jump in the combination, a double toe loop, by turning it into a single. Yuuri tries to calm himself down. As he performs his quadruple Salchow, he thinks about Victor and how Victor's confidence in him is what brought him so far. He two-foot lands his triple loop. Seeing how Yuuri is making mistakes, Yuri begins to tell him to stay strong, but is interrupted by JJ, who teases him about being supportive of Yuuri now that Yuri's going to the Grand Prix Final, and asks Yuri to cheer for him too.
Back on the ice, Yuuri thinks about how Yuri looked like he was not going to complete his last three-jump combo, calling him an idiot and stating that he himself has more stamina than Yuri. Yuuri performs a triple axel. He then states that whether Victor is there or not, the program is just as difficult. He then performs a triple axel, single loop, triple Salchow combination and a triple Lutz, triple toe loop combination. On his last combination, he touches down. After he ends his program, he collapses on the ice; he states, in his mind, that this has been his hardest performance so far. He receives a score of 172.87, bringing him to a total of 282.84. Yakov, meanwhile, is lecturing Yuuri about his performance in the kiss and cry, just like Victor did. Yuuri zones out and hugs Yakov, and thanks him in Russian.
Jean-Jacques Leroy begins his program, skating to "Partizan Hope". His program is stated to be the one with the highest difficulty compared to the other skaters. His first jump is a quadruple Salchow, followed by a quadruple toe loop, triple toe loop combination. JJ thinks about how he is a king, and that the reason Victor was not competing this season was because he was too afraid of losing to JJ.
He performs a triple axel and thinks about how he is dedicating the program to his parents, his girlfriend, the people of Canada, and anybody who loves skating. He goes into his quadruple Lutz thinking that there is not enough love from his end. He then does a triple flip, single loop, and triple Salchow combination. He finishes his program with a quadruple toe loop. His score is not shown, but he is stated to have placed first.
In the end, despite Yuuri and Michele obtaining the same overall score, only Yuuri is able to advance to the Grand Prix Final, as he had placed second in the Cup of China.
As Michele and Sara are walking down the hall, Sara tells Michele that he does not have to come watch her free skate the next day, a statement to which Michele objects, asking why he can't at least cheer her on. As Yuuri approaches from the other end of the hall, Sara runs up to him, congratulating him on his qualification for the Grand Prix Final. She offers him a hug, and, to Michele's displeasure, Yuuri takes it. Michele demands what Yuuri is doing, outraged.
However, to his surprise, Yuuri goes to hug him too; this makes him scream in terror. Yuuri then proceeds to hug Emil, Seung-gil, and JJ; he tries to hug Yuri, too, but Yuri runs away. In the end, everyone is (at the least) slightly bewildered by Yuuri's actions.
Yuuri is later outside on the sidewalk, thinking about his skating career. He thinks about how he now really wants to win gold at the Grand Prix Final, and that he will make Victor step down as coach afterwards if he does not win. As Yuuri is lost in his thoughts, he does not notice Yuri approaching him until Yuri kicks him and sends him flying. Yuri complains about how he had to look for Yuuri to find him. He also berates Yuuri for not doing his best for his free skate, bitterly saying that thought he himself had gotten a new personal best, he still had not managed to beat JJ. Yuri then throws a paper bag filled with pirozhkis at Yuuri, ordering him to eat right there. They turn out to be his grandfather's pork cutlet pirozhkis, and Yuri, with a smile, states that they're great; Yuuri agrees with him.
At the Fukuoka airport, as Yuuri is walking towards the terminal exit, Victor's dog, Makkachin, approaches the glass and barks at him. Yuuri gasps to himself and realizes that the dog is alive and well; he looks up and sees Victor, who also sees him and quickly stands up. They both begin running towards the door, and Yuuri runs into Victor's arms. They embrace each other tightly, having not seen each other for a whole day. Victor tells Yuuri that he has been thinking about what he can do as a coach from now on, and Yuuri asks Victor to take care of him until he retires. Victor smiles and kisses Yuuri's hand, telling Yuuri that his request sounds almost like a marriage proposal. They embrace again, and Victor tells Yuuri that he wishes that Yuuri would never retire, which makes Yuuri tear up. Yuuri then says that they will win gold together at the Grand Prix Final.
Characters in Order of Appearance
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