I liked this episode. No, I REALLY liked this episode. After the cautious optimism of the first 3.5 episodes and the dull acceptance of the next 3.5, and despite having resolved to despise the idea of Ashi as a love interest, this episode was well done and romantically effective enough to wipe all of that away. In fact so much so that I'm inclined to question the, shall we say, motives of those who hated it.
All the same the ending was shit.