Well, Shin appears to be digging a nice deep hole for himself here. The way these kids are dancing around one another is almost painful. It seems that the more he involves himself with Noe, not only the more he hurts her, but also the more he hurts Hiromi as well. Of course, Hiromi is not absolved of everything here either. She knew that Shin overheard her say that she liked Jun, and then she denies that their walking hom together meant anything to Shin's mom; of course he's not going to throw himself on the line for her after that.
All that said, I can almost understand Hiromi's POV here. She's living with the boy she likes, and for whatever reason his mother doesn't like her. There's a whole host of differing pressures on her in that situation.
The only character that comes of as truly unsympathetic, rather than just grossly misguided by hormones, would be Aiko. She's purposefully keeping Miyokichi around so that Shin will keep hanging around. Shin knows how much Miyokichi likes Aiko (even if she herself doesn't see it, and is surprised by the amount of knowledge that Miyokichi has of her) so I doubt that he'd make a move on her.
Noe still comes across as innocent and carefree--in fact her idiosyncrasies remind me a bit of my wife when we were in college. That said, she does appear to be headed straight for a course in getting that innocence knocked out of her by Shin's and Jun's actions.
Over all I'm liking this show more and more with every episode.
The episode starts off with Noe walking out and finding Shin hanging out at the chicken coop. She asks him to both eat lunch with her as well as walk home together. To which he blows her off on both counts, and he makes a point of telling Noe that he had dance practice as an excuse to not walk home with her. She then wanders around and settles down next to Hiromi. At which point they share a lunch together; much to Tomoyo's dismay. After school is over, Hiromi asks Shin if he wanted to walk home with her, and he agrees. As they're leaving, Noe sees them and we flip over to Aiko and Miyokichi, where we get to see just how much Miyokichi is into Aiko. We also learn that Aiko had no clue about how Miyokichi felt about her. Shin and Hiromi take the long way home, stopping by the beach, where we learn that he lied to Noe about the dance practice. They have a bit of bonding, and as they near the house, they're seen by Shin's mother. We then get a bit where Shin's mom is being mean to Hiromi, where Hiromi once again denies anything going on between her an Shin. All of which Shin manages to overhear. Next we see Noe making those sausage octopuses, and she's a bit angry at men because of Shin--filtered through her ruminations over the meat turning an odd red color. The next day she goes to the steps where she ate with Hiromi, and discovers that Hiromi isn't there. Where she is, is practicing basketball--again to Tomoyo's dismay. Since Noe couldn't find someone to eat lunch with, she went to feed the chickens, and after a few minutes went to the dance studio where Shin was practicing to watch him. The instructor calls a break, and Shin sits down outside to eat with Noe, where she tells him in her own way, that she knows he lied to her. Then she licks him. We next see Shin working on his drawing, considering the story that he's writing, and as he begins to realize that he can symbolically fly, he casts those thoughts aside as things that Noe would think about. Jun, Noe's older brother, shows back up and asks for Shin's decision. Shin struggles to figure out a proper way to tell him no, and in the end gets him to ask Hiromi out so that he'd take out Noe. He goes back inside muttering about Jun, and as he gets to his room realizes what he had done. so he goes back downstairs and asks to talk to Hiromi. She invites him into her room, where he begins to tell her about the conversation with Jun. Something that she doesn't want to hear; which is made perfectly clear as that scene is then repeated from her POV. Which marks the first time that we're given the thoughts of someone that was not Shin. After he left her room, he ran into one of the workers who had been clearing out a storage shed, and brought in a bunch of picture books. Shin looks through them and discovers that someone had cut out all the heads on all the pictures of Hiromi's mom. After school the next day, Miyokichi and Shin make plans to meet over at Aiko's shop as is usual for them two, but Miyokichi had to do a few things first. Shin shows up, and a short while later Aiko does as well; they enter the shop via the back door. Shin sees the sweater that Aiko's making for Miyokichi and begins to tease her about it, when she asks to measure it against him. When Miyokichi knocks on the door to be let in, Aiko keeps Shin from standing up.