Five heads are better than one.
Even though a good portion of orange focuses on realism and day-to-day high school events, I don’t tend to think of it as a “slice-of-life” because it has such a clear end game and driving story line (save Kakeru/change the future). The constant sense that we’re moving towards a tangible goal helps orange maintain tension even during its most mundane arcs and conflicts, but it can also serve to make episodes like this one feel frustratingly slow-paced, as if we’re just marking time before the next major “Kakeru event flag.”
That isn’t to say the quieter stories don’t serve a purpose, or that the cast aren’t likable or interesting enough to carry us through everyday events (I love hanging out with these kids, personally). orange‘s narrative arc is a kind of rise-and-fall, a sequence of highs and lows for Kakeru and, by extension, the rest of the cast. Which, while it can lead to some lulls in the story, is also a pretty excellent depiction of grief and depression. Healing isn’t a constant rising line; it’s a series of crests and troughs, some created by obvious triggers, some by far more obscure ones.