Makoto is not passive. He wanted to win and he wanted it to mean something if he did. He wanted it badly enough to ask Haru to make sure to take it seriously.
Makoto is not fake. He hid his tears with that smile because that’s how he copes. He is not being manipulative or underhanded. He sees no reason to burden Haru with his issues. That’s his M.O.
Makoto is honest with himself. And now with Nagisa. And he’s not jealous of Rin for romantic reasons, nor does he hate Rin. (Two things I’ve seen in multiple posts today already.) He understands now that his relationship with Haru + swimming is different. Haru and Rin can feed off each other’s competitive spirit/drive to feel the water, whatever you want to call that… but Makoto can’t get the same thing from Haru. And that’s ok, because different people have different relationships.
And this is just speculation but I also see Makoto as being mostly jealous of Rin’s resolve. Jealous of how Rin has his goals and his reasons for swimming all sorted out but Makoto doesn’t yet. (Or rather, he might, but he doesn’t think he can achieve them on his own… hence trying to better himself by attempting to compete with Haru in a similar way that Rin does.)
So anyway… yeah, I loved this episode.
Makoto has spent a lot of time with and around Haru. The scene in today’s episode shows how Haru was basically an independent child who did what he wanted, but Makoto was and is someone whose life is defined by his friends and relationships with them.
Which is not to say that Makoto is weak or can’t make decisions on his own, but that his relationship with Haru (and later, Nagisa and Rin) was so important to him that their wants and desires became HIS wants and desires. He is the strong core of their group of friends, but he doesn’t steer the ship, so to speak. This model of friendship can’t survive the major upheaval of graduating high school and the diaspora that will surely come after it.
Makoto made an attempt to reach out and take an active role in his own decisions, both with Haru and with his future. He stepped out of his usual, comfortable role and his future has been decided by the outcome, regardless of what he wanted that outcome to be, and that knowing, that surety, is a relief on its own.