"Return of the Kazekage" (風影の帰還, Kazekage no Kikan) is episode 32 of the Naruto: Shippūden anime.
Deidara pops out of a hole in the ground, having used a Suicide Bombing Clone in his attempt to kill Teams Kakashi and Guy. Although he believed the technique would have done the trick, he is grateful that he was able to survive due to the attack. Having only lost his right arm from the elbow down, he decides to search for its remains, as well as the Akatsuki ring that was on its finger.
Back at the Akatsuki hideout, Zetsu arrives to scope out the aftermath of Sasori's battle, with his subordinate Tobi in tow. Zetsu finds Sasori's body and notes that he had never known how Sasori looked like before. Tobi manages to locate Sasori's Akatsuki ring, and asks if he can keep it and use it to fill the now empty spot in Akatsuki's ranks. Zetsu berates him for acting foolish, and Tobi responds in kind by accidentally dropping the ring into a crevice in the ground.
In Sunagakure, all of its citizens, including Baki, eagerly await by the border for the return of their Kazekage. They are overjoyed when they spot the Three Sand Siblings, Konoha's response team and Suna's own rescue unit. The citizens of Suna cheerfully celebrate the successful recovery of their leader. Gaara decides to let Chiyo's corpse be carried into the village first, as a sign of respect. As Gaara resumes office, Baki and Temari attempt to persuade Naruto and the others to stay in the village for a day or two, in order to recover and recuperate from their wounds. Kakashi and Sakura tell them that they must return and report to Tsunade regarding the completion of their mission. A report is sent in advance by Takamaru to Konoha, however the fates of Deidara and Sasori are omitted by Kakashi, who wishes to discuss it in person instead. With that, the Konoha shinobi depart back home, although not before stopping and paying their respects at Chiyo's grave. During their walk back to the village, Tenten pressures Guy to hurry up, who is lagging behind supporting Kakashi. Not wanting the others to wait for him, he tosses Kakashi in the air, placing his own backpack on his front and catching Kakashi in a piggyback fashion, which the others, especially Naruto and Sakura, find uncomfortable. Carrying Kakashi on his back, Guy uses his speed to run past them, telling them to catch up. Lee attempts to do the same with Neji, but the latter flat-out refuses.
In Konoha, Shizune receives the mission report from Suna and reports its success to Tsunade. Shizune expresses her concern over Tsunade's decision to send Naruto to engage against the Akatsuki, especially since Naruto, as a jinchūriki, is a target of the Akatsuki. Tsunade explains the reasoning behind her actions, telling Shizune that only a jinchūriki can truly understand another jinchūriki, and that Naruto has the ability for others to rely and depend on him.
In the woods near the Land of Rivers, Tobi and Zetsu locate Deidara's arm, with the former believing that Deidara is dead, having been blown to pieces. Deidara arrives at the same time, telling Tobi to drop his arm. Zetsu asks Deidara whether he had captured Naruto, but Deidara tells him that he had already done his duty (capturing Gaara). When Tobi mocks him, Deidara tells Tobi that if he were to bother him for a third time, he would react in kind. Tobi asks whether Deidara would proceed to blow him up; Zetsu responds that his reply counts as a third infraction, prompting Deidara to put Tobi in a neck hold using his legs.
In Konoha, a mysterious old man tells his pupil that he has arranged for him to be placed in Team Kakashi, with his mission being to keep an eye on Naruto Uzumaki. The man tells his pupil that from this moment onward, until the completion of his mission, his name is to be Sai. Sai accepts the name and responds by smiling. The man tells Sai to wipe the fake smile off his face, and Sai tells him that he had heard that smiling is a way to win people over, albeit revealing that he has trouble forming facial expressions.
- The events of Naruto Shippūden the Movie take place after this episode, (explaining Sai's absence from Team Kakashi, and Team Guy being assigned temporarily to Team 7). However, because the movie is non-canon, this explains why the group are not already in Konoha by the next episode.