>>2496346>it was meant to be a parallel, turned out it wasn't
But it was. In spades, even.
The point was that Yuu comforts Akari because she sees the pain that Touko feels. Akari being rejected parallels Yuu rejecting the idea that Touko has to take her sister's place. This substitutes what is happening in the foreground, so read it again with that in mind and it should be clearer how this chapter was all about Touko and Yuu.
Also Yuu empathized with the fears Akari faced by trying to make her love work (confessions rejected, being separated for good from Touko, being unable to love Touko - Akari literally says "I thought I could have feelings for him, even if dating wasn't an option" before Yuu goes in for the sidehug, which I'm sure you can piece together the implication Yuu took from that).
But, again, Yuu couldn't go to comfort Touko, in fact she was trying to at the beginning of the chapter multiple times but was rejected because Touko was distancing herself. By comforting Akari, Yuu shows the pain she feels for being avoided, the pain for being unable to comfort Touko and the pain she wants to help heal. It is clear as day when she hugs Akari, and then the next page jumps to Touko. That's not a coincidence, it is visually guiding you towards the connection it made. It jumps to Touko reflecting on Yuu's attempts to prevent Touko from doing as she pleases with the play. This makes Touko's final line of the chapter, her realization that something is wrong, even more clear. She is unhappy if Yuu is unhappy and unhappy that she can't take her sister's place. Opposing thoughts. Hence the conflict that the play is about.>took away all the tension that the story has built so far
I hope you can read it again with an open mind because the tension has not been released yet. It is buzzing like a plucked string, Yuu's words only directed it into something hopeful instead of hopeless. Dramatic tension doesn't have to result in destruction.