While no one goes into long speeches about how once the Holy Grail War is over they are going to finally settle down with their cute fiancee like they have always promised a few people do things that should tell you they are not going to survive even if you did not see Fate/Stay Night. I will warn people this is a build up episode. While we have a brief skirmish and the burning of the corpses of tortured children this is mostly a set up to the final three episodes. I assume the build up will continue into part (if not all) of the next episode. But we have another heavy Rider and Waver episode so I know there will be many people rejoicing. Also if I get 10 times the normal hits I usually do for this post I will assume it is all the power of mega moe moe Waver at the top. People love their moe moe Waver Velvet.
Everyone who fought last episode is licking their wounds. There were no decisive victories but a good deal of gravely wounded combatants. Lancer’s and Saber’s group both have a bit of infighting as members are divided on how to proceed next. At the same time Waver tracks down the lair of Caster but gets a very different series of confrontations than the ones he expected.
Lancer starts off dead. Never a good sign for him. It turns of it was just a flashback to his time as Diarmuid of the Love Spot and his life filled with love, betrayal, and regret. We don’t get the full story but we know he died for loving a woman who was to be married to another and that it weighs on his soul. But the person having the flash back is the now immobilized Kayneth who has a rather nasty disagreement on who shall be Lancer’s master from here on in. Clearly the already somewhat infatuated Sola-Ui has entered the territory of the obsessive and dangerous. One has to wonder how much of her attitude is due to Lancer’ love spot and how much comes form her already somewhat cold attitude towards her fiancee. Wherever it comes from she willing to play hard ball to be in charge. In her defense is not like Kayneth is ready to march right back out to the battlefield. The only problem is Sola-Ui is not really ready for combat as well seeing how unstable she is. Eventually Kayneth relents if for no other reason than Sola-Ui shows she is going to get those command seals one way or another. Big blood drenched death flags for this group all around.
The most interesting thing to me about this section was the fact that even after that Kayneth’s peek into Lancer’s memories he still does not understand why his Servant is fighting in the Grail War. It should be clear to the audience that Lancer is fighting in penitence for what he did in life. This time around he wants to properly serve a Master without love getting in the way. But Kayneth is unable to understand such a dream. His own selfish desires make such a selfless wish outside his comprehension. But it seems history wishes to repeat itself despite Lancer’s best intentions. If you ever get a choice of which weapon to study you may wish to stay away from pole arms and spears despite their reach if the Fate Universe is any indicator.
While clearly doing better than Team Lancer it seems that Team Saber could be more harmonious. Maiya has survived but is out of commission for at least a few days. Saber wishes to pursue Caster before more children are hurt but Kiritsugu knows with everyone gunning to kill him for the extra command sea. In his opinion it is better to finish off the wounded Master before his group can recover. Saber wishes to do what is immediately right where as Kiritsugu feels he is looking at a long-term view or righteousness. It is all about sacrificing the good of the few if it can benefit the many. And so Saber and Kiritsugu part again without truly talking and with neither of them understanding the heart of the other. Clearly conversations like this one will only sting Kiritsugu more after the war is over.
It’s emotional black mail time! With Kayneth crippled and no longer able to use magic Sola-Ui tries to get Lancer to follow her. While Lancer may have never liked his Master’s fighting style and bad attitude he was the person he was summoned to obey. And it seems again that a love triangle is drawing him towards doom. But with a promise that they are now all fighting to heal Kayneth Lancer reluctantly decided follow his new master. But if the last part did not raise enough death flags this is surely the Grim Reaper’s kiss for all three of them.
But back in the Odd Couple sitcom that is the Mackenzie house we find Rider has not only gotten the pants he needed but made friends with the cover family because he is heroic spirit filled with charisma. But after comedic interlude we have to get down to serious business. Using alchemy and a few careful deductions Waver is able to determine the location of Caster’s layer. After some moe moe moments from Waver we find Rider announcing that now is the time to strike. Waver wants to follow Kiritsugu’s plan that says that charging a spell caster in this domain is a very foolish idea. But Rider being a man’s man knows that today’s intelligence maybe be rubbish tomorrow. Also that no one gets style points for playing is safe all the time. So the pair rides the Gordius Wheel into the sewers. In the Fate/Zero quickly produced licensed video game this would be the prerequisite annoying sewer level.
The duo finds that Caster is no longer home but that his handy work is still lying around. Rider having seen many a battle field has the stomach for the horrors that await but despite all his bravo Waver is staggered by the brutal carnage of the innocents around him. But is his moment of shock some of the Assassins attempt to remove one Master from the competition. Rider quickly dispatches two of them and now their cover is blown. We clearly see that the Inverse Ninja Law is in full effect because Rider takes out Assassins like they were made of paper-mâché (and not a very magical paper-mâché at that. ) Oddly enough the most important part of this trip into the sewers was the growth of Team Rider. Waver got some healthy shocks to the system about the nature of the war and both Master and Servant have a little more respect for the others ability.
In the end Tokiomi is trying to do his best Dr. Claw impersonation. He sits in a darkened room with his face obscured talking about the fact that while his minions failed to complete their mission they may have gained enough information to defeat the heroes next time as part of their TRUE PLAN. That is some dialog you expect to hear from the leader of M.A.D. even is he never refers to Rider and Waver as heroes. But we see that Gilgamesh’s words still resonate in Kirei‘s head. When your supposedly loyal but somewhat dodgy lieutenant has thoughts like that it is major death flag for any shadowy manipulator.
Oh man. A certain type of fan is going to have a field day next week. I guess they can talk about more than Ilya now (but I would prefer if they did not). It seems that Rin is going to try to help her dad in her battle. I know that my roommate might actually qualify to be Tohsaka fan #1 much like I am Saber fan #1 so I am sure he will be in heaven next week. Other than that I think it will be a little break in the tone before the bloodshed that will come with the final two episodes of the season. Still with people like Uryuu in the preview it will not be all be a candy land of happiness and joy in the next episode despite the younger version of the mistress of the zettai ryouiki running around.