We open with Irisviel and Saber on a date – I mean, a cruise – as they’re driving up and down a mountain road. Apparently, Kiritsugu’s bought his main lady a car, and it’s her favorite gift ever. And now that they’re in Fuyuki, she can drive all over the roads instead of being confined to inside Castle Einzbern. …Kiritusugu what have you done.
Hey guys, why can’t Helen Keller drive? BECAUSE SHE’S BLIND AND DEAF.
Suddenly…a wild Caster appears!
JESUS CHRIST IT’S A CASTER GET OUT OF THE CAR AND STAY CLOSE TO ME
Caster pours his heart out to his Maiden of Orleans, but Saber is equal parts confused because she’s King Arthur, not Jeanne d’Arc, and equal parts annoyed because she came here for some good honorable fighting while this guy is babbling like a crazy person. Trying to get through, to her, Caster reveals his identity as Gilles de Rais, who fought by Jeanne d’Arc’s side during the Hundred Years’ War.
AND IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII WILL ALWAYS LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE YOU
Saber isn’t amused at his ramblings, however, and gives her own identity as King Arthur, claiming it is the honorable thing to do since he told her his real name. So here I must explain – in the Fate-verse, all the various figures we worship as heroes exist on a plane outside of time. For the Grail Wars, mages summon them using contracts and some artifact that was connected to them in life, and it’s hinted that they too all have some reason to come back. Saber’s reason, as Fate/Stay Night revealed, was that she regretted the destruction of her kingdom and was going to ask the Grail to make it so someone else, not her, became King of the Britons. Caster’s reason here, apparently, was to ask God to stop punishing Jeanne d’Arc, and Saber’s words make him flip out. He falls to his knees, wailing and pummeling the ground the ground with his fists, as he believes God is punishing Jeanne by making her forget her own identity. Saber launches a warning cut that narrowly misses him, warning that his ramblings are insulting to her identity as a heroic spirit. Faced with this, Caster withdraws. Saber and Irisviel note that they were fortunate, since Saber still retains her injury from the last episode. They drive off…under the gaze of two Assassins, hidden in a clump of trees. It’s a nice touch, 1. demonstrating that writers remember what happened prior 2. reminding you that Kirei is also smart, sending his Assassins to tail everyone and 3. demonstrating that Saber still has some head for strategy, going for a purposeful near miss so Caster can’t realize that the strike is weaker than expected from the “strongest Servant class”. Well, either that, or I’m just giving her too much benefit of doubt and she really was just doing a warning shot. Anyway, back at his home base, Caster is sad and emo. Apparently he believes that God is so adamant to punishing Jeanne that the only recourse is to show the world that someone can be super-evil and still not face punishment, and so ready a crapton of children for sacrifice.
YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND MY PAIN. Or my thought processes.
You know, I’ve actually never cared for insane characters, and yes, I am including the Joker in this assessment. When you break things down to the basic components, all stories can be boiled down to “character wants something and faces obstacles to get it.” Earlier I compared Caster unfavorably to Twilight, with the “there are three things of which I am certain.” Contrast that line from Twilight, and the line from the fic Luminosity which is a rewrite of Twilight if everyone was rational – “My favorite three questions are, What do I want?, What do I have?, and How can I best use the latter to get the former?”.
Compelling characters do stuff that makes sense, and you keep watching because you want to see them eventually find success (or not) depending on what they do and what obstacles are thrown in their way. Very rarely do insane characters do the same, and their random-ass thought processes make it super hard to actually give a shit about them, whether it’s their retarded-ass motives (showing that we’re all really bad people deep down inside is highly irrelevant since cultural conditioning makes us act good like 99.9% of the time anyway and the rest of the time are so situation it might as well not matter) or their retarded-ass methods (imma solve the problem of synthetics killing organics by building synthetics that kill organics) or their retarded-ass realization that their cunning plan wasn’t thought all the way through (how could waking up a legendary beast that will turn all the water in the world to land be a bad idea?). Heath Ledger’s Joker is the exception that proves the rule, because he actually wasn’t insane. HLJ was a Nietzche wannabe anarchist who wanted to prove that people ultimately will eat each other to stay alive, he lived in a city where the .01% situations happened on a daily basis, and so he did this by repeatedly forcing situations where people getting pushed beyond the limits civilized society imposes on them would happen. Not insane, but rational (fits the three questions that rational!Bella asks herself all the time). And so far, while I can emphasize with all the other Servants who’ve been getting speaking parts, I’m already getting annoyed by Caster and thinking the show would not lose anything if someone or something just killed him out of the blue.
Cut to TV, which shows that the previous night’s battle was explained as a warehouse explosion. Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi, who is watching said TV, yells at Lancer for not taking the chance to kill Saber, lambasting the fact he wasted a Command Spell, while Lancer sits there looking dejected like a sad puppy.
Cheer up, emo jerk. Or not.
Suddenly, a wife appears! Sola-Ui, wife to El-Melloi (man, what ethnicity are these guys?), tells him off for his unmanliness and inadequacies, although to be fair it’s hard to feel adequate as a man when you’re hanging with guys like Iskander. Apparently he’s also added a nonstandard clause where his wife is a secondary mana supply. Not only does this mean Lancer can fight on longer since he now has two Masters pumping mana into him, but I think it may also mean that in the event El-Melloi dies, Sola-Ui can take over as Master, essentially giving them two lives (either that, or I’m just forgetting type-Moon lore). As she continues her tirade, however, Lancer gets angry, warning her that if she continues he’ll have to take it as an insult to his master, and that is something his own chivalry won’t allow. There is a zoom on Lancer’s love spot, and wife apologizes. Kayneth looks annoyed. Does he think Lancer is trying to bang his wife?
She’s a ginger? QUAN-APPROVED. Go get her, Diarmuid Ua Duibhne.
Suddenly, there is a report of arson and an order to evac the building. El-Melloi has no doubts that it’s Saber’s master here to finish the battle and looks super smug as he explains in detail the many many many many magic protections in his hotel. He dispatches Lancer, confident in his eventual victory.
Meanwhile someone who looks like the hotel manager is making sure everyone left. He’s looking for El-Melloi, when Kiritsugu appears, reassuring the manager that he saw the El-Melloi couple outside. Not sure if he is using magic to do a hypnotize, but at any rate the manager buys it. And then…
Hear that sound, Malfoy? That’s the sound of your superior bloodline getting blown out of the water. Muggles do it better, bitch.
However, they were not unobserved. Kirei appears, and there is a battle between him and Maiya, in which Kirei reveals that he has…bat bombs? AND THROWING KNIVES.
Kiritsugu tosses a smoke bomb which allows them to withdraw. Assassin shows up at this time to inform Kirei of Caster’s apperance, and they withdraw. Meanwhile, at the church, the head priest decides that Caster must be dealt with because he is breaking the masquerade with all those childmurders, and notes that as mediators, the church is allows to put in place slight rule changes.
So…I guess this means it’s open season on Caster? Meh, I’m fine with that.
Meanwhile, Archer crashed Kirei’s apt. Gil’s hitting the bottle pretty hard, but as a King of Heroes, his tolerance is superior to that or normal men. He also has a rather fab casual appearance.
From their conversations, Tohsaka wants to search for something called “the Root” which is why he wants the Grail. Archer asks Kirei what he wants the Grail to do. Kirei doesn’t know, so Archer suggests that Kirei simply asks for bliss. Subsequent values dissonance, as Kirei finds the idea sinful, while Gilgamesh just laughs at the thought of equating bliss with sin.
You know, why did we replace all those funsauce ancient religions with the Big 3 of monotheism anyway? I would totally take Bacchanalia over Lent or whatever. And as the good edda says…
Hammer meet nail.
The end result of the conversation is Archer finds Kirei “interesting”.
Tohsaka you are so screwed.
We close with Kirei wondering that if he can find out what motivates Kiritsugu, maybe he can find out his own motivations?
Final thoughts: a rather meh episode as we cool down from awesome buildup. Everyone needs to go back and recoup from the previous ep’s battle, and we do see a bit more of how Team Lancer rolls (not as well as Kiritsugu, apparently). We also see a little bit of Kiritsugu somewhat regretting the drastic measure he’s taking, as during the bombing attack on El-Melloi, he’s shown fixating his gaze on a little girl crying.
Isn’t it sad, Kiritsugu?
Although here I feel like the creators missed a step. Kiritsugu was already shown to have gone above and beyond to evacuate civilians so they weren’t caught in the blast. Really, the only one who’s really suffering anything worse than like some work laptops or iPads (oh wait, it’s the Clinton era, no one has those yet) or lost travel clothes (expensive travel clothes, since the hotel is rather high-class, but also not a big deal for the guests who can afford such a nice hotel anyway) is the hotel manager and the hotel waitstaff who now has to close down until they can build a new building, and any guilt he has should be directed their way. A common thread in fiction is that they don’t pay enough attention to financial well-being – as long as the main characters/side characters/NPCs aren’t dead, everything’s treated as fine when realistically, it wouldn’t be. In an otherwise very detailed series, the presence of this misconception stands out like a sore thumb.
On the whole, though, this seems like it’s all setup for the next episode. Thus…
Until next ep.