Let’s Watch Fate Zero 7

Muggle law enforcement shows up at the burnt out hotel site and discovers a giant ball of mercury. Captain, despite everything that high school chemistry tells you not to do, touches it. There’s a shot of enchantment, and he’s ensnared, repeated “we must move it” over and over. Looks like Malfoy isn’t so dead after all.


Strange thing that you’ve never seen before in your life and have no idea what it does? Touch it.

Head priest (who I am remember just now is named Risei) announces that because Caster’s actions put the Grail War in jeopardy by his disregard for the masquerade, he is calling on all the Masters to put aside their fights and focus their efforts on eliminating Caster. The one to do so will receive extra Command Spells – unsused ones left over from previous Grail Wars that are LITERALLY FILLING UP HIS ARM like that one time I had too much to drink and the Asian Glow was getting all up on my arm like it was Zerg creep.


That arm must weigh as much as, like, twenty ducks.

Priest’s closing lines indicate two things – he knows everyone is spying on the church, and El-Melloi isn’t dead, as there are five familiars around, and both Tokiomi Tohsaka and Kirei Kotomine are on his side so they don’t need to spy. After the announcement, he psy-links to Tokiomi, agreeing that the plan is to let others soften Caster up before sending Gilgamesh in for the kill so no one gets the extra Command Spells. They are generally counting on Lancer, as Kayneth has already used up a Command Spell and so is at a disadvantage unless he can replenish them somehow.

I should mention that the Church’s angle mentioned in Ep 1 which I didn’t realize was all that important until Kirei showed up again was that they’ve always been the mediators of the Grail War, but something happened in the Third War that made them think the Grail being summoned isn’t the actual Holy Grail, so Kirei’s supposed to ally with Tokiomi to investigate this. So for motives, we got:

1. Kiritsugu Emiya – officially to reverse the Einzbern family fortune, privately to ask the Grail to “achieve his ideals” (which I’m going to assume is to “save the world”).
2. Tokiomi Tohsaka – find “the Root” (whatever that is)
3. Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi – for the honor and prestige
4. Waver Velvet – to prove himself
5. Kariya Matou – to save his niece
6. Kirei Kotomine – to find out what’s going on with the Holy Grail
7. Uryu Rinnosuke – no reason, having happened on the war by accident.

One of these motivations is not like the other and is not compelling at all – three guesses as to which one, and the first two don’t count.

Cut to the “MacKenzie residence” – a delivery guy shows up with a package for one “Iskander, King of Conquerors” – Rider can order Amazon! Oh wait, 90s – I guess it’s Japan’s version of FedEx or UPS? Turns out he went and bought himself a t-shirt with a world map on it and is now happy because he can wear his future conquest on his chest.


Bro-Rider, never change.

Waver is annoyed because he told Rider to stay inside, but Rider protests that 1. he didn’t go outside, he tried out that newfangled “mail order” contraption and 2. he saw Saber walking around in casual wear, so there should be no reason he can’t. In fact, as the King of Conquerors, he doesn’t want to be upstaged by the King of Knights. More bickering ensues, until they reach a gentlemen’s agreement – as soon as Rider defeats an enemy Servant, Waver will buy him a pair of pants so he can go outside in modern wear.

Meanwhile, at Einzbern Castle, Kiritsugu and Saber disagree on how to proceed. Kiritsugu believes they should wait until other Masters come in for Caster and use this opportunity to take them out – no one will be suspecting such an attack by someone who’s ostensibly in a truce, so Team Saber gets to maintain their normal strength and they can always swoop in after Caster’s been killed and pick off the weakened victor, but this clashes with Saber’s knightly pride, as 1. her duty is to protect the innocent and so she wants to rip and tear the child-murderer’s guts, believing this should be the first priority and 2. she is a warrior and takes Kiritsugu’s ways as meaning he doesn’t have any confidence in her abilities to defeat enemy Servants in a straight-up fight. Kiritsugu replies that this is not the case – rather, it’s that while they have the advantage in that Caster thinks Saber is Jeanne d’Arc, he doesn’t trust the Church. Irisviel also points out that the wound on Saber’s wrist hasn’t healed, which means Kayneth isn’t as dead as they would like.


Nice bit of characterization and relateability. I think most of us, if faced with a similar situation, would want to jump in and kill the child-murdering freak with our bare hands. At the least, save the children first. But Kiritsugu’s got a longer game to play, and he literally can’t be concerned with that.

Cut to Kiritsugu on the castle, having a crisis of faith because apparently KIREI SCARES HIM. So…I guess I have more things to look forward to in the future? He considers just taking Irisviel and running, and grabbing their daughter with him, but Irisviel gives more reassurance that she believes in him.


When you don’t believe in yourself, find someone who believes in you.

Back inside the Castle, Irisviel and Saber spy on the forest where Caster resides using crystal balls as long-range video cameras as Kiritsugu and Maiya lock and load. Caster, however, is aware of the spying, and Saber can see he is is baiting them with kidnapped kids. Saber wants to save them. Caster wants an audience….so he decides to play a game of tag with the kids, where he’s “it” and “tagging” means “ripping the head off”. This royally pisses Saber off, and Irisviel as well, as she orders Saber to kill Caster. I guess being a parent yourself makes you a wee tad touchy about child-murdering as a thing.

Cut to Saber entering the Dark Forest, with Caster meeting her, child in tow. Looks like his angle is that God isn’t worth her service, so she should give herself over to the dark side? Anyway, he releases the kid he has, as he promised to do that if his Jeanne will have an audience with him. The kid runs to Saber, clinging to the pretty foreign lady for support as she gives him a reassuring hug, but something is off…


LIVE FOR THE SWARM


Saber is suitably horrified.

…And he’s turned the kids into Infested Terrans that explode into tentacle bombs.


I’ve seen enough Fate/Stay Night to know where this is going…

Saber summons up an energy burst that tears through the tentacles holding her in place, however, and as more tentacle monsters burst up around her, she gets thoroughly pissed, cutting into them as she tries to close the distance to Caster. Meanwhile, it is detected that another Servant has entered the field somewhere. After some more rambling, Caster confirms that he wants his Jeanne to give up her faith that Jesus saves and join the Dark Side with him. Saber, naturally, declines, so Caster breaks out a Noble Phantasm – the grimoire he had in life – and summons more tentacle monsters. Saber continues cutting through them, but her previous injury gets to her, and a tentacle monster catches her off guard.


That awkward moment when you realize somebody swapped your grimoire for 50 Shades of Grey.

But suddenly, two spears, one red and one yellow, explode the thing. Diarmuid! Apparently he is the only one allowed to defeat Saber, since he started the wound on her during their duel and by the Tuatha de Danaan he’s going to finish it. And also because El-Melloi ordered him to kill Caster. Caster is mad b/c he believes the grail granted his wish to bring Jeanne back and WHY WON’T THINGS JUST LET HIM BE.

And see, here’s another reason why insane characters generally suck. Look at the list of seven motivations up top. Each of them are relatable in some way. If you didn’t watch Fate/Stay Night, you want to see who ends up getting their wish granted – Waver, desperate to prove himself? Kiritsugu, using unsavory means to achieve a good end? Tokiomi, discovering lost knowledge? Or someone else? But Uryu Rinnosuke has no goals other than “murder people and summon demons”, and since we know Saber is a genderbent King Arthur (or rather, the Arthur from legend is a genderbent Arturia), Caster’s goals (convince her she is Jeanne) are doomed to failure. And even if you did watch Fate/Stay Night (like me) and know who lives and who dies, and thus know that it’s a foregone conclusion for most of these people, the complaint in the previous Let’s Watch still stands – that in foregone conclusion stories the fun is in seeing how characters react to setbacks and obstacles that push them away from their goals in a way that makes you go “ooh, that’s clever,” but with Caster, it’s just “okay, like, wtf?”


England and Ireland, brought together by France-hate, because fuck those cheese-eating surrender-monkeys.

Lancer taunts Saber by saying he expected more from a King of Knights, and Saber replies that she could easily cut down another hundred of the things. And now they’re going back to back. Maybe they’ll have a  bodycount competition? I certainly hope so.

Cut to the front gates of the Einzbern castle. Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi invades the residence with his Volumen Hydragyrum, a vial of mercury of mercury which is the ball that we saw in the beginning of the episode. He seems to be giving it commands in Latin (which is also a nice touch, as Rin Tohsaka in F/SN gave all her spells in German), and it easily cuts through the stone door. He strides in, announcing his name and lineage and his availability at your service – Oh jeez, announcing your name in intent to duel when invading the home of the Mage-Slayer? YOU ARE ASKING FOR A HEADSHOT.


PREDICTABLE

But, Kayneth proves himself smarter than we thought, as the mercury blob forms itself into a shield, allowing him to advance harmlessly. Kiritsugu monitors the events from his room, and then is about to head out the door when he sees a thread of metal poking in through the keyhole. He throws himself aside just in time to avoid being sliced into ribbons.


If you’re going to use muggle dueling implements, then forgive me if I respond in kind with similar…under the table shenanigans.

Kayneth appears from the hole, and attacks with his mercury, but it looks like Kiritsugu is good at physical stat buffing magic, casting a haste spell on himself and using it to bullet time past Kayneth’s attack and gtfo. Kayneth thinks it unimportant, as in the Fate-verse, those kind of spells rely on creating a reality-altering field around the body, and drain mana like crazy. He continues to search, and as Kiritsugu rounds a corner and takes cover, he notices the mercury thread again. However, he also realizes that since mercury is an inanimate object, it has no sense of sight, smell, or taste, detecting things only by sensing vibrations or by actual physical contact, so he casts a stagnate spell to slow his bodily functions – breathing, heartbeat, etc – and trick it into thinking he’s an inanimate object. As Kayneth rounds the corner, Kiritsugu calls him out and shoots him with his SMG, but the mercury protects him like Gaara’s sand shield. Kayneth thinks it foolish that Kiritsugu wasted his chance to sneak attack as Kiritsugu’s clip empties, but Kiritsugu drops his SMG and pulls out his Contender pistol with a grin.


Kayneth, that thing is going to have some kind of anti-magic bullet or something and you are going to be all kinds of fucked.

And then…end of episode.

Thoughts:
This episode returns to the quality of the previous ones, with actual stuff happening and people planning and using the equipment and powers they have at their disposal. It was good at reminding us that Kayneth, despite being rather thoroughly humiliated in episodes 5 and 6, is still a very skilled magi and a good tactician, even if he’s not one for strategy (jumps right into the Church’s trap) and has glaring holes in his decision-making heuristics (discounting Kiritsugu’s firearms). It does much to heighten his credibility as a threat, and reminds us that while thinking outside the box is an equalizer, so is just having more power.

Not going to comment on Caster because I think I’ve whipped that horse dead enough. Waver’s agreement with Rider makes me think he’s going to be rolling in soon enough, and we know Gilgamesh is slated to show up as well. Could be another glorious free-for-all like last time.

Until next ep.

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One Response to “Let’s Watch Fate Zero 7”

  1. louis cunningham Says:

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