Once she arrived home Sayaka confronted Kyubey on just what the soul gems were but he simply threw back how they hadn’t really read the fine print and how it’s safer for them to fight like this, stepping on her soul gem as a way of showing her just how much pain this method shielded her from.
At the school Madoka asks Homura if she knew about the soul gems all along, for which she did and explains that it’s just his reasoning for providing a miracle, something a whole lifetime of work couldn’t equal and once again she tells her to give up on Sayaka. Who today has chosen to stay home when Kyouko shows up at her doorstep asking to talk.
She leads her to an abandoned church where on the way she asks whether she regrets her choice while explaining why she doesn’t, once they arrive she offers her an apple and isn’t too happy when she tosses it aside. After calming down she then goes on to explain how this church once belonged to her father who while an honest man, attempted to preach something else however no one was willing to listen to him, so when Kyubey appeared she wished that they would. At first this went well, people arrived and she fought the witches as if it were her duty hand in hand with her father, but when he found out about this he saw her as a witch and ended up killing everyone but her in their family. So in all she feels as if her wish destroyed them and decided only to use magic for no one but herself.
Kyouko then goes on to tell her how she should live freely after making a wish for someone other than herself, otherwise she sees her going down the same path that she did. However while she could understand her, Sayaka doesn’t regret her wish and feels that she can still do good with the power she was given, asking her where she got those apples and using her regarding her lack of an answer as a reason for why she can’t eat them. As she leaves Sayaka tells her that she can try to kill her if she gets in her way while Kyouko attempts to reach out to her once more before eating the apple.
On her way to school the next day Sayaka meets up with Madoka and Hitomi where they notice Kyousuke walking along the same path, and when they get to class Madoka suggests that she go and talk to him but it isn’t something she feels that she can do at the moment. Later on Hitomi asks to meet her in private where she tells her how she’s also liked Kyousuke for a long time and how she’s going to confess to him soon, giving her until tomorrow to do the same before she makes her move. After this she finds Madoka waiting outside again before she goes to hunt witches, where she tells her that for a split second she regretted saving Hitomi, considering herself a failure as a hero. Along with being unworthy of being with Kyousuke due to how she’s already ‘dead’.
After getting this out they move on to an industrial area where Kyouko waits above, ready to make sure that the Grief Seed doesn’t go to waste, and inside the barrier Sayaka fights the witch. Taking blow after blow and even when Kyouko steps in to help her, she continues on slowly edging forward. Making it close enough to cut down the witch as she remarks on how good it is to fight feeling no pain at all.
To start off with it was great to learn more about Kyouko and just what drives her to act the way she does, however after this it slowly became painful to watch as Sayaka’s situation slowly spiraled downwards, becoming more worse the longer it went on. With what I had feared about her wish slowly coming to light, as what happiness that may have came from it started to disappear and she sought to numb herself.
The development that Kyouko received was probably one of the parts that I liked the most about this episode, as not only did it show us her back story but it also worked to explain just why she acts the way she does and where her outlook as a Puella Magi comes from. With even the hairstyle she now has feeling like a way for her to remember her sister. But what I found most interesting about this was how she saw the parallels between it and what Sayaka was now facing, making her way of telling her about this a way of reaching out to her in order to stop her going down the same path as she did. Aside from that this attempt at dissuading her from going down the same path also managed to shift away her position as an antagonistic character.
The way that Kyubey’s reasoning towards the soul gem matter was also something I kind of liked, with Homura portraying it as being along the lines of him being unable to understand their reactions simply because he wasn’t human, meaning that the matter it was beyond him and he just couldn’t understand it. Doing a good job at showing just how separated he was from humans. On the other hand there was also the way that he what he was offering them was a true miracle, something that might never be accomplished otherwise even if they dedicated their whole life towards it, it was just something that they couldn’t comprehend. And once again that feeling that comes from Homura appearing to know far more than she should came from this, as even Mami didn’t know about what the soul gems were.
However what a good part of the episode seemed to revolve around was Sayaka’s situation simply becoming more worse the longer it progressed, starting off with her already feeling down and pulling herself out of it only for it to get worse. Where even as she affirmed her resolve and why she would keep acting to save people as being things she could never regret, just after it it was like Kyousuke was being pulled away from her. Bringing up those fears that I had about what she wished for was in no way what she really wanted, seeming to emphasise that in wishing for Kyousuke to be healed she hadn’t wished to be with him. Where even if Hitomi’s bitch-like way of giving her an ultimatum before she took him away wasn’t enough, due to becoming a Puella Magi she considered herself to already be dead and in no way able to be by his side, breaking down at that point. Aside from that the fears that I also had about her reckless way of fighting also came back, stronger than ever as she took what Kyubey had said about fighting without feeling any pain and put it to use. Seeking to numb herself from everything that was happening around her and tanking her way through everything that was thrown at her, showing little regard to her own life. So with all of this I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t last much longer.