Sayaka proceeds to kill the witch and shatter the barrier, but instead of using the grief seed she throws it to Kyouko before collapsing into Madoka’s arms.
On their way back they wait for the rain to stop in a bus stop and as Madoka begs her to stop fighting like that, she insists on it and feels like she’s only the gem in her hand now. Telling her about the potential Kyubey told her about but how she doesn’t do anything with it before heading off alone, feeling like she can’t be saved. Elsewhere Homura goes over her plan for the Walpurgis with Kyouko, however when she asks to know more about her Kyubey appears wanting to know the same, while Kyouko threatens them he informs them of Sayaka’s condition and expects Homura to already know about it before he leaves.
Sayaka doesn’t show up at school the next day and when Madoka goes to her house to find out what had happened, she learns that she didn’t return home last night so she goes to look for her. Around the same time Hitomi makes her move on Kyousuke while Sayaka can do nothing but watch in the distance and continue to kill witches, after one such hunt Homura appears before her and tells her to purify her Soul Gem before it’s too late. However instead she stubbornly kicks the grief seed away and tells her how she can’t trust her and that her only purpose is to kill witches. Knowing that Madoka would be hurt if she saw the way that she was acting, Homura then prepares to kill her however Kyouko arrives just in time to stop her. But even then she breaks free and manipulates time long enough to get away.
On a train Sayaka listens as two men talk about their girlfriends and how badly they treat them, causing her to step in and start to question why she fights to begin with as the taint in her Soul Gem becomes too much. In her search for her Madoka meets Kyubey, who tells her that she would have the power to do anything and she how she didn’t expect her life to be anything special. When he tells her about how she could reverse Sayaka’s contract by making one of her own, Madoka accepts it. But before he can do anything Kyubey is riddled with holes as Homura arrives, questioning whether she really thinks about what would happen to those who care about her before breaking down in tears. Madoka suspects that they may have met before but leaves to find Sayaka despite Homura calling out to her.
It turns out that killing Kyubey was almost meaningless as he arrives with another body and eats his old one, from which he’s able to see that the magic Homura used was based around time manipulation. They then exchange some words with her telling him how she won’t let his plan succeed and calls him ‘incubator’. At the trainstation Kyouko finds Sayaka who’s accepted her earlier words about there being equal despair for any hope that she brings about, and having reached her limit begins to transform into a witch. Far away Kyubey looks on and reflects on how it’s only natural to call them Puella Magi when they transform into witches.
With this episode it looks like the focus on Sayaka is heading towards its end as she starts to break down, along with that the overall plot for the series also appeared to move forward a considerable amount as well. Where more details about Homura were hinted at and even Kyubey showed part of his true nature. Alongside that, there was also the way that Puella Magi end up growing into witches, which wasn’t too hard to believe given the similarities in appearance between the Soul Gems and the Grief Seeds.
As far as Sayaka’s story went we saw her situation reach a new low, as while she was losing the boy that she liked and slowly driving away her best friend, she still had what she was fighting for to cling onto. However if anything she lost this as well in this episode, causing her to ask herself whether some people were really worth protecting and meeting her breaking point soon after. So even if the way she was fighting in the last episode wasn’t an indication, she was definitely on the verge of breaking. But at the same time it kind of was her fault as well for continuing to fight and fight without purifying her Soul Gem, refusing any sort of help that came her way. In all seeing her situation get more and more bleak was still kind of painful to watch and even before that I couldn’t see her getting any sort of happy ending.
One of the other things that stood out in this episode was the emotional outburst that Homura had and the hints towards her motives and abilities, where just like Sayaka she must have been at her breaking point as well for her stoic exterior to shatter. Not only crying but begging for Madoka to stay, which given everything that she had done to stop her from making a contract, must have been the moment when it was too much for her. Other than that how her abilities were shown to be time based was actually pretty interesting, explaining that all those times where she had appeared to teleport was actually her stopping time. Which also given the way that a Puella Magi’s abilities are influenced by their wish, it also made that theory of her going back in time to stop Madoka more likely.
Not to mention that it was also strengthened by how she knows just what Kyubey is really up to, who while may still have be treated as more of an indifferent sort of evil, not being able to differentiate what was good and what was bad as a human would. His actions were a lot more sinister than usual, in both how he was pretty much encouraging Sayaka and the way he definitely has something planned, which if anything appears to be related to getting Madoka to make a contract with him. There was also something particularly ominous about the way that Homura referred to him as ‘Incubator’ as well, something which considering how he eats Grief Seeds can’t be good at all.
One of the other interesting things in this episode was also the way that corrupt Puella Magi were shown to transform into witches, something that not only made Kyubey’s actions all the more sinister but also answered just what happens if a Puella Magi doesn’t purify their Soul Gem. Which was something that I had been curious about and liked the way that it turned out. As much of a surprise that it was it also wasn’t that hard to believe given the similarities between Soul Gems and Grief Seeds and how Puella Magi and witches are pretty much connected. Aside from that it could also hint towards what Kyubey is really up to, because if someone with as much potential as Madoka were to make a contract and eventually turn into a witch no one may be able to defeat her.