In the aftermath of Assassin’s true elimination from the war Tokiomi is lost for words that Rider could possess an EX rank Noble Phantasm capable of matching his Archer’s own Gate of Babylon, admitting that it would have been disastrous if they had moved against him without knowing about it.
Around this point Kiritsugu is hiding out in a cheap hotel in Fuyuki, and after being informed that Maiya will transport Irisviel to their new base the next day he begins to go over his plan for the war and the various factors that would influence it. Seeing Kariya as an easy target but deciding to keep him around as Berserker acts as the perfect counter to Archer, feeling that he must find out who Lancer’s new Master is as soon as possible, and taking noting that Rider’s Master will be difficult to target because he never leaves his Servant’s side. But above all the most unsettling thing for him is that Kirei appears to be personally targeting him.
Who speaking of has met Archer again, who fondly implies that he’s found a new form of entertainment and Kirei explains to that even if a Servant has been eliminated it’s still possible for their Master to still ally themselves with another one if the Grail deems them worthy. The very reason why Master’s usually seek to kill each other and why the defeated seek protection from the church. On the next day Irisviel and Saber make their way to a somewhat rundown Japanese mansion in Fuyuki that Kiritsugu had came across, with Irisviel being careful to avoid any physical work, deciding that the shed in the back will serve as their new workshop and confessing to Saber just why she’s avoided driving or lifting anything. Simply put she can’t, with one of the seven Servants eliminated and as the Grail’s vessel she has grown incredibly weak, and so she asks whether she can rely on her knight in her time of need.
After which Kirei presents his information regarding the other Master’s and their motives in the war to Archer, and despite seeing nothing interesting in them he commends him for it, as at long last he’s finally found something that he’s taken pleasure in. Explaining that of all the Masters the one he went on about the most was Kariya, that he must have taken the most interest in him and the pain and suffering he’s going through, asking him to imagine a situation where he would come out on top in the war. Congratulating him on finally being able to enjoy something. However Kirei finds the idea of taking joy in the pain, suffering, and tragedy of others to simply be deplorable and refuses to accept it, but at this point a sharp pain goes through his hand and much to his disbelief his Command Seals return. With Archer explaining that the Grail could grant his wish even if he doesn’t know it, but first he will need to steal another Master’s Servant, encouraging him to follow his desires in order to find true happiness.
Another fairly quiet episode, though without as much action or interesting character development as the last one. But that’s not to say that it was an entirely bad one either, once again Kirei and Archer’s talk stole the show and it was nice to get a glimpse at a somewhat familiar house.
As well as some familiar rooms and hallways that would later belong to the protagonist of Fate/Stay Night, Emiya Shirou and where a good part of the time in the story would appear to take place. Perhaps being emphasised by the frequent cooking and meal scenes that seem to happen so often and go on for so long. Alongside of which we even got to see the shed where Shirou would spend so much time tinkering and training in, and where one of the most iconic moments of the series would happen as well, the point where Shirou with no other forseeable way out would summon Saber in the fifth war in what could be considered an act of fate. So in the same way that I enjoyed the loli Rin centric episode a couple of episodes back I also enjoyed this part of this episode as well, though this time it was only a location.
Accompanying this it was also great to see some parts about the last episode explained as well, particularly that Assassin’s otherwise meaningless sacrifice as a member of the weakest Servant class going up three of the strongest Servants in the war, two of which belong to the top two strongest knight classes, was in fact because of Tokiomi’s orders. An otherwise futile attack in hopes of exposing Rider’s trump card, which he’s actually intimidated by. It may be an EX rank Noble Phantasm but considering that Archer has one of his own that could crush it, Ea, really says a lot about their Master-Servant relationship when he doesn’t even know about it. Next to that of course it was also good to see that Irisviel is starting to undergo the strain that being the grail’s vessel presents, where as Servants are eliminated from the war she will continually grow weaker and weaker.
Most of all though what probably made this episode for me was the second talk between our lost priest Kotomine Kirei and the King of Heroes Gilgamesh as Archer, where the seeds that the latter had planted last time in his mind are finally beginning to sprout. With help from him Kirei has come to realise that, as deplorable as it is, he takes joy in the pain and suffering of others, something which had been hinted at before but he didn’t seem to accept then either. All up seeming to mark another point on his path to becoming the guy we already know in Stay Night, the one who manipulates and pulls the strings for his own amusement. Which is actually something that I’ve really liked about Zero somehow, Kirei didn’t start out already being who he is, he was lost and without direction, but throughout the war he was slowly corrupted by Gil. So even if he doesn’t exactly have a Servant of his own at the moment he’s no less dangerous, if anything it’s only a matter of time before he backstabs Tokiomi and first takes on his role of pulling the strings in the story.