In the lead up to the end of the Holy Grail War, Kiritsugu meets with his wife for what could be the last time, who once more thanks him for everything he’s given her and entrusts him with giving Ilya the same happiness as well, before she returns Saber’s third Noble Phantasm, Avalon to him.
Following this Kiritsugu heads out to take advantage of the opening to take out Tokiomi in the battle against Rider, Maiya fondly noting that he looks like his old self. However as Saber’s search for Waver proves fruitless, Kiritsugu finds something strange about the Tohsaka estate, crows are flying about suggesting that the strong Boundary Field protecting it isn’t in use. On Waver and Rider’s side of things, Waver is doing his best to help Rider recover after all the Mana he had used up until now, revealing that he had been using his own stores until now, something Waver had suspected however Rider affirms that he didn’t want to put him in danger, having already lost so many friends in the pursuit of a selfish goal again, especially when the Holy Grail might not be what they expect.
To this though, Waver responds that it’s his job to risk his life as his Master, and so they intend to set out to face Saber at sunset. Rider stating that he can’t bear to see her suffer, and thus has to set her on the right path. At this point Kariya undergoes a nightmare where he stands face to face with his Servant, who declaring himself unworthy of any praise as a Heroic Spirit closes his hands around his neck as his helmet splits in two. Before things can go any further he suddenly awakes in the basement of the Matou household, knowing truly that he doesn’t have much time left when Zouken shows up, admitting that he didn’t expect to see him last this long and as a gift gives him something he’s been saving to give him a boost, the first worm to eat away at Sakura’s purity.
Back at the future Emiya household, Maiya tells some things about her, that she came from a country constantly at way and had at one point been a child soldier before Kiritsugu found her, and so is little more of a tool. To this Irisviel explains that while she doesn’t truly understand what Kiritsugu wishes for, she still wishes that he and Saber will win and that this Holy Grail War will be the last so that Ilya won’t have to face it and be able to live a normal life, encouraging Maiya to reach out and live for her. At this point however Kiritsugu, having investigated the Tohsaka mansion receives a frantic call from Maiya and uses a Command Seal to transport Saber there immediately. Who upon arriving learns that Rider has kidnapped Irisviel, and so jumps onto her motorcycle to chase after him.
By the time Kiritsugu arrives however it’s too late, finding a mortally wounded Maiya who in her last moments tells him that he can’t cry, that can’t break down just yet and has to go on, and as he tells her that she’s fulfilled her objective she passes away.
With Kiritsugu’s past behind it was great to see things head back to what was at hand, while they were a little slow at first just what happened towards the end changed that entirely. Of course I know that the one who kidnapped Irisviel wasn’t Rider, the guy would be above that, but the effects are still permanent and the dynamic of the war has changed entirely, as well as some instant effects in what happened to Maiya.
Who once more was a character who’s death I saw coming, not only her character was actually touched upon in this episode but she doesn’t even get a mention in Fate/Stay Night, however even so her death still had some impact to it. More so with just how Kiritsugu was there during her last moments, the guy was quite literally starting to crack before her but with her last breaths she makes an effort to wipe away his tears and tells him that he can’t, he was already close to breaking down but with Maiya’s death it really seems inevitable now, wiping away his tears would have only been a temporary fix. Without Maiya there to hold him together, the only person who fervently had faith in his ideal, it’s only a matter of time before Kiritsugu’s mindset falls apart and he breaks beyond repair.
Alongside this there was also what happened to Kariya, it was brief but by now even he knows that his death is close at hand regardless of whether he wins or not, and to make things worse for him he’s got Zouken bitterly hindering him along the way both physically and mentally. Either way you look at it things are beyond bleak for him at this point. Aside from this there was also the information revealed on Berserker, I’m not going to outright blurt his identity even if his shot in the first ending spoiled it enough (if you’re curious google Knight of the Lake, I warned you though), but as short as it was this episode made a strong point about his character without completely exposing the secret to his identity, he’s suffering. Today we commonly regard his basis as the stereo-typical heroic knight, but truth is anything but that and Berserker can’t stand being glorified after all the crap that he’s done and wants punishment for it.
Finally things also appear to be moving forward on Waver and Rider’s side of things, with this episode bringing out and making known Waver’s feelings of inferiority as Rider’s Master, in a way similar to that of Shirou and Saber in the Fate route. In the sense that Saber was pretty much exhausted after firing off an Excaliblast like Rider is after spamming the Ionian Hetairoi and using his Gordias Wheel as many times as he has, and so given this Waver’s feelings of inferiority are only natural, he doesn’t understand that powering a Servant such as Alexander would be hard even for some of the best Masters, however given the way things will turn out I still liked this part of the episode. Alongside this we also saw some development in Rider’s character, Alexander the Great was impulsive, arbitrary, and had quite the temper (to say the least), and dragged his army halfway across the world after one dream, only turning back at threat of mutiny after ten years, he would have lost many friends along the way to say the least. However Rider having seen that this dream never existed doesn’t want to make the same mistake again, and as such refuses to put Waver at risk for the Grail, it was simply an interesting piece of development to see in him, and alongside that we got some nice foreshadowing as well.