Having finally made it back to his base just as the sun starts to rise, Waver is met by Mr MacKenzie who wants to talk with his grandson.
So he gets up on the roof with him where Mr MacKenzie tells him how they used to look at the stars like this all the time and that part of the reason he and his wife chose to build their house like this on Miyama was so that they could keep doing it. However their grandson never visited them in Japan to watch the stars with them again, and it’s because of this that he knows that Waver isn’t his real grandson but even so he doesn’t mind that Waver had deceived them, reasoning that he and Alex never meant them any harm and that his wife has been much more happier recently. Going on to tell him that nothing is really worth risking your life over. Following this Kiritsugu goes over his preparations pertaining to the locations where the grail can manifest, and when Saber arrives he doesn’t say a word as she tells him that she’s been unable to find Irisviel.
Who at this point happens to be in Kirei’s hands hidden within Caster’s old workshop, confronting him on how while Kiritsugu can see right through him, he fails to even grasp who Kiritsugu really is and above all that he’s nothing like him. And when she reasons his desire to end all suffering as such, Kirei can see the obvious flaws in such, if humanity’s will for conflict were to be removed humanity itself would be destroyed, and with Irisviel further confronting him on who Kiritsugu really is Kirei tightens his grip around her neck. Now sure of just how he can destroy Kiritsugu. Back on Waver’s side of things he and Rider prepare to head out once more after seeing a signal shot up in the sky, knowing that this battle will be the last, however before they take off Waver uses all of his Command Seals, commanding Rider to fight with everything he has, to win the grail, and to seize the world no matter what. With such Waver severs the Master-Servant contract between them, but even so Rider plucks him up and tells him that just because he isn’t his Master it doesn’t mean that he can’t ride into battle with him as his friend, and so they take to the sky on Bucephalus.
Elsewhere Kiritsugu has deduced that the grail will manifest within Fuyuki and what the signal means, preparing for his inevitable battle with Kirei as Saber makes her way there, while Kirei and Archer plan out the final act. Archer heading out to confront the Servants making their way to them and telling Kirei to have Berserker entertain Saber if she arrives before he gets back, and even now Kirei can’t think of a proper wish for the grail, his only wish that nothing interrupts what he has planned out. At this point Irisviel finds herself face to face with Ilya, assuring her that she won’t let the same fate that befell her happen to her, and as her world sinks into the black mud of the grail she becomes certain of one wish alone.
Kind of derpy looking from time to time but with things quickly approaching their end this episode had some great moments, the true nature of the grail has been hinted at and Kirei has found that Kiritsugu isn’t who he thinks he is at all. But above all this episode really felt as if it were Waver and Rider’s, every scene they had stole the show.
Even something as small as Waver’s talk with Mr MacKenzie on the rooftop was pretty nice, in how while he had figured out that Waver wasn’t really his grandson he seemed to regard him as being more like a grandson to him than his real one. It seemed to say that sometimes deception isn’t all that bad if it both makes everyone happier and harms no one, and alongside that his words on there being nothing really worth risking your life over are pretty heavy. It really has me wondering whether their grandson visits them from time to time after Zero. Following that the entire scene between Waver and Rider was really something that I was looking forward to from the start, Waver declared his feelings of inferiority and effectively severed the contract between him and Rider but even so he couldn’t sever the strongest bond they had, their friendship. And with the final battle approaching that moment alone made this episode worth it.
Sadly unlike the last time I posted some of Morii Shizuki’s Fate/Zero art I couldn’t find a cleaner version.
In between these scenes Kirei’s reaction to Kiritsugu’s true nature was interesting as well, right from the start he’s been seeking someone like him in order to answer some questions in order to gain a better understanding of himself. Questions that have been torturing him recently. Believing that Kiritsugu was that person, but with Irisviel having proved the complete opposite his entire driving force has been turned on its head. It may be kind of odd to say but I’m actually surprised that he didn’t lash out at Irisviel more violently, with his belief in Kiritsugu proved wrong the answer he believed he would obtain has proven to be an illusion. And while he’ll find himself face to face with his polar opposite in ten years, he’s now left wondering whether he’s a complete anomaly in the world, and empty-hearted person.
Finally as short as the end segment was I liked how it established the malevolent nature of the grail itself, those familiar with Fate/Stay Night will already know it but if Zero were to be seen on its own it was probably the first time its true nature was definitively hinted at. It started off innocently enough by playing on Irisviel’s wish to break the chain of fate that binds Ilya but as it progressed there was a particularly unhinged feeling to it all, that something just wasn’t right as she was submerged in the black mud. And with it something felt off about Irisviel as well, the only visible change was her dress becoming stained in it but after that unhinged smile of hers, I think it’s safe to say that the Irisviel we knew is corrupted and gone.