Soukou no Strain – 09
Some time ago, Craven had called Lottie into his office to tell her that her brother had been killed on Glabella. The culprit had been not Deague Tumors, but rather a Strain piloted by the traitor Ralph Werec. An emotionally distraught Lottie is now remembering all this and how her brother was so precious to her. She turns her anger towards the picture of the group at the party – including Sara – and smashes it. The other members of the squad are also reacting and mourning in their own ways. Lavinia in particular is crying and blaming herself for everything that happened. At the center of all this, Sara is currently being questioned by Craven and Dufarge, both of whom now know her real identity is Sara Werec and can’t help but think that she’s a spy for Deague. When they ask why she changed her name and why she joined as a Gambee pilot, Sara reveals that her brother destroyed her Mimic. She doesn’t know why Ralph attacked the Libertad, though she admits that she wants to know what her brother is trying to do. Over on the Deague ship, Barrow is pointing his gun at Ralph and Emily after their return, pissed off at Ralph for ruining their chances of launching a surprise attack. He goes to take Emily – whom he refers to as the sample – but Ralph trips Barrow after he grabs her. Ralph then threatens Barrow with his own gun, warning him not to touch Emily, before going back to his own room with her.
Back at Gall, Craven and Dufarge learn that the station is forcing them to depart immediately because of the attack by Ralph. Dufarge wants to entrust Sara to the station because of her suspected betrayal, but the station administrator refuses because of the danger posed by the approaching Deague ship if they should want to recover her. As they exit the office, Craven and Dufarge walk past an angry looking Donny. Back on the Deague ship, Barrow is telling Medlock that they have to change course within 15 hours or else they won’t be able to make it in time for the scheduled gathering of Deague ships. Medlock is well aware of this, but she also knows that the Libertad has another sample they want. Barrow, however, feels that continuing with this would be fatal for her, and he has no plans of risking his own life too. After declaring that he doesn’t trust Ralph, Barrow leaves to prepare the change in course. All of this leaves Medlock pissed off, but Barrow laughs maniacally once he’s alone in the hallway because now he’ll be able to show Ralph doesn’t belong in Deague. In his own room, Ralph is staring at the still-wrapped picture that Sara gave him before he originally left all those years ago. However, when he starts coughing up blood, he stains the picture.
As the Libertad launches from Gall with a destination of Bregma, Lottie takes her gun and makes her way to where Sara is being held. Craven and Dufarge see her in the hallways, but they don’t stop her and instead call off the guard to Sara’s room, allowing Lottie to get to Sara without hurting anyone else. Lottie throws at Sara’s feet the present that Carris gave her and reveals that Carris was killed by Ralph. As a shocked Sara falls to her knees and hugs the present, Lottie emphasizes that Carris hasn’t been the only one to die because of Ralph – there were also the ones dead from Glabella and from this training exercise. And yet, Ralph’s little sister Sara is still alive. Pointing the gun at Sara’s head, Lottie asks how many it will take to satisfy him and even calls Ralph a shinigami. Lottie then turns the subject to her own lost brother who she’ll never be able to see again and the fact that Sara’s brother is still alive. Sara eventually tries to explain that she doesn’t know what happened to Ralph or what he’s trying to do, but Lottie doesn’t believe her because she had lied about her name and identity. Sara counters back by saying that she goes onto battlefields for the sake of meeting her brother again and to ask why he killed all those people with such indifference. She believes that it is because of her gentle brother that she has been able to live until now. Without him, she would have been all alone.
When they lost their parents many years ago, Ralph had been the one who consoled her and took care of her. Thus, she hadn’t wanted her brother to join the military, and when he came back home one time, she realized that being with him made her happy. That’s why she felt it was natural for her to chase after her brother. These words cause Lottie to recall similar memories of her own past when her own brother left. He had told her that they’d be able to meet again soon once Lottie became a Reasoner herself, and Lottie had responded by promising that she’d go to where he was, much like Sara had said to Ralph before he departed. Remembering what Ralph had told her then – that only she can do what she’s decided to do and that if she has those feelings, there’s nothing she can’t do – Sara explains that she can’t die and can’t allow her brother to murder people. Therefore, she’ll kill him herself and won’t allow anyone else to because she loves him. Seeing Sara’s determination and remembering her own brother, Lottie lowers her gun. Craven and Dufarge, who had been watching the scene from the security camera, now smile at each other. Listening in from outside, Jessie also smiles and wipes away her tears as she walks off.
I felt that there was something…predictable about this episode. We knew that the two girls both lost their brothers (Lottie literally and Sara figuratively), so it wasn’t too far a stretch to see that this would be the level they’d connect on. And while this may not make them friends again, Lottie should have at least gotten the homicidal urge out of her system. I do find it more interesting that Sara finally resolved herself to having to kill her brother, a decision which may have partly been influenced by this confrontation.
Speaking of which, Ralph doesn’t seem to be doing so hot now that he’s coughing up blood (all over Sara’s picture too). I doubt he’ll be taken out by disease, but it does make you question what’s wrong with him. From the preview, it seems like we may find out next episode. But as a reminder, that won’t be airing until January 10th because of the two week break that they are taking.
Incidentally, the ED changed this episode. It is now 「アウローラ～ひとすじの曙光～」 (Aurora ~Hitosuji no Shoukou~) by Yoko.