Saber pledges her sword to Shirou, saying that their fates are now intertwined. After the contract is completed, Saber goes out to fight Lancer. As he watches her fight, Shirou notices that he can’t see Saber’s weapon. Lancer is angry that Saber is concealing her weapon, but she responds by charging him. Because of Saber’s provocations, Lancer uses Gae Bolga to pierce her heart. Saber figures out that Lancer is the Irish hero Chulainn and because of that, Lancer makes his retreat. Shirou runs up to Saber and watches as her wound closes up. The two formally introduce themselves to each other, then Saber goes off and starts to fight Archer. When Archer is injured, Rin has him disappear, but then Saber goes after Rin. Only Shirou’s yell for her to stop prevents her from striking. Shirou recognizes Rin and brings her into his house where she repairs the damage done by Lancer. Rin learns that Shirou knows next to no magic and laments about the fact that he got Saber. She explains the situation about the Masters and the Servants and war for the Holy Grail. She then takes him to go see the manager of the war.
The three arrive at the Kotomine Church, and Saber waits outside while Shirou and Rin go in. Shirou meets Kotomine Kirei, a magician who was Rin’s father’s disciple. Since Shirou knows basically nothing, Kirei starts to explain to him. First, a Master can only stop being a Master if the Holy Grail is obtained. Second, Servants are heroes of old who appear when it’s time to fight. But since Shirou is rather lacking in power, Saber can’t go into her spirit form. Third, the Masters don’t necessarily have to die, and basically whoever has their Servant still alive at the end wins the Holy Grail. Fourth, if a Servant loses their Master, they don’t disappear immediately, and thus can go to contract with another Master who has lost their own Servant already. And since there was wanton slaughter in past wars, there is now a manager for the event – Kirei. Shirou says that he has no reason to fight and no interest in the Holy Grail, but Kirei asks him if he can stand by while the others wreak havoc. After Kirei mentions the fire that only Shirou survived, Shirou decides to fight.
On their way home, Rin, Shirou, and Saber run into a young girl and her Servant: Ilya and Berserker.
Good fighting to start this episode, but the latter half’s explanation of the war and the grail is rather long winded, though probably necessary. I was most interested in the all the Servants are based on past heroes part, with Lancer supposedly being Cú Chulainn. That’ll be something of a mythology lesson every time they identify a servant. As for Kotomine Kirei, he’s really creepy, and the way the eyes are animated in this series (i.e. dead looking eyes) doesn’t help at all. The overall animation quality did go down slightly since there seems to be a lot more low-detail distance shots, but all the close-ups still look fine.
After having all the rules explained to him, Shirou only agrees to fight because of his sense of justice, so that he can protect and avoid another disaster. As Rin notes several times, Shirou isn’t a particularly capable Master, and while he did end up with Saber, he doesn’t seem to be bringing out all of her potential. But Shirou and Rin look like they’re gonna be a team for at least the time being. And with that lengthy explanation is out of the way, we can proceed with the story, where the immediate threat is Ilya and Berserker.