The young girl introduces herself as Ilya – Illyasviel von Einzbern. Not wasting time, she orders Berserker to kill her foes, but Saber runs forward to parry the hit. Much to Ilya’s delight, the two start fighting, though Saber is mostly to be dodging Berserker’s blows. She makes her way over to Ilya, but Berserker gets in her way and smashes her into a pole. It becomes apparent that Saber is still recovering from Lancer’s earlier blow, but Rin doesn’t allow Shirou to try to stop his Servant. Instead, Rin herself shoots Berserker with magic, though it doesn’t faze him at all. And even as Saber tries to move away, Berserker’s connects with a devastating blow. Saber’s eyes turn red, but she motions for Shirou not to come. He watches as bloodied Saber gets up with the support of her sword. Ilya brags about Berserker by saying that he’s Greece’s strongest hero – Hercules. Berserker raises his arm for another swing, but Shirou has seen enough. With the symbol on his hand resonating, Shirou pushes Saber out of the way and takes the blow. Everyone is completely surprised by Shirou’s actions, and Ilya even retreats for the time being. She promises that she’ll kill Rin the next time they meet.
Shirou dreams about a time when he and his father Kiritsugu were talking. Kiritsugu had wanted to be an ally of justice when he was a child, but had eventually given up the idea. The young Shirou had proclaimed that he could do it in his father’s place. Shirou wakes up from his dream, seemingly ok from the events of the night before. He finds Rin still in his house, and she tells him that his body healed thanks to one of Saber’s abilities. When Rin asks about Shirou’s plans, Shirou says that he’s not interested in the Holy Grail and only wants to prevent a repeat of 10 years ago. Rin replies that the Servants themselves desire the Holy Grail because they have their own wishes that they want granted.
Shirou feels that Saber is human and bleeds, but Rin tells him that if a Servant dies they just return to their original place. Rin then asks Shirou if he’s just going to wait around for the other Masters to challenge him, but Shirou himself is unsure about what to do. When Rin notes that Berserker is on a different level than Archer and Saber, Shirou is reminded that Berserker is really Hercules. He asks Rin what Saber’s true name is, but Rin thinks it’s best that Saber doesn’t tell him because she’s afraid that he’d go blabbing it to other people. She also reminds him that she’s technically still his enemy.
As she’s walking home, Rin encounters Sakura and makes up the excuse that she’s just taking a walk. After Rin hurries off, Sakura comments to herself that she smelled blood. Meanwhile, Shirou finds Saber in the dojo. After checking to make sure he’s ok, Saber lectures Shirou about how it’s unnecessary for a Master to protect the Servant. Shirou says that he has the will to fight, but he thinks that they don’t have much chances of success. Saber promises that in that case, she’ll create those chances. Hearing that, Shirou is afraid that she’ll attack other people, but Saber replies that it would go against her oath as a knight. As they go off to eat, Shirou thinks that although there have been a lot of unbelievable things, one thing he can believe is that Saber isn’t a cold-hearted killer.
That was a pretty and impressive bloody fight for the first half of the episode, complete with squishing and bone-cracking noises and all. I thought Saber would do a bit better, but I guess she’d have a hard time against Berserker without help, especially since she’s still injured. Ilya is pretty much the evil brat I expected her to be, but the one I’m most curious about is the shrouded woman watching them via her orb. Shirou seems to hold pretty well onto his ideal of being the ally of justice, doing right, and not hurting others based on his talks with Rin and Saber. He’s got no choice but to participate in the war, and I get the feeling we’ll get a lot of ideological stuff from him in the process.
Sakura is the other person who surprised me this episode, when she smelled blood on Rin and showed her serious face (dead eyes and all). Perhaps Sakura will have a more important role to play than just the childhood friend.
Next week, the first of a two-parter – I assume the two mages the title refers to are Rin and Shirou.