Right after Shirou finishes an intense training session with Saber, Rin drags him off to do more magic training. She wants him to continue trying to reinforce the lamps, and this time she’s brought dozens for him to work on. While he’s doing that, she visits the storehouse where Shirou used to practice. She comes to the realization that Shirou’s ability is not as she originally thought because it doesn’t follow the rule of equivalent exchange. Instead, Shirou seems to have been originally specialized in some incarnation of reinforcement magic. By this time, Shirou has managed to shatter almost all of the lamps in his attempts at magic. When the phone rings, he answers it and finds Shinji on the other end. Shinji convinces Shirou to come to school alone without telling Rin or Saber. But when Shirou gets there, a red barrier envelopes the building, giving Shirou another set of chest pains. He stumbles into a classroom where all of the students are also suffering. He’s reminded of what happened ten years ago, but then notices that the marking on his hand is glowing.
Shinji shows up in front of Shirou to taunt him. It seems that Shinji is still quite bitter about Shirou and Rin pairing up. He gets Shirou really pissed off when he tells of how Fuji-nee had crawled to him asking him to call an ambulance, but he had kicked her instead. Something inside Shirou starts to power up, but he asks Shinji to stop the barrier one last time. Of course Shinji won’t comply, so Shirou is left with no choice but to use force. Shinji tries to stop him with a magical book, but Shirou has learned a few things from Saber’s training and is able to press the attack. Fortunately for Shinji, Rider comes to his rescue. Shirou is still no match for the Servant who is able to stab him several times. However, her attempted killing blow into his collarbone never pierces through because he uses his magic. Instead, she simply kicks him out of the window. Time seems to freeze for Shirou as he once again remembers 10 years ago. However, this time he has Saber. He uses his magic to summon her and she appears to catch him.
After telling her what they need to do, the two re-enter the school. Saber faces off against Rider while Shirou goes after her master. Shinji starts running like a coward and in the process knocks over a bucket full of mops. Shirou breaks the handle on one of them and makes it into metal. He then uses it to smash through Shinji’s book’s next magical attack. The scared Shinji starts calling for Rider, but she continues to fight Saber. Having finally caught up, Shirou punches Shinji into the wall. Shirou once again tries to get Shinji to stop the barrier, this time threatening to kill him. With his neck cracking under the pressure of Shirou’s hands, Shinji yells for Rider to stop the Blood Fort. She scoffs, but complies with his order. Shirou doesn’t let go just yet because he also wants Shinji to give up his command spells. While Shinji is resisting, Rider finds the opportunity to speed past Saber and save her master. Saber warns that Rider is going to unleash the magical power of the barrier. Rider tells Shinji that although she’s inferior to Saber, her Noble Phantasm surpasses everyone else’s, and no one can stop her sprint. With that, Rider stabs herself in the neck, spurting blood everywhere. But that blood gathers in front of her to form a seal and that seal becomes a bright light that sprouts wings. It completely obliterates the hallway in a beam of destruction.
With his opponents gone and the battle over, Shirou passes out. He dreams of the pain he went through ten years ago and thinks about following in his father’s footsteps. When he wakes up, he finds Rin watching over him. She tells that everyone at school is ok even though a lot of them had to go to the hospital. Rin once again attributes Shirou’s healing to Saber, so Shirou seeks her out in the dojo. She starts lecturing him about going off alone, but this time Shirou is quick to apologize and he promises not to go fight alone again. He now realizes that he needs her strength to be able to beat the other Masters. Having said that, he still thinks that he should fight alongside her instead of letting her fight alone. She accepts his stubbornness and agrees to be his sword. Rin walks in on the two shaking hands. She has brought Saber’s clothes, though she wonders why Saber wears such a simple design. Saber replies that it’s because Shirou said it suits her.
Well that was pretty awesome; two thumbs up for this episode. They finally got past all of the repetitive idealistic talk/heavy dialogue and actually showed the characters acting in accordance with their ideals. Not only that, Shirou proves himself to be quite a fighter (at least compared to the coward Shinji). It took hearing about Shinji abusing Fuji-nee to get him to snap, but once he did, he was pretty cool. I’m hoping that this is only a taste of what he is capable of doing. And at the end of it all, he admits to needing Saber but vows to fight alongside her. Shirou is becoming a lot more of a respectable character for me.
Rider’s Noble Phantasm (Blood Fort Andromeda) was also very impressive looking, though the start of it was a bit gory. I can see why she considers her Noble Phantasms to be unmatched. But I do have to say that the art for this episode isn’t quite as good as that from previous episodes. There were more long distance shots and a couple of them during the scene where Saber catches Shirou looked odd to me.
So I’m actually looking forward to the next episode for once. The preview shows Rider fighting Saber again, and I’m guessing that Saber will get a decisive victory.