Rin, Saber, and Archer enter Ilya’s home and retrieve Shirou. Still feeling weak, Saber falls down while the group is making their escape. When Shirou tries to help her up, Archer tells him to stop because he can’t do anything for Saber. The group tries to leave through main hallway leading out of the house, but Ilya appears behind them. Rin figures out that Ilya has never actually left the castle, meaning that the Ilya they’ve seen is only an imitation. Ilya brings out Berserker, and since Saber is still too weak to fight, Rin has Archer step up to delay Berserker so that the rest of them can get away. Archer asks Rin if it’s ok for him to defeat Berserker and she replies by telling him not to hold back. Before his fight begins, Archer gives some advice to Shirou. Shirou can do only one thing, but he should master that one thing. Shirou must not to forget to image himself as the strongest. Archer then throws one of his swords into the ceiling, bringing it down and forming a barrier between the fight and the three running away.
As the battle gets underway, Archer is unable to hurt Berserker, so he ends up on the defense. After getting knocked into a wall, Archer jumps back up and says, “I am the bone of my sword.” He summons a bow and arrow and fires it at Berserker, but it does little more than temporarily slow his enemy down. Archer then jumps through the hole in the ceiling and manages to trap Berserker on the roof. “Steel is my body, and fire is my blood. I have created over a thousand blades.” He summons four swirling blades that explode when they hit Berserker. “Unknown to death. Nor known to life…” The next attack uses two large wing-shaped blades in a downward slash. But after all that, Berserker is still standing. Archer then takes a hit that sends him into the wall. He briefly remembers Shirou’s face and walks back in, only to be hit again.
Archer’s body lands back inside the castle, but he’s still alive. When Ilya orders Berserker to hurry up and kill him, Archer responds by saying that Ilya is as merciless as ever and Ilya is surprised that he calls her by her first name. Archer knocks out the lights and reappears in a spot of moonlight. “Have withstood pain to create many weapons. Yet, those hands will never hold anything. So as I pray, unlimited blade works!” Ilya and Berserker are transported to a place with giant gears floating in the air and infinite swords in the ground. Archer and Berserker then make a final charge at each other. From outside, Rin suddenly stops running. The crescent symbol on her arm has disappeared. She wants to press onward, but Saber then collapses. Back in the castle, Archer disappears in a wave of sparkles. Ilya seems surprised that Archer was able to kill Berserker five times. At Ilya’s urging, heavily injured Berserker quickly regenerates his wounds. After those two leave to give chase to Rin and the others, we see that Archer’s red clothes also disappear, leaving behind only Rin’s pendant.
I thought this was a fabulous episode, with some terrific action sequences. I’m really sad to see Archer go because he was one of my favorite characters on the show. It’s a shame he didn’t get more screen time. The special ending just made it even more poignant. The music in general was used very well this episode, contributing quite a bit to each of the scenes.
They don’t explicitly say who Archer was, but there are a LOT of hints given, from his fixation on Shirou to the pendant he leaves behind that’s the same one that Rin used to revive Shirou back in episode two. My policy remains to not say anything that they don’t explicitly state in the anime, so I’m not going to say it here in case they decide for whatever reason to bring him back or something (who knows, it could happen, especially if they plan to diverge from the game storyline). If you really want to know, the comments below state Archer’s real identity several times.
And in case you’re wondering, Berserker supposedly has 12 lives, one for each of the labors of Hercules. Archer here took off five of them (I believe it was six in the game, dunno why they changed it).
Next week is the episode I’ve been wondering about for a while now. Supposedly Saber’s mana needs to get replenished before she can fight again. The way they do it in the game is, well, not something they’d be able to get past TV censors. I’m curious how they’ll handle it, especially since the preview shows Rin and Saber together in bed…