Sitting alone at home, Saber thinks to herself that the stars have come out, forecasting Shirou’s future. She gets embarrassed after realizing that she’s acting like a girl in a love story. Rin comes out and asks Saber if she knows where Shirou is; she’s looking for him because Ilya’s fever has gotten worse. She also tells Saber about how she had found the dead body of Lancer’s Master, but his command spells had been taken. The two girls realize that Lancer must be under another Master now, a Master who has another Servant so that he or she could use Lancer for reconnaissance. But they’re still not sure who it is. Saber is worried about Shirou, and Rin thinks that he might be at the church. Saber heads over there, even more worried because the church gives off the same stagnation of death that the Ryuudoji temple did. She arrives and makes her way below ground where she finds Shirou lying facedown in a pool of blood. Standing between him and her is Lancer. The two start fighting, but Kotomine drags Shirou’s still-alive body out and stops the battle.
Kotomine is willing to give Shirou back to Saber if that’s all she’s here for. And if she wants the Holy Grail, he can give that to her now too. When Lancer is confused because he thought that the Holy Grail came out only once there was one remaining, Kotomine follows up by saying that the vessel is a different matter. The vessel that holds the power until the summoning of the Holy Grail is nearing full. But first, he asks Shirou if he really doesn’t have anything that he hated ten years ago. The memories trigger inside of Shirou of the time during the fire, when he had heard everyone’s pleas for help and continued walking through the fire because all he cared was saving himself. He was ultimately saved by Kiritsugu and spent his life wanting to become the ally of justice, but he had felt guilty because he knew that the dead wouldn’t forgive him if he didn’t stick out his chest and walk forward. Kotomine grabs Shirou’s head and tempts Shirou by saying that with the Holy Grail, the events of ten years ago can not occur and could be done over. However, Shirou says that he doesn’t want that because it would make meaningless all of the sadness and tears that people endured over the years.
Since Shirou doesn’t want the Holy Grail like that, Kotomine pushes him back to Saber. He then turns to her and tells her that by killing Shirou, she can get her wish. That wish, as she’s said before, is to redo the selection of the king. Shirou surprises Saber by saying that he believes this path isn’t wrong. Saber agrees, saying that she had sworn to uphold the king’s responsibilities when she drew the sword out of the stone. She tells Kotomine that she does indeed want the Holy Grail, but she’s not going kill Shirou for it. She wants Shirou more than the Holy Grail, and she’s already got everything she wants. Saber then takes Shirou’s hand and starts to heal him. Kotomine decides that Saber and Shirou should die here. He snaps his fingers and someone else enters the room – Kotomine’s partner in the previous Holy Grail War, Gilgamesh. Kotomine explains that he helped Gilgamesh remain after the last war by giving him things to eat, which would be the nearby room full of bodies. Lancer demands to know why he wasn’t told about this and Kotomine simply asks him back if he would have fought with Gilgamesh if he had known. The answer is of course no.
Kotomine compares this to ten years ago, though that time he had been defeated by Kiritsugu. Having been cornered, Kotomine had touched the Holy Grail that appeared and caused the giant fire. He says that his heart’s desire was to make everyone in the city disappear, but also that the Holy Grail would have done the same without that. He views the Holy Grail as a giant weapon that grants wishes through destruction – a pure strength. Thus, the Holy Grail that Shirou and Saber are after can annihilate everything – Kotomine calls it a cursed vessel. He makes his way out of the room and orders Gilgamesh and Lancer to finish off the “trash.” Gilgamesh starts by throwing a sword, but it’s deflected…by Lancer. He says that he’s not helping them so much as he’s following his own beliefs now. Gilgamesh easily dodges his lunge and counterattacks with an uppercut swing. At Lancer’s urging, Shirou and Saber make their escape. Gilgamesh injures Lancer with his swords, and then ties him up with chains. He then throws a special sword at Lancer, piercing through him and killing him.
In the cemetery above ground, Saber heals Shirou’s wound. She explains that she replenished the sheath’s mana, which should allow him to recover quickly. Shirou is confused until Saber tells him that Excalibur’s sheath is actually inside him. She thinks that perhaps it’s because of what Kiritsugu did in the previous war and explains that the sheath can heal the wounds of its holder. After the war, when Kiritsugu had found Shirou, he had given him the sheath as the only way to save Shirou’s life; this is the source of his healing powers. Shirou feels bad for using Saber’s sheath in this way, but Saber says that she’s actually happy that her sheath can save him. She has realized that Kiritsugu was right about the Holy Grail being not what she needed and that he knew that she was deluding herself. By now, the two have walked all the way to the pier during the sunset. Saber thanks Shirou, saying that she finally understands which road to walk. She hopes that he can forgive her for her mistake and asks that he see it all as a dream of a young girl. With a determined look, Shirou says that they should break the Holy Grail, which catches Saber a little by surprise. However, Saber says that she believed in him to make this decision.
Lots of plot development this week, though there was some fighting that included the defeat/death of Lancer at Gilgamesh’s hands. The important things include Kotomine finally being exposed as the bad guy (the final bad guy at that), Lancer’s death, and Saber realizing her mistake. I thought Lancer’s death was a bit disappointing, given that he was only around for such a short period of time. It’s nice that he ended up helping out Saber and Shirou, but his overall character could have used more development. And he really wasn’t a match for Gilgamesh, though that was to be expected. As for Shirou and Saber, it’s about time the two got on the same page in terms of goals. You could almost thank Kotomine for doing it, since he was the one who brought about Saber’s change-of-mind by trying tempt them with their wishes and by explaining what the Holy Grail did.
Overall, it feels like this episode set out to tie up a lot of loose ends: what happened 10 years ago, why Shirou heals so quickly, etc. It’s a good episode, but I honestly didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as last week’s (though that’s a hard act to follow).
Next week looks like it’ll be Shirou and Saber vs. Kotomine and Gilgamesh. Ilya will be involved too. Only two more episodes left of FSN!