After the events with Cordelia, Welkin and his squad’s next task is to take part in the recapture of the key city of Fouzen. Because the place is protected by the armored train Equus that is equipped with an incredible cannon, Squads 1 and 7 don normal clothes to infiltrate the city while their allies get shelled. They arrive during the night and soon join up with the Fouzen resistance movement led by a man named Zaka. Although the others have no problem with him, Rosie reacts negatively because he’s a Darcsen, and even though Zaka doesn’t mind, he reminds her that in this case, they need the help of his people. Inside the hideout of the resistance, Alicia and Zaka talk about the now-lonely town, and Zaka points out the concentration camp that the Empire set up for his people. He and his men have been fighting to destroy that place and to retake the city from the Empire.
Prior to the strategic briefing, Welkin notices Faldio acting especially courteous towards Alicia, and he’s still bothered by what Faldio said previously about liking her. Regardless, during the briefing, the group goes over their three objectives: destroy the armored train Equus, attack the enemy command center, and liberate the concentration camp. To do this, they split up into three teams, with Largo’s team in charge of the concentration camp, Rosie’s team in charge of the train, and everyone else attacking the enemy base. Largo doesn’t like the fact that the regular army isn’t going to come until after they’ve confirmed that the train has been destroyed, but Isara speaks up since she believes that this strategy has significance because what the Empire is doing is wrong.
Since there’s still time until the start of the operation, Rosie goes out, but Welkin forces her to take Zaka along. While out in public, Rosie sees a lost little girl and wants to do something, but the girl is fortunately reunited with her mother. Zaka then surprises Rosie by grabbing her from behind and forcing her against the wall, but it’s all a ruse to fool the nearby enemy patrol. Rosie is angry afterward, but Zaka notes how she’s a woman and uses that to highlight her discrimination. Later, as they’re getting ready to leave, Rosie finds out that Zaka is coming with her, so she makes it clear to him that she’s a soldier of the militia before she’s a woman. The group then heads out to start the operation.
It turns out that Zaka’s a pretty good guy after all, and so the preview from last week’s episode was misleading, at least to me who hasn’t played the game. In fact, it seems that not only will Rosie get over her Darcsen hate through Zaka (and to a lesser degree, Isara), every indication is that a ZakaXRosie relationship is brewing, though of course there’s always the chance that one of them will die. Regardless of what happens, it’s clear that this arc is going to be more focused on the two of them and less on Welkin, Alicia, and Faldio. I was glad though to see that they showed that Faldio’s words from last episode had a lasting effect on Welkin. Maybe he’ll finally do something about it now that he’s had some time to brood over it.
Overall, I thought this episode was pretty good even though it’s kind of a set-up episode. It’s probably also noteworthy that they made an extra effort here to show the cost and horrors of war with all of the soldiers who got killed by the Equus’ shelling, including, amusingly enough, Vyse. Their sacrifices seemed a little unnecessary to me, but I think that’s part of the point the director and writers were trying to make. In any case, I’m still waiting for one of the core characters to die in order to really drive that point home. Like I mentioned last week, I think Faldio’s the perfect candidate for it.