At roughly the same time, Welkin’s group and Zaka’s group launch their attacks on their respective targets. Zaka’s group is liberating the concentration camp, but Zaka himself initially has trouble communicating with Rosie using hand signals. Regardless, they are able to kill the guards and free everyone. Rosie finds the conditions the Darcsen had to live under atrocious, and Zaka uses it to emphasize to her how much his people suffered. Their group then moves on to their next target, the train tracks, and they lay some explosives. Welkin’s group meanwhile attracts the attention of the Imperials, so Gregor sends out the tanks. Unbeknownst to the Imperials, Isara and Lamar have stolen one of the tanks, and they use it to destroy the others tanks threatening Welkin’s group. With this helping them, Welkin has his men move forward, but what they don’t realize until almost too late is that there’s a survivor of one of the destroyed tanks. That soldier targets Alicia, and Faldio tackles her out of harm’s way just in time to save her. Despite shooting the enemy soldier afterward, Welkin can only watch in silence as Faldio helps up an embarrassed Alicia.
When Gregor finds out that Squad 7 is behind this attack, he orders the Equus out. The train soon falls into the trap set by Zaka and Rosie, but the explosives don’t completely destroy it. Since the main cannon is still operational, Gregor decides on a little gambit: he addresses Squad 7 directly using the train’s speakers and orders them to withdraw. If they don’t, then he’ll fire the cannon towards the escaping Darcsen people. Welkin is conflicted about what to do, and his inability to make a decision prompts Faldio to take control and order an attack. Gregor responds by firing the cannon as promised, and it wipes out many of the Darcsen. Rosie is so pissed off that she charges at the train, and Zaka has to save her before she gets killed. Fortunately for the two of them, the train’s smaller guns don’t get to shoot a second time at them because the turret gets destroyed by a tank shell from Isara and Lamar. Their stolen tank then fires another shot, and this leads to the destruction of the train. In his final moments, Gregor yells for Squad 7 not to forget that it was they who sacrificed innocent people. With the battle now over, Rosie grieves for all the dead and remembers what happened to her own parents.
Well I’ve already commented on the spoilers in the OP, but I will say that it’s at least entirely action-oriented, which might bode well for the rest of the series. What doesn’t bode well is that it also shows overpowered Selvaria vs. (I assume) overpowered Alicia, and that makes me think we’re headed towards battles of Gundam-esque proportions. As for the music, both the new songs are decent, but not great, and I still like Asu he no Kizuna better than the new OP. The new ED at least is a slow song this time around and is more fitting for whatever sad ends we see (like the one this episode).
Despite my unhappiness with what’s shown in the new opening sequence, I still enjoyed this episode quite a bit. Like past weeks, the emphasis continues to be on the brutality of war and of the Empire, and that clearly had an effect on Rosie since she appears to have mostly gotten over her hatred for the Darcsen (though the preview seems to indicate that there’ll be more on that next week). Speaking of which, I noticed that before Gregor could be killed off, they had to make him a little extra evil by having him make a threat to kill all those people and then go through with it. It makes me wonder what they’re going to do if/when Jaeger or Maximilian or Selvaria has to die since those three have been portrayed as much more sympathetic characters than Gregor and villains in other series. I guess they could make them more evil like they did with Gregor, or they could give their deaths a more tragic spin.
The other thing that was interesting about this episode was how they portrayed Welkin to be powerless, first when he couldn’t do anything after Faldio saved Alicia and then when it was decision time for Gregor’s ultimatum. He’s usually a pretty strong male lead, so I’m not used to seeing him like this, but maybe it’s due to the castrating effects of Faldio’s declaration from a couple of episodes ago. If that is the case, then Welkin probably won’t get back to normal until something progresses in his relationship with Alicia. As a side note, I was amused that one of the people who came out of this episode looking cool was Lamar since he and Isara basically saved everyone. Maybe there’s hope for him yet. The preview seems to dash that hope though since it shows him getting angry/flustered with Isara again. Regardless, next episode looks to be a more fun and lighthearted than these past few weeks have been.