「冬の日、遠い家路」 (Fuyu no Hi, Tooi Ieji)
“Winter Days, a Long Way Home”
Even though we’ve had plenty of dialogue heavy episodes in the past, this is the first time the tension has eased up in a while. Even when characters got to talking before, they still did so in the context of conflict. So our protagonists get to rest a while, patch themselves up, and start setting up for what may well be the final battle. So it’s a slow episode without much event, and the most action we really get is Gil shooting once, but I made do by taking screencaps of Rin judiciously.
What does happen this week is the long awaited(?) mana-link-thingy scene and—my God, it’s full of stars! This is the Realta Nua (aka family-friendly) version, which means weird CGI constructs. In the 2010 movie they were dolphins but… are these dolphins? Alien dolphins? A bad metaphor?. Well, it’s not like the original scene was all that much better. I refuse to believe that after millennia of magecraft nobody has come up with an easier way to do all this. Even for the piece of Magic Crest Shirou receives (What Would Jesus Do, Shirou?), surely someone would have invented a copy + paste feature by now. Well, more than half of it was innuendo anyway, so I suppose we aren’t supposed to take it all too seriously. We do get, though, some flashbacks from Rin’s past (the kind that seem to pop up whenever anybody gets linked in any way in this setting), and in particular the first encounter between a young Rin and a young Shirou. Aw, don’t get embarrassed, Rin. It’s kind of sweet. You lonely stalker, you.
All this stripping down and getting cozy is not (just) for fanservice, though. With Gilgamesh setting himself up as the last boss, there is certainly a sense of finality in the air. Our party is making its preparation, Saber’s going around being wistful and raising death flags, while Shinji’s having the time of his life. Enough talking, guys, get to fighting. Yes, I know a good portion of this episode was actually silent. You know what I mean.
We’re definitely in the calm before the storm right now, one final transitional episode before we, hopefully, make a mad dash towards the finish. Though Shirou may have already resolved his internal issues in his fight with Archer, this is the part where he has to demonstrate what that is worth. With Gilgamesh’s giant eugenics project hanging over the city like a doom omen, the stakes are at an all-time high. The stage is set, the pieces are in place. Saber rushes the front, Shirou and Rin sneak in from the back, they destroy the writhing flesh monstrosity, happily ever after.
And now that the plan has been explained in detail, nothing can possibly go wrong. Of course.