Although I can’t really speak for my co-bloggers on that one.
We’ve got Lily first, as usual:
The end is near.
Irisviel finally loses her precious life to the cold hands of inhuman of obvious villain Kirei. Her death is the birth of the Grail, and the vessel is now naught but a vessel. It puzzles me slightly that Saber didn’t seem to feel the loss, when considered Irisviel provided her with power. Was it because, as a homunculus, she can’t die, or maybe because Irisviel was no longer in possession of Avalon? Or was it because Iri’s not actually her master? I’d have expected Saber to notice something was amiss, or that could have been wishful thinking, not included in the rules of the game. This, however, doesn’t mean the King of Knights won’t react to the loss of her lady master. Oh I expect rage, if not for Kirei, the executioner, then for Berserker, the kidnapper. Kiritsugu was unworthy of admiration and respect, but not Irisviel. Saber was tricked and incapable of rescuing the one person she ought to protect. How will it feel? What will she do?
However, this week was not for Saber.
Weaker, younger, and much more inexperienced than all the other masters, Waver felt useless and powerless for most of the battles. But he did his part, going on active searches and taking part in many battles, side by side with his servant. For a King who lived in the battlefield, all of those moments were enough to make Iskander respect his master and convince him to stay until the very end. It was a touching moment for the crybaby and his servant, and it’s hard not to have sympathy for them. Iskander respects Waver as one of his own men, even if he’s small and cries easily, and that is a recognition the young magus wanted from the very start; in that moment, I don’t feel Waver had any more need for the Grail.
Rider marches to battle with orders to win, and while I wished Saber had her chance to prove, once and for all, that she’s more than just a flower and a girl that took the sword out of the stone, she has done her part. Ahead lies the final confrontation between two kings and it will it will be amazing to see ufotable’s light on the battlefield. Most of the scheming masters have fallen, and it is time for the swords to do their talking.
Three episodes are left. Gilgamesh vs Iskander seems sure next episode. Berserker is on the wait for Saber. And then, the grand finale on Fuyuki City. There are some series I wish would last a little longer, but for Fate/Zero, I’ve waited enough. Three more weeks! And will someone get me my Knights of the Round Table already!
And next from Katherine:
I knew Irisviel was going to die at some point. She isn’t removed from the events of the show, which…has me worried. ^_^; What’s going to happen to her inside the Grail? How much, if at all, will she be able to influence what happens? If you compete in the Holy Grail War, does it make any difference if the Grail’s vessel hates you for killing her or thinks that you’re the only Master who deserves to win?
Even though Kirei is on my “this character should rot in hell forever” list, along with Zouken, Ryuunosuke and Caster, he is right when he says that humanity would need to cease to exist for Kiritsugu’s wish to come true. Kirei’s reason for why Kiritsugu’s wish can’t work reminds me of one of the few things I heard in religion class in Catholic school that I liked: How can a just God allow evil to exist? One of the things that makes us human is free will. Without free will, we would be dolls. An inevitable effect of free will is that people will choose to do evil as well as good. So, to eliminate evil, you would need to eliminate humanity- but not because humanity itself is inherently evil. As Irisviel said, Kiritsugu hopes the Grail can grant a miracle that will make a world without conflict possible…without wiping out humanity, we can presume. More proof that Kiritsugu is as idealistic as anyone.
And I know that Kiritsugu has not gotten any sleep in over forty hours and he and Saber can’t stand each other, but…why didn’t he tell Saber where he thought Irisviel might be? I’m not just annoyed because I’m a Saber fan. Given that Kiritsugu is short on manpower because Maiya died and Saber spent the entire night searching for Irisviel, wouldn’t it make sense for him to give Saber some of his information? Not that it would have helped Irisviel. Saber was as kakkoii as always in this episode, but it’s a bit hard to fangirl over the same episode that saw Irisviel die.
Thankfully, this episode wasn’t all doom and gloom, because of Waver. His rooftop scene with his “grandfather” was sweet, and I loved his conversation with Rider before they rode off. The Waver-Rider interaction in this episode was so nice that I’m afraid Rider’s going to die next. Waver has become stronger over the course of the show- I just hope that he doesn’t come out of the war broken.
And finally with myself:
I loved the parts of the episode involving Waver; I agree with Lily that he clearly has no need of the Grail himself at this point. Of all the Masters, he’s really the only one who has changed much over the course of the series, which maybe is to be expected given his age. I think its easy to say he’ll be the only one to walk away from the War sans serious emotional scarring. He also had the only non-dysfunctional relationship with his Servant out of everyone; Kayneth was suspicious of Lancer, Kiritsugu and Saber dislike each other, Kotomine feared and then was betrayed by Archer, Beserker seems to torment Kariya, that crazy guy voiced by Akira Ishida and Caster enjoyed committing murder together, and, well, I guess Assassin and Kirei got along alright, but certainly not as well as Waver and Rider do.
So I really liked watching Waver interact with Rider in this episode, and I also enjoyed the bits with Waver and his not-grandfather. It’d be nice if we knew a bit more about Waver’s actual family, but I can live without knowing. Stargazing on the roof really was enough.
I hated the scene with Irisviel and Kirei. Come on, two women strangled in two weeks? It also didn’t feel… well, it felt anti-climactic, maybe in part because Irisviel’s death had been foreshadowed for such a long freaking time. I didn’t feel much about it at that scene; it was only in the scene of Irisviel and Illya that I felt a pang of sadness, because she was unable to protect her daughter from suffering her same fate. Of course, I also think the problem is that Kirei still far from thrills as a villain. It just feels like he’s the villain because… he’s the villain. Wanting to crush Kiritsugu’s idealism as a motivator? Talk about boring – its as if they couldn’t think of anything better.
Will Beserker’s identity finally be revealed in the next episode? That’d be pretty great; I think it’ll be interesting to see Saber react when she works that one out. My guess is a heavy dose of shock, and perhaps some guilt. Hopefully a decent flashback to flesh things out a bit. I can hope.
I think we’ll have a bit more of Irisviel given the scenes of her in the Grail at the end of the episode. It seems like this is as good a time as any to bring up something – the whole matter of vessels for the Holy Grail. If the Holy Grail War only occurs every sixty years normally, then why would Irisviel have to worry about her daughter being the vessel? And how does that work for when its not Holy Grail War time? Does the person just carry the Grail and live a normal life-span? Or just carry it and live only long enough to give birth to the next vessel? And does the vessel have to be a girl or woman, or can it be a male vessel?
By the way, I do have to thank those of you who have answered my questions in the past; I have very little familiarity with the Fateverse and its conventions, so I certainly appreciate your input.
In closing: Kirei won’t say what he wants to ask the Grail for because he doesn’t want Gilgamesh to know yet that he’ll wish for Gilgamesh to be his love slave – discuss.