Wow, this was amazing. Just what I’ve been waiting for. Putting up with Saber and Lancer’s chivalry claptrap was almost (but not quite) worth it.
Archibald starts the episode by generally making an ass of himself. First he murders the priest in cold blood (not that the guy didn’t deserve it, but…) and then he rages against Lancer for Sola-Ui losing her arm and being captured. But I find myself nearly able to sympathize with his actions towards Lancer. He did just have his fiancee captured. I would be mad too.
Then when Saber arrives, Archibald has the good sense to just want to escape. All this silly honor stuff!
Unfortunately, Kiritsugu shows up with Sola-Ui and a gun pointed at her head. He offers Archibald a choice: give up and command Lancer to kill himself, or have Sola-Ui killed.
I have to give it to Archibald. I honestly thought he could care less about Sola-Ui. He’s devoted so much to his dreams, after all, and the woman did just betray him. But he chooses her. He earns some respect.
Lancer’s outburst in response is odd, since he says “you all” rather than referring specifically to Kiritsugu. I assume this is simply the translation, or the fact that Lancer doesn’t know what just happened. I wonder though, if Lancer were aware of Archibald’s choices, would he have made the same one?
Lancer has spent his entire life and afterlife trying to escape from women and fight honorably. And here he died once again because of a woman. Lancer’s comments do seem directed at Archibald, after all. Archibald disregarded a knight’s honor for personal gain: the life of Sola-Ui. Yet I think Archibald made the right choice (esp. since Lancer is already a spirit). Lancer’s quest for honor and chivalry would lead him to do what is dishonorable, allowing someone to die so that he can continue to fight in a noble battle.
Of course, this all becomes a moot point when Kiritsugu has Maya murder them both after Lancer is already out. What a bastard! Killing your enemies when they’re trying to kill you is one thing, but when their heroic spirit is gone and they basically have no chance of winning?
Uh oh, I’m starting to sound like Saber and Lancer with all their talk of honor! But I don’t believe in chivalry. I believe in mercy. Occasionally the two happen to overlap.
Kiritsugu’s disses towards Saber were pretty awesome though. This is one of the problems I have with this chivalry thing: with all the dressing they put on it, it’s still in its essence all about killing people.
I totally agree with Kiritsugu up to this point. War is hell, and honor on the battlefield doesn’t exist. The part I disagree with is what he did after the battle was over. Archibald and Sola-Ui proved no threat to him at this point. If he was really that worried about Archibald becoming a master later, he could have just added it to the contract. Honor on the battlefield is silly, but mercy is essential. That’s why some things are frowned upon in war. Killing civilians. Using landmines, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Attacking medical personnel and hospitals. War is still hell, of course, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for mercy.
Kiritsugu has a good point here as well. Hero stories have always encouraged the peasantry to go to war, and have had a negative impact in this way. But they do have other effects as well…
Saber has the final word, and I have to agree. Archibald chose to end his war because of love. Kiritsugu chose to fight his war because of hate.
One final thought: I liked how the priest used the communion ritual to pass on the command crest. I wonder how many Japanese people would actually get this reference? They should have gone with a better sounding translation though.