I confess I almost bailed on this episode a couple of times, but I’m glad I stuck it out because the last three minutes or so were the feel-good story of the week, a real comedy extravaganza. I did consider not blogging this episode, to be honest, and my better angels are telling me no good can come of me doing so – and at the very least, to keep my thoughts as brief as possible.
So, to that end, in brief: I didn’t think much of everything up to the point where Gilgamesh started pulling weapons out of his
ass Gate of Babylon and whacking on Heracles, but everything after that was great. I fully admit the flaws of Gilgamesh as a narrative device – he’s the classic hack overpowered Deux ex character – but anyone who can shut Illyasviel the fuck up is aces in my book.
If that makes it sound like I hate the character, apply Occam’s Razor and you’ll get to the truth. Illya, for me, is everything about the Fate mythology at its most lazy and manipulative. And there are episodes like this one in every Fate series, ones which are totally unnecessary apart from the need to check certain boxes on the “to do” list for a Fate series. This franchise can be much better than this and often (even “usually”) is, and that’s why I keep blogging it, but it indulges this nonsense far too often. And while I’m sure there are good reasons for these episodes from a marketing standpoint, that doesn’t justify them from a creative one.
In different circumstances, I might be rooting for Gil to finally get a dose of humility pounded into him – he is indeed an arrogant SOB and way too powerful to really work as a character. But for the job at hand, he was the perfect choice – you don’t carry a butter knife into a swordfight. And at least Berserker’s persistent refusal to die gave us the chance to see genuine surprise (and maybe even alarm once or twice) on Gil’s smug face. But thankfully, after he’d put his sword to community service.
Oh, and Shirou? You’re a fucking idiot. I’m sorry, but having just seen what you saw, your response is to announce your presence with a cubby-bear grown and throw yourself into that pit of fire? Not exactly a flowering of 14 episodes worth of character development there.