Okay, maybe quoting Macbeth in the title is a bit cheesy, but I thought it fit. This episode is one of the darkest in Re:Zero yet, as Subaru returns to the trial and learns the ultimate consequences of Return By Death. We finally meet the last of the Sin Witches, and Echidna reveals her sinister side. With just one more episode before the mid-season break, things don’t look like they’ll get better any time soon!
After dying from Emilia’s kiss in the last loop, Subaru decides he needs Echidna’s help once more in order to save her. He begs the Witch to take him to her, but this instead activates the second part of the trial – Subaru’s “unthinkable present”. He gazes in horror at his own corpse, with Emilia, Ferris, and Wilhelm beside themselves in grief. This is when he slit his throat after realizing Rem was in a coma – but in this world, he stays dead, and the world must move on without him.
One by one, we see the aftermath of nearly every death Subaru’s had thus far. It’s tough to watch, and even the glimpse of an epic battle between Puck and Reinhard has a depressing finality to it. Subaru’s deaths caused immeasurable grief to his friends, and in some cases even caused the end of the world. The implication is that each of Subaru’s deaths creates a new branching timeline, and all but one lead to a Bad End.
Subaru starts losing it, and thinks he must be hallucinating when he wakes up to see Rem standing in front of him. It’s clearly not her, as she’s still stuck in a coma – but even a fake Rem nearly as cute and sweet as the real thing. The music swells, and the Remposter leans in for a kiss – but Subaru stops her, revealing her to be the Witch of Lust, Carmilla, in disguise.
All the other witches soon follow – Echidna, Minerva, Typhon, Daphne, and Sekhmet, the Witch of Sloth. They accuse Echidna of manipulating Subaru with her feminine wiles, which, to be fair, is exactly what she’s been doing this whole time. Dona wants to make a contract with Subaru, offering him all the knowledge she’s acquired over 400 long and eventful years – but, this being a Witch’s contract, there’s a catch! Subaru would have to accept any and all sacrifices in pursuit of his goal, including losing Emilia or not being able to bring Rem back.
Dona goes into villain mode, monologuing about longing to know the secrets of the universe and twist her sardonic grin into a full-on Joker smile. But our otaku hero still has one more question to ask – what about Beatrice? She made a contract with a Witch that left her stranded and alone for 400 years. Of course, that was Dona’s doing as well. She never specified who “that person” Beatrice is supposed to be looking for actually is, implying the pig-tailed librarian was supposed to choose for herself. But she could never find the right one, and retreated into the confines of the mansion instead. Realizing a contract with Dona will only bring him the same fate, Subaru rejects her and resolves to make a contract with Beako instead.
The episode ends with the sky darkening and Satella crashing the Witches’ Tea Party once again. Sure, it was the same cliffhanger they used in Episode 9, but now we have all seven Sin Witches together for the first time. Knowing what we know about Echidna, Satella, and even Return by Death, how will this play out? Will the Witch of Envy start another loop full of carnage, or will Subaru try to make good on his promise to save her? I can’t wait until next week to talk about it!
Since we’ve finally been introduced to all the Sin Witches, I thought I’d close off with some useless but interesting trivia about their names. All the Witches (and Subaru) are named after celestial bodies, which often correspond to different characters from mythology. You can totally skip this part but if you’re curious, read on:
Typhon is named after the asteroid 42355 Typhon, and Echidna is named after its moon. In Greek mythology, Typhon and Echidna were half-human, half-snake demigods who are the parents of many of the most famous Greek monsters, like Cerebus and the Hydra.
Daphne is named after 41 Daphne, a large asteroid in our solar system. In Greek mythology, Daphne was a naiad, a female freshwater spirit associated with brooks and streams.
Minerva’s name comes from 93 Minerva, another asteroid. Minerva is also the Roman name for Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom and war.
Sekhmet is named after 5381 Sekhmet, an asteroid that orbits between the Sun and the Earth. It is also the name for the Egyptian goddess of war and healing, and is usually depicted as a lioness.
Carmilla is named after 107 Carmilla, one of the main belt asteroids. She is a minor character in Virgil’s Aeneid, and has no relation to the lesbian vampire book (that I’m aware of).
And finally, Satella’s name doesn’t come from any one particular cosmological body, but it’s most likely a corruption of the Latin “Stella” which means “star”.
Also, Subaru’s name is also a reference to astronomy – it comes from the Japanese term for the Pleiades star cluster. (So we can all get the car jokes out of our system, thanks.)