After last week’s tear-jerker episode where Subaru finally made peace with his past, we’re back to the normal Re:Zero mysteries and madness. While this episode wasn’t as emotionally gripping as the last one, it’s still packed to the gills with new twists and reveals. And it ends with the return of an old villain whom I’m sure no one expected to see again. Like every episode so far, this one’s a doozy!
When we last left off, Subaru found Echidna, the Witch of Greed, casually chilling in his old school’s uniform. With a wry smile, she explains how this world is all a part of the trial. Even his parents were just illusions, concocted from his memories and his desire to give them one last goodbye. (This was subtly foreshadowed. Did you notice how no one was there who wasn’t part of Subaru’s life?) But our hero still needed closure, and actually thanks Echidna for giving it to him. He’s grown a lot in just a couple episodes, but this suffering train won’t stop any time soon.
When he leaves the trial, Subaru gets another shock – Emilia is right next to him, delirious and nearly passed out from confronting her own traumatic memories. Even Subaru’s comforting words can’t seem to snap her out of her panic attack, and she desperately cries out for Puck, the only father figure she’s ever had. Whatever Emilia has gone through in her past must weigh on her terribly, and being forced to relive it all again without help feels like torture. It reminds me of the scene in Evangelion where poor Asuka is forced to relive her dark past, only Emilia chose to go through all this to save everyone.
When they get back to Roswaal’s pad, Subaru has a chat with Garfiel, Ram, Otto the Merchant, and a new yet familiar face. It’s Ryuzu Meyer, the mysterious pink-haired girl who led Subaru into the temple back in Episode 2. She says the real reason mixed-race people can’t leave the Sanctuary is because their soul will leave their body, leaving them an empty shell. How does she know this, I wonder? Also, she’s apparently an old lady who looks like a kid. Great, my least favorite anime trope ever…
Emilia wakes up to see Subaru standing beside her, and subconsciously reaches her arm out towards him. Subaru gets way too excited about this, so of course Emilia is all “it’s not like I like you or anything, b-baka!” We also learn that there is a faction in the Sanctuary who wants to stay, and that Garf has a thing for Ram. Sorry dude, but her type is older, and creepier…
Yup, the real truth bomb comes (again) from Roswaal, who casually explains why he’s been mysteriously absent when the Witch Cult keeps attacking. It was all part of his conspiracy to give Emilia more legitimacy in the Royal Selection, and force Subaru’s hand in rescuing her. And all the casualties, including poor Rem? They were just pawns, sacrificed so his most valuable piece can become Queen.
Well, shit. We all knew Roswaal is sketchy as hell, but this sounds like everything terrible that’s happened in Re:Zero so far has been his doing. Did he really get the Witch Cult to attack his own mansion? How did he know Subaru, a peasant with no combat experience, would save them? Does he know about Return by Death? It’s hard to even wrap your head around all of it. I mean, hell, even Roswaal explaining his whole evil plan like a freaking Bond villain could also be part of the plan! What a manipulative bastard.
Subaru needs more help than he’s getting here, so he decides to go back to the mansion and ask Frederica for some answers. Ram gives him cryptic advice about Beatrice, while Garfiel wonders if taking the trial and reopening her old wounds is what Emilia really wants. (That’s pretty insightful for a guy who’s motto seems to be “punch first, ask questions later”.) But when Subaru gets back to the mansion, he finds it mysteriously empty, except for…
DAMN! The bowel hunter Elsa is back, after mysteriously disappearing after her battle with Reinhard way back at the beginning of Season 1. I had always wondered what happened with her, but it weirdly feels like she never left. Her sadistic grin as she slices Subaru’s stomach open is a classic Re:Zero moment, and I can’t wait to see more of her next time. Why do they have to end every episode right before the best part?!