My thoughts on the eighth episode of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV) 2nd Season.
You know things are getting serious when they skip the OP.
While I am not very familiar with the route in the VN, I have to imagine that a lot of what transpires (at the very least visually) in this episode was up to interpretation – in which case, I think the each scene was fantastic in its execution of a very interesting vision. Despite the fact that the next episode is called ‘Answer’ I think we’ve reached the culmination of things in regards to ideals by this point through Shirou’s and Archer’s dialogue. Despite the fact that the ideal itself is obviously flawed and is in no way attainable does not mean that it should be abandoned because in the pursuit of the ideal itself is beautiful and in Shirou’s reinforced opinion – a proper way to lead ones life.
There were two things that caught me a little off guard this week though I have no actual qualms about them. The first was Lancer’s heroic insistence to protect Rin – even from Kotomine. I guess I don’t fully understand the amount of agency a heroic spirit has but for some reason, lacking the full knowledge and implications of the situation, I felt surprised when Lancer went even so far as to kill his own master to protect someone who he has nearly no affiliation with. Beyond that – the phrase “kill yourself” usually carries a bit more definiteness than “try to kill yourself” or some such variation. I suppose I’m confused as to how Lancer, even if his intent in killing himself was true, could fail to do so and then ultimately ignore the command seal.
The second thing I didn’t entirely understand was the reveal of Avalon within Shirou. I thought it was a great reveal and the subsequent scenes were awesome however the way the episode treated the reveal as ‘something that Archer forgot’ felt a bit weird amongst the otherwise philosophical and moral dialogue being exchanged. Frankly I felt that the ‘thing’ that Archer had forgotten was the joy of following the impossible dream of saving everybody – that without seeing the beauty of the ideal it is purely hell and unattainable. However when coupled with the unveiling of Avalon I was a bit thrown as to what the dialogue was referring to – the scabbard or the ideal? I think the end product is amazing none the less but as a possible representative of the layman, I have to wonder if things could have been executed just a minuscule fraction better in this regard.