My thoughts on the eleventh episode of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV) 2nd Season.
It’s episodes like these that heavily feature Gilgamesh that really hammer home why I think he is such a great antagonist. He has absolutely immense power and can back up what he says which is all interesting in its own way however his constant levity even when confronting things such as the Grail is so much fun to watch – almost casually summoning Ea. To bend to Shirou’s level and take him seriously would mean defeat in Gilgamesh’s eyes and so he plays with him as the Grail pours fourth its manifested mana into Fuyuki – things like this make him so enjoyable while very obviously still painting him as a legitimate threat in every right.
Goldie aside, I thought Assassin was surprisingly compelling and the end of the episode (his whole character really) was definitely delivered in a somber tone as he faded away. I’ve always liked the complications that some servants have like Assassin and the Assassin of the 4th war who are somewhat abstract in their manifestation or in their depiction because it adds a layer of intrigue to them. On the topic of heroic spirits, after all of this talk of Counter Guardians I can only assume that the state of things has not progressed to the dire point at which they would be summoned.
Rin didn’t get up to much this episode and so I’m curious if she will have any important scenes in the upcoming episode whereas Shirou, who similarly didn’t accomplish much outside of honing his projection ability a bit, will most definitely get important scenes next episode. I didn’t expect the whole ‘hero of justice’ trait to rear its head again however Gilgamesh prodded at it when he mentioned that they could stop the Grail by killing Shinji.
We have received good closure concerning Shirou and his ideals however this reminder didn’t annoy me because of two reasons – the first being that it’s just like Gilgamesh to throw low blows like that and I felt the dialogue came naturally to him. The second reason is simply because it served as a tie in back to Archer’s final words of ‘you have to defeat him’. Gilgamesh, in resurecting previous sentiments, sort of establishes himself as a more villainous character (at least in Shirou’s eyes) by poking fun at both the concept and the impossibility of the ideals. I think it was done well – short and simple and almost a throw away line while avoiding feeling hamfisted and over-simplifying a great antagonist.