The eighth episode focuses on three main issues, Reinhard’s plans for his ascent to power, the Empire’s reaction to defeat at Iserlohn and its ramifications and the history of the Empire itself.
The episode begins with a brief history of the Empire focusing mainly on its founder Rudolf von Goldenbaum. He rose to power from relatively humble beginnings to declare the beginning of the Empire. However, his iron-fisted rule as Kaiser led to a rebel group breaking away and the creation of the Free Planets Alliance. The two, of course, have been at war ever since.
In the present, Paul von Oberstein returns as the lone survivor of Iserlohn and is expected to face a court martial for desertion. Three Chiefs of Staff of the military also intend to fall on their swords and resign from their posts. Reinhard because of his talents would be an obvious selection for one of these posts much to the chagrin of Secretary of State Lichtenlade.
Reinhard, meanwhile, is struggling with his role as Rear Admiral. He does not have any advisors to him, a point that Kircheis is quick to point out, but fortunately that is a situation that will not last very long.
Oberstein, on his return to the Empire, has requested a meeting with Reinhard alone. After Kircheis reluctantly leaves the room, Oberstein reveals that he wishes for the end of the Goldenbaum dynasty and the creation of a new order which he believes will be led by Reinhard. After a showdown which reveals Kircheis’ unwillingness to execute the unarmed von Oberstein, Reinhard agrees to take the latter on as an adviser for dirty work.
Later, Reinhard has a meeting with the Kaiser who offers him any of the three posts which were vacated earlier. Reinhard surprisingly rejects the offer stating that the three men had nothing to do with the failures at Iserlohn and the blame should only lie with the commanders who were there. The motive here is clearly to give up the chance at those positions in exchange for von Oberstein avoiding a court martial.
After a meeting with Kircheis, Reinhard says that he needs von Oberstein to do his dirty work in a way, and that it is ultimately a part of their long-term goal. This leads into a flashback to the two of them as teenagers. Reinhard saves a young girl from a noble and then the two roll down a hill and talk about the future.
In episode four, they agreed to gain more power through the military for the ultimate goal of freeing Annerose. Now a bit older, Reinhard does not even mention his sister and instead wishes to rise to power in much the same way as Rudolf did when he established the Empire.
The final scene is a conversation between the Kaiser and the Secretary of State. The Kaiser reveals his knowledge of the rumors regarding Reinhard’s desire for power. However, he also thinks that there is a chance that the Empire could come to an end during his reign because he believes that no reason for the Goldenbaum dynasty and that no nation can truly be indestructible.
The cast of characters has seemingly been set in the downfall of the dynasty, but how glorious will the destruction of the state be?
Other Thoughts: I thought it was fantastic that Rudolf declared himself Kaiser in front of a replica of the Arc de Triomphe…Reinhard’s recognition that the Alliance had moved on from a simple rebel group to a recognized nation was interesting…Was the Kaiser’s declaration of the end of the dynasty a veiled opinion of Japan’s rising economic power against the United States at the time? Probably not on second thought.