This week’s episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes takes place within a single day of typical court life in the Galactic Empire. At least it wasn’t real time or I really would never really be able to finish a summary on it. The episode takes a look at the darker side of court life under a Kaiser who reluctantly holds his position.
The episode begins with a look back at how the current Kaiser, Friedrich IV came to rule over the Galactic Empire. When he was younger, Friedrich tended to party and get into all sorts of problems. He was nearly disowned by his father and the two older brothers who were in line for the throne. His oldest brother, though, was executed after plotting to kill his father Otofried V. However, it was all set up by Clementz, the 2nd son, who was then killed trying to flee to Alliance territory.
So after Otofried’s death, Friedrich became Kaiser by default. Now, 34 years later, he is generally viewed as a mediocre ruler who is generally guided by advisors who have conflicts of interest, the closest one being Marquis Lichtenlade, the Secretary of State.
The day begins for the Kaiser by choosing to go a visit requested by his son-in-law Prince Braunschweig. Lichtenlade says it might be inconsiderate to his other son-in-law, Marquis Littenheim, but Friedrich just wants to do the easier thing and go.
At Braunschweig’s home, Marquis Wilhelm von Klopstock offers a painting of Kaiser Rudolf in the hope that the Prince can put in a good word so his family can return to court. Thirty years earlier, Klopstock had sided with Clementz, and that had led to his exile. Braunschweig would let him attend the gala, but he still holds the events of three decades earlier against him. Klopstock, though, would try to get the last laugh.
Meanwhile, Reinhard is being pressed to attend the gala by Kircheis, who points out that his opinion amongst nobles might be lowered even further if he does not attend. Eventually, Kircheis convinces him by saying the Kaiser will be there, and that he would accompany Reinhard.
The two arrive at the gala, and Reinhard bumps into Klopstock as he is getting out of his car. Reinhard makes nothing of it, but Kircheis is suspicious after talking to the Baroness Westfalen. She knew that Klopstock had been exiled, and found it curious that he would be at such an event.
Reinhard then goes inside, though desperate to find an opportunity to leave, while Kircheis works on something outside. Reinhard takes an opportunity to talk to one of Braunschweig’s servants, Flegel, about the painting that Klopstock had given him. He cynically wonders aloud how long it will be before Braunschweig has to give up the painting in the same way he acquired it.
Klopstock then leaves, leaving behind his cane which is actually a bomb set to go off at 7pm. Meanwhile, word comes through that the Kaiser will not be attending because of illness (no doubt caused by having to make a decision of some substance and turning to drink), and Reinhard notices a change in mood at the party.
Kircheis sees Klopstock leaving, sans cane, and realizes something is not right. He tries to get Reinhard, but is stopped by guards at the door. Another Braunschweig aide, Colonel Ansbach, notices the commotion and goes to get Reinhard.
Klopstock returns to his house with his large statue of Kaiser Rudolf in front. He confesses to plotting against the Imperial family because the “bloodline is tainted.” Basically, he’s nothing more than a reactionary.
Back at the party, Reinhard escapes the bomb’s destruction by sheer luck. Baroness Westfalen and Prince Braunschweig also escape uninjured. The bomb killed a bunch of nobles, but none of the intended targets. Reinhard and the Baroness are able to laugh at their own luck, and the Prince’s bad luck at watching the painting burn right in front of him.
Klopstock receives word of his failure, and realizes that everything he’s worked for is over. With the authorities closing in, he sets his house on fire and takes his own life.
Other Thoughts: For the first time, there’s a suggestion that Kircheis actually has a life outside of serving Reinhard…Friedrich in a way reminds me of George W. Bush, I don’t know why exactly…Surely, it’s a minor miracle the Empire has lasted as long as it has. The number of assassination attempts should really tell them that their society is not functioning properly…After the Kastrop incident and the Klopstock incident, how many more of these can there be?