The 26th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and final episode of the first season, marks the end of the road for one of the main characters. It also marks the final changes to the political scene of the Empire. In addition, the character referred to as “that man” proves himself to be more than just influential.
The episode begins where the last one left off with Ansbach attempting to assassinate Reinhard. Oberstein instinctively protects Reinhard, but Ansbach’s rocket goes well wide of the two of them. Kircheis, then grapples with Ansbach, knocking his weapon away. Unfortunately, Ansbach also has a weapon in the form of a laser fitted onto a ring on his left hand. A first shot hits Kircheis in the chest and the two fall on the ground before Ansbach fires again, hitting his opponent in the neck. The other admirals take control of Ansbach, but Kircheis has been mortally wounded.
Panic spreads as Mittermeyer desperately calls for a doctor. Kircheis, bleeding profusely says that it is already too late. The other admirals agree with Kircheis’ assessment that there is nothing they can do to save him, as Ansbach laughs at a job well done.
Ansbach asks the spirit of Braunschweig for forgiveness for not killing Reinhard, while telling Reinhard’s allies that their leader will join Braunschweig in hell eventually. Ansbach, though is comforted by the fact he can take Reinhard’s other half to the grave with him. He takes a suicide pill before Reuenthal can stop him.
Stunned by the what has transpired, Reinhard walks down to say farewell to his best friend. He remembers his time with Kircheis with each step before finally arriving at his side. Kircheis’ continues to prioritize Reinhard’s state over his own, asking him if he is alright after the assassination attempt. Reinhard attempts to comfort Kircheis by saying he is well because of his efforts in stopping Ansbach. Kircheis then tells Reinhard he will no longer be able to serve under him. Reinhard tries to motivate Kircheis to fight on by telling him that a doctor is coming and his wounds will heal in no time, and afterward they will celebrate their great victory together with Annerose. Kircheis, sensing the end, tells Reinhard to win the universe. Reinhard still wants to believe he can do it with his friend at his side. Kircheis, wants to pass one message along to Annerose, that he kept his promise from long ago. Reinhard, refuses and insists the Kircheis should do it himself, but Kircheis has already uttered his final words.
Kircheis is dead. Reinhard remains solely focused on his friend, while refusing to believe the truth. Only Mittermeyer stating the truth that Kircheis is dead snaps Reinhard out of his state. Reinhard turns on Mittermeyer by saying he is lying, and there is no way that Kircheis could die before he would. He screams for Kircheis to wake up, but it will never happen.
Later, the other admirals have a meeting as Reinhard sits next to the casket now holding Kircheis in the main chamber. Müller is surprised at how fragile Reinhard seemed at the death of Kircheis, but Mittermeyer says he is mistaken. He says that Kircheis was more special than any of the other admirals as he essentially represented half of Reinhard as a person. Mecklinger asks what they can do about the situation, to which Reuenthal that they must make Reinhard recover. He believes their very fate and that of the galaxy will be determined by their ability to make Reinhard recover.
Bittenfeld asks how they can do that. Reuenthal says Oberstein will figure something out, while refusing to actually say his name. There is an opinion that Oberstein caused this situation to begin with, and Mittermeyer is hesitant to ask him for advice, but Reuenthal says they have no other option. Reuenthal says that Oberstein is only in the position he is in because of Reinhard, so he should have some measure of loyalty, but the admirals will be able to take measures against him if he tries anything suspicious. They control the actual military force after all.
Oberstein then arrives to talk to the group. He starts by stating that despite having a long meeting, they have not arrived on anything resembling a plan for what to do now. Mittermeyer is enraged, but Reuenthal holds him back and admits that without a Number 1 or Number 2, they lack someone to mediate. Mecklinger asks if Oberstein has any ideas, which he obviously does.
He starts by saying they should ask a favor of Annerose. Mittermeyer says they considered that, but no one was willing to tell her the bad news about Kircheis. Oberstein says he will take responsibility for that. Oberstein says they should focus on catching the one responsible for killing Kircheis. The admirals are baffled, and Bittenfeld points out that Ansbach was the one responsible. Oberstein says that he was merely the executioner, and there is someone high up who is actually responsible. Kesler interrupts by saying Braunschweig is already dead. Oberstein says he wasn’t the one responsible either. Reuenthal and Mittermeyer demand to know who Oberstein thinks is the real criminal. Oberstein says it is the Imperial Prime Minister, Prince Lichtenlade.
A confused Reuenthal asks if Lichtenlade is trying to eliminate potential rivals for power. Mittermeyer comments that he doesn’t want to fight on the opposite side of Oberstein because it would be impossible to guarantee equal terms. Oberstein says Lichtenlade is forced to eliminate all rivals and he now sees Reinhard and the admirals as threats. Reuenthal asks if this could possibly be a false accusation, which goes unanswered.
Oberstein proposes that the group rush to Odin and arrest Lichtenlade to take the State Seal away from him. By doing this, Reinhard can establish his own right to rule the Empire. Oberstein says that when they do get that kind of power, they can then justify what they did to get it. Mittermeyer and Reuenthal say they see this as a good opportunity to take care of Reinhard’s remaining enemies. The rest of the admirals slowly come to agreement to go ahead with Oberstein’s plan.
Reuenthal and Mittermeyer insist on leading the charge to Odin, and Oberstein says they can do so as the highest ranking admirals. Mecklinger and four other admirals are put in charge of protecting Geiersburg and preventing any leaks of Kircheis’ death. The rest race off to Odin, which is normally a 20-day journey, but likely much less here.
The second half of the episode begins with forces arriving at Odin. Mittermeyer orders a perimeter around the planet and Reuenthal orders individual fleets to take control of the cities, while ignoring orders from the government. Ships begin to land wherever they can on the surface, and the noise wakes up Lichtenlade.
Reuenthal arrives in Lichtenlade’s chamber first to tell him he is under arrest for the attempted assassination of Reinhard. Lichtenlade can hardly believe the charge, but Reuenthal wastes no time in telling him that proof is not always necessary in the Empire. Mittermeyer’s team simultaneously searches for the Imperial Seal. He is asked whether they have the authority to search for it from the Kaiser, but he says that authority belongs only to those with true power.
At the Mariedorf estate, Hilde is not worried about the ships landing in the capital city. She knows they have to be from Reinhard’s fleet because of the sheer numbers. Change is in the air, and while this type of transition is not ideal, it is much better than having the country stagnate.
Back at Geiersburg, Oberstein informs Reinhard that there is a message from Annerose. Reinhard angrily asks if he informed her of Kircheis’ death, and Oberstein calmly says he did so. Reinhard is offended, though Oberstein is quick to point out he would not be able to hide it forever. Oberstein asks if Reinhard is actually afraid of talking to his sister, and if he is not he should speak to her. Reinhard remains angry, but Oberstein tells Reinhard that he has not betrayed him. Reinhard cannot simply pass his work onto Oberstein while torturing himself over something that cannot be undone. He has to confront the future if he is to move on and seize control of the universe. Importantly, he adds that Kircheis will look down in shame from Valhalla should Reinhard prove unable to move past this.
As Reinhard walks away to talk to his sister, Oberstein talks to Kircheis’ body about his own place in the world. Shadows must accompany light, but should light disappear the shadows do as well. Who represents what is pretty obvious by this statement.
So Reinhard has his conversation with his sister. Annerose tells Reinhard that he now has nothing left to lose, but he still believes he has her. She says they have nothing left but each other, and as a result she is moving out of his mansion. She believes she should not be near her brother at all. She is the one tying him to the past because that is all that she has, when Reinhard should be focusing on the future. He accepts her decision and says that he will only see her again when he fulfills his promise to Kircheis to seize the universe. However, he has one final question. He wants to know if Annerose was in love with Kircheis.
Reinhard leaves with renewed energy and a determination to take the universe. He has to do it because of what he has lost. He then talks to Reuenthal and tells him he will be rewarded. Reinhard plans to head to Odin as soon as possible.
Reuenthal tells Reinhard that all of Lichtenlade’s family has been apprehended. Realizing they can’t just kill off the Prime Minister, Reinhard tells him to offer Lichtenlade the option of suicide. He also wants all of the women in the family banished to the frontier while executing all males over the age of 10. Those under 10 are allowed to live because that was the age he entered the academy and until that age they cannot be considered responsible. If they grow up to attack Reinhard, that is fine because he would be seen as an incompetent ruler who should be overthrown. He says he is also prepared for any of the admirals to come after him as well.
Oberstein enters to tell Reinhard they are ready to leave, but he asks Reinhard if he thinks he is doing the right thing with the Lichtenlade family. Reinhard simply says that he has shed lots of blood up to now, and he will probably have to shed more in the future. The Lichtenlade family only represents a small amount of blood spilt.
In Phezzan, Boris Konev expresses his hatred of dogs while also saying he is to become a spy on the Alliance, and Yang specifically. He knew Yang when they were younger, which is why he was selected for the job. He is also disgusted at himself for not rejecting it.
Adrian Rubinsky looks on and says that while getting close to Yang is relatively easy, getting close to Reinhard politically is nearly impossible. He asks for Boltik to leave to take a post as the High Commissioner in Odin and try to get close to Reinhard. Boltik expresses concern over a replacement for him at Phezzan, but Rupert Kessellink walks in to transfer into the position. Kessellink is young, but Rubinsky tells Boltik that he will have to get used to youth in high positions to be able to deal with Reinhard.
Back in the Alliance, Yang reflects on his use as propaganda by Truniht. Truniht has been unaffected by the war and yet, he continues to gain even more power. Yang tells Julian that he has had thoughts about whether democracy is worth it if guys like Truniht can get power. He compares Rudolf to the National Salvation Military Council in that both said that they believed only they could do what was right. Rudolf ended up creating a despotic government out of a duty to humanity itself. Julian asks if Yang thinks Reinhard is the same, but Yang can’t bring himself to answer. Yang believes the civil war in the Empire should be over by now, and Reinhard will likely make a run at Iserlohn.
The episode concludes on Odin. We learn that Reinhard has been made the new Imperial Prime Minister and now effectively has absolute power over the Empire. Kircheis was posthumously promoted to a position on the Imperial Triumvirate, his grave bearing the words “Mein Freund.” Reinhard visits the grave and wonders if his sister has been there, while also reflecting that he now has nothing to lose in his quest to keep his promise. He still has a hole in his heart that must be filled with either a friend or a great foe, and he asks whether Yang will be the one to fill it.
Thoughts: That was a rather powerful and ambitious way to conclude a season, though I am a little disappointed that Kircheis died just as I thought he might last week…It looks like the second season will focus on the conflict between Yang and Reinhard with the political situations seemingly settled for now…I have to say the direction has improved light years from the first few episodes, especially the music which has gone from annoyance to seemingly critical to this entire episode…It was actually rather nice to see Oberstein acknowledge that his fate is tied entirely to Reinhard, while his use of deceit continues to give plausible deniability to the one he serves…Will I ever know what Oberstein said to Annerose how Annerose answered Reinhard’s question about Kircheis?