The 35th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes focuses on largely on history, both personal and on a grand scale. As Yang expresses his love of the topic, characters on Phezzan, Odin and Heinessen have to deal with it in a much more involved way. Plus, the spectre of Kircheis looms large.
The episode begins with Mittermeyer encounter with Imperial ships fleeing Iserlohn. Muller tells him of Kempf’s death, and Mittermeyer tells him to report to Reinhard and that he will avenge Kempf. Mittermeyer tells his men that he wants to counterattack the ships that chased Muller’s group before ultimately retreating themselves as a larger battle would be pointless.
Guen Van Hugh and Sandor Alarcon’s fleets are the ones chasing after Muller, and they instruct their men to continue to chase and overcome Yang’s softness. The two fleets are quickly surprised by attacks from Mittermeyer and Reuenthal and are obliterated almost instantly. Yang’s fleet quickly arrives, and while Mittermeyer expresses a desire to fight, he knows he cannot. He sums up the battle by saying that although the Empire had moved a fortress thousands of light years, only Yang has made a name for himself because of it. The two agree that there will be another day where they can fight Yang.
Observing the battle was Yang and Julian. Yang comments on the great job Mittermeyer and Reuenthal did in simply accomplishing their objective and moving on without getting caught up. He thinks about the great talent Reinhard has serving him, but still wonders how things would have progressed if Kircheis were still alive.
As Julian leaves to make Yang some tea, Merkatz walks over to Yang to talk about the young soldier. He says that Julian played a pivotal role in the battle. Yang responds by telling Merkatz that he has never wanted Julian to become a soldier and wishes he could order him to quit. Merkatz bluntly says that would go against the spirit of democracy.
In Phezzan, Kesselink reports on the state of the Alliances finances to Adrian Rubinsky. They are essentially spending themselves into bankruptcy on maintaining their military force. In time, Phezzan would be able to take control when the money eventually ran out. When they did this, they would be able to express their intent to the Empire and come to control the universe. The conversation then turns to Schaft, whose plan gloriously failed at Iserlohn. Rubinsky leaves it up to Kesselink who says they have no use for him. He will arrange for a document to be delivered to the Empire’s justice department so they can take care of Schaft.
As Kesselink leaves, Rubinsky tells him that he has tomorrow off because it is the anniversary of his mother’s death. Here we find out that Rubinsky is Kesselink’s father, who had abandoned Kesselink’s mother for his own sake. Rubinsky says he has some regrets and Kesselink says he understands and would have made the same choice in his position. Kesselink begins to question how he got appointed to such an important post if it wasn’t nepotism, which he would hate to be the case. Rubinsky, though, says that it is because he sees a bit himself and that all he needs to succeed him is real skill and charisma, which take time to develop.
On a related note on Odin, Reinhard expresses his hatred of blood lineage dynasties to Hilde over a meal. Hilde then asks if that means he will not pass his power over to his children, and he simply says the one who will take it from him will have an equal or greater amount of talent than himself. He welcomes attempts to take power from him from stabbing him in the back. He says the thought of what would happen if they fail should be enough to make them think about it.
Oberstein interrupts their conversation to bring Reinhard the bad news from Iserlohn. He’s told that Geiersberg was destroyed, Kempf died along with 90% of the force he brought with him with the rest commanded by Muller. Reinhard smashes a glass in frustration and retreats to his office. He thinks of what Kircheis would say in this situation. He comes to the conclusion that he needs to stop risking the lives of men like Muller in pointless battles.
Later, a wounded Muller expresses deep regrets for the battle turning out the way it did and wanting to take full responsibility for it. Reinhard tells him to worry about winning the next battle to make up for it, and to recover from his injuries before returning to active duty. Muller collapses as Reinhard orders Kempf to be promoted posthumously to High Admiral.
Attention then turns to Schaft who is asked to explain what happened. Schaft says his plan was perfect and that its failure lies solely on those who were picked to command the mission. Reinhard says he didn’t ask for who he thought was at fault, and then orders Schaft to be arrested on the charges of corruption, embezzlement , tax evasion, breach of trust and betraying military secrets. As Schaft is taken away, Reinhard orders Kesler to increase surveillance on the Phezzan Ambassador’s Office, and he doesn’t care if they notice the increased presence because it might put them off.
Reinhard then turns to Mecklinger and says he has something for him to do. That being the task of informing Kempf’s family of his death. As his wife cries, his two children vow to get revenge against Yang.
Back at the Prime Minister’s mansion, Oberstein confronts Hilde and asks if she had anything to do with the lenient treatment of Muller. She denies saying anything to Reinhard and says it was his decision alone. That said, she doubts that anything she says would have an effect on Reinhard anyway. She says that the only person Reinhard listens to is Kircheis. Oberstein expresses surprise at Hilde’s romantic ideals before excusing himself.
As he walks away, Hilde begins to think that Oberstein sees Reinhard as nothing more than a tool to express Oberstein’s Machiavellian ideals, which could end up destroying any idealism left in Reinhard. He could end up turning into another Rudolf if that were to happen. She vows to continue to fight to keep Reinhard on the right path. She wants to find a way to meet Annerose and thinks what could have been if Kircheis were still alive.
Mittermeyer and Reuenthal talk again over some drinks in private. Mittermeyer says Reinhard’s treatment of Kempf’s funeral and Muller shows he has a level of mercy. Reuenthal disagrees and says Kempf was of no further use and that he treated all of his subordinates as disposable tools apart from Kircheis. Mittermeyer says that Reinhard mourned Kempf’s death, but Reuenthal is quick to respond by asking if he gives anything of substance to the living. Mittermeyer goes back to Reuenthal’s desire to get Reinhard back to normal shortly after Kircheis’ death, and Reuenthal says he meant what he said back then. However, he thinks he may come to regret that choice in time. Mittermeyer says he will forget what Reuenthal said and warns him to watch what he says. If Oberstein hears talk like that, he could very well be purged in an instant.
As Mittermeyer leaves, he says that they will get their reward if the move as the arms and legs of Reinhard’s power. Reuenthal stares into a mirror and wonder if he could start over if he could have been the one to seize the universe, while Mittermeyer beings to think if the change in power would be so filled with anxiety if Kircheis were alive. Mittermeyer turns to the sky and wonders what Yang must be doing at this instant. Could he be dancing with a beautiful woman at a victory party perhaps?
Back at Iserlohn, Julian prepares some food for a sick Yang. As Yang argues over the contents of the meal, they remember what Julian was like when he first met Yang. Yang says there hasn’t been a good influence on Julian around and begins to reel off names of people who have influence him. Cazellnu, Schenkopp, Attenborough and Poplan are all dismissed by Julian, but he says it is someone a lot closer. Yang then rants about how he has been forced to work against his will with no woman in his life before Julian gives him a concoction to his liking.
Then, Julian says he wants to formally enlist as a soldier. Yang asks if that is really what he wants. Julian says he wants to be a good soldier who follows democratic ideals and does not oppress the people. Yang asks what he would do if he said know, which Julian cannot answer, leading Yang to say that Julian never considered that possibility. However, Yang can’t bring himself to turn down his request.
He insists on telling Julian before he goes that the military is a tool for violence, of which there are two types, violence of oppression and violence as a means of liberation. The national military evolved into the former. The two then talk about history and how it can be a powerful weapon against those in power even if they are no longer living. If also provides a record of humanity’s advancement to the present. Only humans are capable of leaving history behind to their descendants and that is what made Yang interested in studying it. Julian points out that if people were not making history, then historians would have nothing to study.
Elsewhere, Pletweri and Walter Islands talk about Yang’s position in the scheme of things. The government wants him to retire, but that could lead him into politics where his popularity would threaten their position. Pletweri says they could simply pass a law that would not allow him to seek office. Overhearing the conversation is Boris Konev who bemoans the state of affairs that allows military kickbacks and destroying a hero to made in as public a place as a bar.
On Odin, Künmel thinks he has to make a mark on history before he dies and he doesn’t have much time left. At the same time, Schumacher and Lansberg prepare to leave a spaceport.
Thoughts: There is every chance I could have been in the hospital if I had been playing the “If Kircheis were still alive” Drinking Game™…I had to stop to do a little research after Kesselink said that the Alliance was spending 30% of GNP on its military, at the moment US military spending is a little under 5% of GNP and the only countries that probably spend anywhere over 10% are located in the Middle East…Where last week was consistently bad with character designs, this week is inconsistent even in single scenes. That’s the early 90s look I guess.