The 2nd season of Legend of the Galactic Episode wraps up with a meeting between Yang and Reinhard. The episode then moves on to administrative matters and truly setting the stage for the next season in the final minutes. Really a fitting way to end a season that had been action heavy in the latter half.
The episode begins with a narration describing the historical debates regarding Vermillion. Generally the opinion was that while the Alliance won the the tactical aspects of the battle, the overall strategy and outside factors gave the Empire an edge. However, neither side viewed themselves as winners. The inferiority complex of each side could be a sign of things to come.
As Yang, Frederica, Schenkopp, Cazellnu and Julian all wait surrounded by 40,000 enemy ships, there is relief that they sent Merkatz off when they did. Cazellnu says they got 60 ships and nearly 12,000 men away, though they are officially listed as dead. However, there are only a small number of battle ready ships and if the Empire decided to restart the battle they would be wiped out. As Yang notices a different taste to his tea being surrounded by so many enemy ships, Schenkopp asks what they do next.
Yang takes a shuttle to the Brünhild, and his appearance and demeanor disappoint the Imperial officers waiting for him, something which Yang himself is all too aware of. Müller greets Yang and says he wishes Yang was born on the other side of the galaxy so he could have studied his tactics, but that will never happen now. Yang responds by saying that he wishes Müller had been born in the Alliance so he could be taking a nap. Muller then leads Yang to Reinhard’s quarters and the two meet.
Reinhard welcomes Yang by saying that his wish to meet him has finally come true before the two sit down. After Emil brings in drinks, Reinhard begins the conversation in full bringing up the aftermath of Astate. Yang remembers receiving Reinhard’s message wishing him well until they met again, though Reinhard reminds him that he did not respond. After Yang apologizes, Reinhard says he did not want that from him.
Then, Reinhard requests that Yang join him as an Imperial Fleet Admiral. Yang is honored, but quickly refuses the offer because he does not think he can serve Reinhard. Reinhard takes this as questioning his style of leadership, but Yang says it is something different. If he had been born in the Empire he would have volunteered to serve without question. He uses an analogy with drinking water and location to say that he was socialized with a different set of values, but Reinhard believes that those do not suit Yang. He asks Yang if he thinks his accomplishments on the battlefield deserved more recognition than the persecution he received from the government, but Yang says he’s been well rewarded and likes the values the Alliance represented.
Reinhard then begins to question Yang’s loyalty to democracy and democracy itself. He says the Galactic Republic gave birth to Rudolf and the Empire, and the one who delivered the Alliance to him was someone chosen willingly by the people of the Alliance. Yang interrupts him to say that Reinhard would say fire is worthless because people use it for evil through arson. Reinhard accepts that point before arguing that a dictatorship is efficient and delivers strong leadership, but could also be devalued because tyrants exists. Yang counters this by saying that in a democracy, the right to violate the rights of the people belongs to the people. Simply put, the acts of Rudolf or Job Trunicht are the responsibility of the people and no one else. In a dictatorship, the failures of the government can be pushed onto one man.
The accomplishments of 100 wise rulers pale in comparison to democracy. Yang adds that a ruler like Reinhard is exceedingly rare, and everything he does good and bad will stand out. Reinhard cannot help but agree on principle with Yang’s points though they seem radical to him, and he asks if Yang is trying to convince him to change his point of view. Yang says he is just offering a counterpoint to him and that an a counterpoint to all ideologies must exist. Reinhard asks if that means no ideology is supreme or stands alone according to Yang, but the latter hesitates to call it a conviction. There may be an absolute truth out there, but neither Yang or Reinhard could reach it.
Reinhard says that he is not looking for absolute truth, rather the power to accomplish his dreams, even if it is limited to just not wanting to take orders from those he despises. Reinhard asks if Yang has anyone he despises, and he responds by saying he hates those who hide in safety and glorify war while sending people to die in battle. He says he finds it hard to share a country with those kinds of people. Yang says that Reinhard is different in that he is on the front lines, which is something he finds admirable. Reinhard says that is probably the only part of him that Yang would approve of.
Reinhard brings up the vows he made with Kircheis. First that they would rule the universe, and second that they would never emulate the noblemen who ruled before, which is why they fought at the front. He says with regret that his friend was the one who had to sacrifice his life for these goals, and he says with confidence that if he were still alive Reinhard would be talking to Yang’s corpse.
Reinhard moves matters along by saying that Yang’s superior, Bucock in this case, has asked to take sole responsibility, but Yang asks that his request should be rejected because it is unfair to put it all on one man. Reinhard responds by saying he isn’t vengeful, though he once was against the nobility, but arresting the head of the military was inevitable. Any more lives lost would be meaningless. Finally, Reinhard asks what Yang would do if he was granted his freedom and he quickly responds by saying he would retire. After Yang leaves, he can’t help but think of Reinhard’s words about democracy.
This is probably the defining conversation in the entire series. While the fights between the two could only be described as legendary, their origins really lie in the fundamental debate of democracy versus dictatorship. There’s no decisive winner in this conversation, just as there was no decisive winner in the battles between the two. With no weapons involved they are able to disagree and move on with no one hurt, which says a lot really.
Reinhard arrives on Heinessen on a rainy day to the joy of the masses of soldiers who have arrived to celebrate the end of the war. He and Oberstein head to the High Council building where Reuenthal, Mittermeyer and Hilde brief him. Reinhard asks what has happened to the Court in Exile, and he is informed that Remscheidt committed suicide and everyone else has been arrested except for Merkatz. Oberstein says he was killed at Vermillion, though Reuenthal is doubtful. Mittermeyer says the real question is where the Kaiser is, and Lansberg seems to have gotten away with him. Reinhard says to just let him go, since the only way the Goldenbaum Dynasty is returning is in people’s dreams. Oberstein says that they should still search for him since it could lead to trouble in the future, and Reinhard says jurisdiction should be left up to the team of administrative experts Oberstein will put together.
At Yang’s apartment, Julian is cleaning up as Yang drinks some tea because Julian says it’s best that they keep things clean even if they are moving out soon. Mashengo carries a box downstairs and Yang asks why he is there. Julian says that Yang’s orders to Mashengo to protect Julian still apply since he hasn’t given him new orders since he was dispatched to Phezzan. That will continue on with Julian’s expedition to Earth.
Back on at the Council building, Oberstein tells Reinhard that the general consensus is that they should not place the Alliance under direct Imperial rule yet. Oberstein says he agrees with the policy and a facade of autonomy should be put up as they disarm the people. In addition, they should not assist the Alliance economically, and with reduced military spending the economy should recover. Reinhard goes along with this rather nonchalantly.
I found this scene revealing in that Reinhard is so uncomfortable with rule that he is willing to just do what Oberstein says because he seems to have a clue what to do in administration. There’s no one left to fight, so he is going to have to get used to this.
Yang and Frederica look over some houses which would be ideal for their married life when Cazellnu calls them. Yang says they would be kicked out of their quarters as soon as his retirement was received, so they have to look. Cazellnu says that retirements of Yang, Schenkopp, Attenborough and Bucock had been approvedm while everyone else’s had been rejected. Cazellnu then runs through the organizational changes, Admiral Rockwell is the head of the Armed Forces, Cazellnu himself would be in charge of logistics while the fleet would be led by Trung. Cazellnu says that only the bare bones of the space fleet remains, before going on to stress the importance of Sherwood. He signs off by saying the treaty would be signed tomorrow.
The signing did happen the next day. Trunicht signed a treaty that was essentially a treaty of surrender with Oberstein representing the Alliance. Afterward, Trunicht went on television to take responsibility for defeat and resigned. After the terms of the treaty came out, there were riots against Trunicht. Huang Louis and Joan Lebello react to the treaty and note for the first time they are referred to as the Free Planets Alliance by the Empire. Louis asks Lebello who would want to lead the rebels. Since Trunicht and Islands are out of the equation, there is no one available to lead which would mean the Empire could appoint a consul to intervene. Louis says that condition is like a noose around the country’s autonomy and Lebello vows to fight on.
Oberstein again offers advice to Reinhard about administering the Alliance. He says Steinmetz should be appointed the commander of a fleet stationed at Urvasi. The question then becomes who should serve as consul. Reinhard says it should be someone capable at the job while unafraid to use force, so he suggests Reuenthal. Oberstein says that both he and Mittermeyer are needed at home, so Reinhard says it should be Lennenkampt. Oberstein says that he would be too linear in thinking and he also lost to Yang, so he would show little leniency toward the Alliance. Reinhard says that if Lennenkampt fails it would be the fault of the people of the Alliance, so they would get punished.
Again, Reinhard seems to defer to Oberstein in questions of administration. Oberstein knows this, though his argument against Lennenkampt seems to strike a chord in Reinhard. It is as though he wants the people of the Alliance to fight back so he can have someone to go against.
After he leaves, Oberstein is questioned as to why he quickly turned down Reuenthal. Oberstein says it would be like letting a wild animal loose. So he should be kept closely monitored or else he would be a danger.
Hilde informs Reinhard that Trunicht requests an audience with him. Reinhard is outraged at the suggestion and that he would throw him into the middle of the people he sold out if he had a chance, but Hilde stands strong and says that the Empire must live up to its promises. Reinhard asks what Trunicht wants, and it is protection for his life and his property as well as becoming a citizen of the Empire. Reinhard is amused that Trunicht can no longer stand living near his own people, but says he can have what he wants and therefore does not have to see him. As Hilde walks away, Reinhard says that he has a small heart and that he can’t bring himself to thank her for saving him, but he will do so eventually. She is pleased, but says that he should properly reward Mittermeyer and Reuenthal for their work.
Later, Boris Konev makes a scene in front of Yang’s house before he is finally let in by Yang. There is no time for the two to catch up as Yang can only thank Konev for assisting Julian before asking him to take Julian to Earth.
On Earth, the bishop De Villier updates the Grand Bishop on the situation. Reinhard has conquered the Alliance, Lennenkampt has been appointed to administer the Alliance and Trunicht has gone to the Empire with Reinhard. The Grand Bishop is pleased that they have a card to play in the Alliance, but De Villier says they also have a man on the inside who is deathly ill, but just has to live six months to serve his purpose. Phezzan is also revealed to be unstable, and though they have contacted Rubinsky he is very likely to act against them at the earliest chance. Degsby is also confirmed dead, but they do not know if he leaked any critical information before he died.
The episode ends with Reinhard’s return to Odin. He quickly gets the Kaiserin’s regent to sign off on abdicating the throne and 2 days later is appointed Kaiser. The two people he wanted most to see the ceremony, Kircheis and Annerose, were not there. Thus, began the Lohengramm Dynasty.
Thoughts: The second season ends and the major plot points for the third season are Merkatz’s band of merry men, Julian’s trip to Earth and whatever plots the Earth Cult can come up with…Now some opinions of the second season in general. First, this was probably about as well as you could make a story arc revolving around a rivalry between two men. Second, it would have been nice if there weren’t so many Jesus Minci moments, or exposition dumps. Third, at the beginning of this season I really didn’t expect the war to be over, so how does the rest of the series revolve around an “exit strategy.” Finally, Yang’s potentially decreasing influence on events should make the plot a bit more interesting.