The 61st episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes focuses on the struggle that Yang’s continuing existence brings for the Alliance. The Rosenritter get involved with dangerous consequences for Lebello and the long-term future of the Alliance government. The situation becomes increasingly desperate as Yang is repeatedly asked to sacrifice his life for the survival of the nation.
The episode begins in Heinessenpolis. While eating a typical jail dinner in his holding cell at the Central Public Prosecutor’s Office, Yang had embarrassingly come to realize that he had miscalculated how quickly the situation would deteriorate. His meal is interrupted when Lebello comes to have an important conversation with him.
Lebello starts by telling Yang what he has been accused of and he asks him if he denies the charges. Yang responds by asking if he were to deny them would it make any difference. Lebello understands the point but says that the survival of a nation is different that questioning a person’s integrity. Yang then begins to change the topic into integrity by praising Lebello’s honesty which has been backed by action, but he then asks if it is right for a nation to sacrifice the rights of its citizens. Lebello says it is wrong, but then redirects the conversation into one of the human quality of self-sacrifice. Yang quickly realizes that he is being asked to be a sacrifice for the nation as Lebello talks about how history will be look on Yang. Yang states that he has never fought for the admiration of others, and says that asking others to sacrifice themselves is dishonorable and history will look poorly upon Lebello, who then says he is willing to live with that. Lebello pleads with Yang and says that he is the only one who can save them. Yang pauses then asks what he has to do. As Lebello begins eulogizing Yang, Yang stops paying attention and realizes that he has to buy time since Frederica would not stand for this.
It is comforting to know that Yang would zone out the Prime Minister simply because he is boring and saying things that Yang doesn’t want to hear. Yang also repeatedly tries to destroy his built up image in the military, not only because he doesn’t see himself as a war hero, but it also increases his chances of survival.
Meanwhile, underneath the ruins of the Strategic Planning Centre, a new headquarters has been constructed. Rockwell, the commander, awaits word on the result of the mission to capture Attenborough and Schenkopp. Javaf tells him it failed, but Rockwell can’t understand how they couldn’t catch 2 men. Javaf tells Rockwell that it wasn’t just 2 men, but the Rosenritter got involved resulting in the highway being strewn with bodies. Javaf says that despite not having access to supplies since Vermillion, they still have combat strength equivalent to a division. As emergency services arrive, Javaf asks Rockwell if they can put the flames out, which Rockwell angrily states is a question for the government.
First mention of fire here is literal, but Rockwell figuratively redirects it at the government.
The Rosenritter, meanwhile, were always unlikely to be allowed to continue to exist as they would likely become a source of revenge because of their Imperial expatriate heritage. This made it easy for them to choose this direction to act, as Attenborough and Schenkopp rejoin them. Bagdashu asks Attenborough if there is anything he needs to go back for, but Attenborough says he has the 1 item that matters, his diary that he will use to write his memoirs and live off the royalties. Bagdashu sees the sense in that and says it is more reliable than relying on a pension that could disappear. On that note, Attenborough says he pities Yang who should be living off his pension with his new wife, who happens to be there. Schenkopp jokes that gardens were meant to be destroyed by bandits and something beautiful should not be possessed by one man alone, but Frederica says that she prefers being possessed. She is carrying a briefcase as well containing Yang’s military uniform, which she says fits him more than any formal attire, which gets Attenborough to wonder aloud if he should quit his bachelor life. First though, he must take part in a mission.
Later, Rockwell informs Lebello that the Rosenritter are in revolt. Lebello is outraged and tells Rockwell to put them down, but Rockwell says that if this spreads it could be cause for the Empire to intervene. Lebello cuts him off and then orders a blackout of the media. He then calls Oliveira to tell him his plan backfired, but Oliveira angrily fires back saying he didn’t force him to adopt it. Oliveira says that this is all the fault of Lebello’s decision making and asks for protection before Lebello cuts him off. Lebello then begins to wonder if his stock is sinking or if it is the Alliance government itself with him in command. His thoughts are interrupted when his subordinate insists they have to meet Lennenkampt.
Rockwell goes to the government to put out the fire, but Lebello tells Rockwell to do it himself. Oliveira’s conversation is just one of many that illustrates that everything that is happening stems from the bad decision to confine Yang.
Minutes later, Lebello’s convoy is intercepted by the Rosenritter who take out the other vehicles and force Lebello’s car to stop. Lebello steps out and is greeted by Schenkopp, who asks if he can really say he has been fair to Yang. Lebello says that a nation’s survival cannot be equated to the rights of one person, but Schenkopp responds by saying that only a nation that protects the rights of all individuals can be called a democracy. Lebello says he knows what he is doing is wrong, but it is for the survival of the nation. Schenkopp though disagrees and says it is typical of politicians who always seem to send up sacrificing others. The sacrifices may seem painful, but any tears shed are hypocritical. Lebello then calmly asks what Schenkopp plans to do next. Schenkopp says he knows exactly what to do, and states that he believes Yang is not fitted to play the role of tragic hero. He says that he is not above using violence since that is exactly what is required right now. Lebello is then taken hostage by the Rosenritter.
The fire has spread and now the only person with authority in government can’t put it out.
Later, Bagdashu hacks into the underground headquarters to make a call to Rockwell. Schenkopp appears on Rockwell’s monitor, and he begins making demands. He says that Lebello may have to wait out their demands in heaven or they may being fighting the Alliance without regard to the safety of civilians. Rockwell orders them not to do so before Schenkopp tells them that they want Yang delivered to them unharmed. Rockwell says he cannot make that call, so Schenkopp tells him to find someone who can quickly before they begin asking the Imperial consulate directly. Rockwell tells them he will see what he can do and says they should only negotiate with the Alliance government and military.
Unable to trace the line, Rockwell begins to express his distrust of Imperial expatriates like Merkatz and Schenkopp, while blasting Yang for depending on them. He quickly realizes that if Yang is handed over it may mean the beginning of a military campaign against the Empire. He thinks that Yang just has to be killed, and the Rosenritter can be suppressed with just the Alliance forces. As for Lebello, he thinks he can be sacrificed since his goal is to prevent the Empire from intervening. Back in their tank, Bagdashu tells Schenkopp and Attenborough that their conversation was also transmitted over Imperial channels.
With the government no longer an option, Rockwell sees himself as the only one who can put out the fire.
At an opera house, Lennenkampt frustratingly asks where Lebello is and if it reflects the attitude of the Alliance toward the Imperial military. His entertainment is short-lived as Saam comes in and informs him that Lebello was kidnapped by Yang’s subordinates. He orders the grenadiers to be ready to move in as he heads back to the hotel.
There, Sahnnon pleads for Lennenkampt not to intervene, but Lennenkampt says it is clear that the Alliance cannot handle the security situation. Sahnnon says that the Alliance really does have the situation under control and that if it gets out of hand the Alliance would invite the Empire to assist them, but Lennenkampt wants to talk personally to Lebello.
Looking outside from his cell, Yang thinks that Schenkopp is doing an excellent job fanning the flames. Rockwell then walks in and says it is time, which Yang responds by asking if it is time for dinner. Rockwell pulls out a gun and Yang looks away. Rockwell asks if Yang has any last requests, and Yang jokingly says that he always wanted to taste a white wine from a vintage 70 years in the future before he died. Rockwell refuses it since it is impossible, so Yang asks why he has to die. Rockwell says it is because Yang has become the Achilles’ heel of the Alliance and that his death would be fitting of a hero. Yang says the Achilles’ heel is an important part of the body, and Rockwell tells him to shut up and accept his death like a man before he fires. However, Yang’s chair collapsed and he dodged the shot. Rockwell simply shakes his head and says it was unsporting of Yang and unfitting of someone called “Miracle Yang.” He prepares to fire again and as Yang closed his eyes Rockwell is shot in the head from behind by Frederica. She runs over and jumps onto Yang, who remembers when she saved him when he was choking on a sandwich. He comforts her until Schenkopp walks in. Yang thanks Schenkopp for the overtime he has put in, but Schenkopp says he’s come to save him because it keeps his life interesting. Linier Blumehart hands Yang a weapon and says that escaping will not be as easy as it was getting in, since Schenkopp points out they were not expecting them to search for Yang while they were in the middle of hostage negotiating. Yang asks about the hostage, but Schenkopp dismisses it and continues on explaining how the Rosenritter got there just in time.
Then the fire takes out Rockwell and it continues spreading.
As Schenkopp continues explaining, a group of guards approaches, and Blumeheart gets a megaphone out and asks the guards if they want to continue fighting if they know they are up against the Rosenritter. The guards react to the information by fleeing and Yang gets away safely with the rest of the Rosenritter.
Thoughts: I thought this episode was pretty well written in that a literal example of a fire can suddenly be used as a way to explain the rest of the events of this episode. The next step will be getting Yang to rejoin Merkatz’s fleet, but that could still be a few episodes away.