The 75th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes focuses mainly on Reuenthal’s affairs outside official duty. Lang spends enough time convincing the right person to investigate Reuenthal, which leads to the creation of a report suspecting him of treason. Reuenthal fights the allegations, which revolve largely around Elfriede and something Reuenthal allegedly said. We also get to see how Reinhard and Reuenthal first met, while several characters reveal the low opinion which many hold of Oberstein.
The episode begins with Müller making an unexpected visit to see Reuenthal. After taking a couple sips of his tea, Reuenthal is informed that Reinhard demands to see him at headquarters. We are then informed the situation became serious because the document regarding Reuenthal had not been signed by Oberstein and Lang, but had actually been submitted by Chief of Legal Affairs, Bruckdorf. Reinhard had become familiar with Bruckdorf as a result of his handling of the Benemunde affair, and trusted him not to entrap someone like Reuenthal without reason. Lang had brought Odets’ rumors regarding Reuenthal to the attention of Bruckdorf, and convinced him to at least investigate Reuenthal’s personal life. Bruckdorf disapproved of Reuenthal’s lifestyle, but he participated in the investigation only in an official capacity, which was driven by a desire to have Legal Affairs influence the military.
I wasn’t really expecting the Benemunde affair to come up again, but it shows the importance of seemingly minor incidents early in the series on what is occurring in the present. This is an idea that is visited further later in the episode.
Eventually, he stumbled upon the existence of Elfriede. Lang is quick to point out that she was a relative of Lichtenlade, and by taking her in it showed Reuenthal’s treasonous behavior. Bruckdorf insisted on talking to her before reaching a decision, whereupon he discovered that she was pregnant with Reuenthal’s child. She testified before Bruckdorf that Reuenthal, after giving his blessing reportedly said that for the sake of the child, he would aim higher. Because Reuenthal had not actually broken any laws, Legal Affairs could not do anything, which allowed Lang to wrestle away control of the report. Lang later tells Oberstein that Reuenthal had been detained on Heinessen, which Oberstein warns should not be the result of a personal grudge against Reuenthal.
Mittermeyer shows up for work that morning and is informed that Reuenthal had been detained. He immediately sets off to meet with him, but is stopped by Beyerlein and Büro. The eventually convince him that nothing good will come out of seeing him until he has been cleared of any charges. He calms down a little before lamenting the fact that even though he has such a high rank, he is no better than a commoner because he cannot see his friend. He remembers the order about exiling the Lichtenlade women, but Reinhard never said they could not be moved from the exile spot. Büro reassures him that Reinhard would not punish Reuenthal over a false rumor.
At his interrogation, Reuenthal says it is somewhat an honor to be brought in for an accusation of rebellion against the throne rather than theft or misuse of power. He says he has served Reinhard with utmost loyalty. Then, he accuses Lang of holding a grudge against him because he kicked him out of the meeting for High Admirals. Müller asks Reuenthal if he wants to meet with Reinhard personally to have a chance to vindicate himself. Reuenthal says he doesn’t have to vindicate himself, but to silence those slandering him he wants to see Reinhard.
That afternoon, Reinhard held a hearing for Reuenthal and asked him if he was indeed housing a woman from the Lichtenlade clan. Reuenthal confirms this, which leads Mittermeyer to ask Reinhard to take into account that she actually wanted to kill Reuenthal at first. Mittermeyer then accuses Oberstein and Lang of aiding the enemy with their accusations before Reinhard tells him to sit back down. Reuenthal says it was an error in judgement to have her live with him, but it should not be taken as a sign of rebellion. When Reinhard asks about Reuenthal’s supposed words after finding out Elfriede was pregnant, Reuenthal says they are untrue because he would have had her abort the child because he sees himself to be an unfit parent. Reinhard then asks Reuenthal to remember a pledge of loyalty he made to him.
Five years earlier on a stormy night on Odin, Reuenthal had journeyed to meet Reuenthal and Kircheis. He explained to them that Mittermeyer’s life was in danger because he had been detained by Braunschweig and he needed Reinhard’s help. At the time, Reinhard asked why he should go against the most powerful person in the Empire’s military for the sake of someone he didn’t know. Reuenthal could only offer his and Mittermeyer’s loyalty and devotion to him, along with the admiration of soldiers from common backgrounds. Reinhard said he was pleased to have their support, but he asks why he would do such a thing for Mittermeyer. Reuenthal said Mittermeyer is a pleasant man, and that his loss would affect the vitality of the universe. When asked what he would do if Reinhard refused, Reuenthal said Reinhard will accept. Reinhard said the favor of Braunschweig is more advantageous than two officers, but Reuenthal responded with belief that Reinhard himself didn’t believe that statement. Reinhard then asked Reuenthal about the Goldenbaum Dynasty, which Reuenthal said was decrepit and had to be treated with surgery. With the right steps the whole venture could live on even if the Dynasty died. Reinhard was pleased and decided to fulfill Reuenthal’s request.
Back in the present, Reinhard asks if Reuenthal remembers that night. Reuenthal says he remembers everything and he has never forgotten, even for a day. Reinhard tells Reuenthal that he will make a decision in a few days, but he will be confined to quarters while Müller takes over his duties in the mean time.
I found it pretty interesting that the beginning of the relationship was founded on Reuenthal’s recognition of someone willing to rebel against the established order, while also showing a willingness to do so himself to protect someone he cares about. I still think Elfriede could very much throw him under the bus at any point now.
Bergengrün tells some of the other admirals that he has concerns about the shift in power after the events of the day. He believes the fellowship between Reinhard and Reuenthal will weigh heavily in the former’s decision. Emil von Reckendorf has an idea to resolve this crisis. He wants Oberstein to detain Elfriede and arrange for her to see Reuenthal face-to-face to prove she schemed against him. Berengrün dismisses that idea because he feels Oberstein could get her to testify the way he would want given enough time with her.
Büro asks to meet with Bergengrün. The two men used to serve under Kircheis, but after his death they were assigned separate posts, but the experience of fighting together stayed with them. Büro tells Bergengrün that Mittermeyer is certain Reinhard will reach a decision in Reuenthal’s favor. Bergengrün then asks that Büro remember the circumstances of Kircheis’ death, which he blames on a suggestion made by Oberstein that only Kircheis could carry a weapon in the presence of Reinhard. Had the other admirals had weapons they could have stopped the assassination attempt before it cost Kircheis his life. Oberstein’s seeming indifference in the wake of his death created resentment. Bergengrün says he would be unable to live with himself if Oberstein caused the loss of another one of the admirals he served under. Büro tries to calm him down, but Bergengrün says he would be unable to overlook Oberstein if Reuenthal’s punishment is disproportionate to the crime.
It was actually pretty nice to have someone talk about Kircheis’ death without it being a what-if for anything that followed. Bergengrün’s feelings toward Oberstein make sense, though Oberstein’s outer appearance never seems to go beyond indifference 99% of the time. The fact that the relationship between Bergengrün and Büro seems to be similar to the admirals they serve under is just an interesting point.
On Phezzan, as Ferner hands Oberstein something to sign, he wonders if Oberstein is serving as a shield by taking in all the hostilities that could be directed at Reinhard himself. While back on Heinessen, Reinhard asks for some more opinions on the situation from others. Streit says punishing Reuenthal on the basis of rumors could cause panic amongst the people because they would no longer feel safe. Hilde held back from giving an opinion because of the misgivings she had about Reuenthal when she asked him and Mittermeyer to attack Heinessen.
At the same time, Mecklinger was moving his fleet from Odin toward the Iserlohn Corridor. This would prevent Yang from attacking Imperial territory, while also serving as a pincer whenever the expedition to attack from the Alliance side began. This showed that even in the middle of an internal crisis, Reinhard still had complete control over the military situation.
Thoughts: This episode was a bit of a throwback and played out like an episode from the first season of the series. Oberstein is beginning to exert a little more influence on events, the Lang-Reuenthal conflict is starting to resemble court politics and many of the characters that made minor appearances in the early episodes are starting to reappear. I was a little disappointed that flashback Kircheis had no speaking lines, though. It looks like only a couple more things have to be worked out before Iserlohn becomes the sole focus for the rest of the season.