The 76th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes brings back many of the issues the could loom large in the future. Most prominent is the role of Annerose and the behind-the-scenes actions of Adrian Rubinsky cannot be forgotten easily. At the same time, a fire breaks out on Heinessen and the consequences could have long-term consequences for Reuenthal and others.
The episode begins over tea on Odin as Mecklinger talks to Kesler and Wahlen on the eve of his departure to the Iserlohn Corridor. They talk about the great works of art that Mecklinger has assembled, but that will pale to the level of art that Yang has produced. Mecklinger says Yang’s magic has transformed the once impregnable Iserlohn Fortress into something that changes hands quite easily, while Wahlen says that even with small numbers Yang is able to give them more than they can handle. Mecklinger then expresses his concern that after his fleet leaves and Wahlen’s is eventually called in, there would only be Kesler’s small fleet remaining to defend Odin. They all understand why Reinhard moved the capital, but he has left very little security to the one he cherishes most, his sister Annerose, who could very well be left to carry on should Reinhard die without fathering a child. Kesler then discusses a statement made by the Civil Administration minister Carl Blakke, who said that the nation would be much more prosperous if it were not at war. While it may be true, they express concern that it could lead to action from anti-Imperial elements, in particular Earth Church followers who would put Wahlen and Kesler at the top of their targets for assassination. At the end of the night, Kesler gives Mecklinger his regards and says he has to deal once again with Job Trunicht, as he would rather be out in space like Mecklinger and Wahlen.
There’s a nice little touch here throughout this scene. Wahlen, now dealing with having a prosthetic left arm is seen constantly tinkering with it and generally trying to get used to it. It is a rather unexpected level of detail.
At the beginning of March on Heinessen, Reinhard had not yet made a decision on Reuenthal and prepared to go to sleep. Emil was also prepared to sleep when suddenly the capital was rocked by a series of explosions and fireballs. Kißling tried to usher Reinhard away, but the Kaiser insisted on getting dressed as running away in pajamas would be seen as embarrassing. After doing so, he and Emil were escorted outside, where Kißling once again tried to warn Reinhard, this time about snipers, but the Kaiser was content to watch the event unfold in the open. Fire spread quickly throughout the city, and even jumping into the river was not enough to save the many civilians who perished on the night.
The next day, there were about 5,500 dead with about half being Imperial soldiers unfamiliar with the territory. This led to thinking that anti-Imperial forces were behind the attack, but rioting and fights against the Imperial forces were generally limited because of the efforts of Mittermeyer, Müller and most importantly an emergency contingency plan drawn up by Reuenthal. A number of historic Alliance sites were destroyed, which led to rumors of the Empire being behind it all. The truth was that it was a complete accident caused by a zephyr particle generator given to a private company by the Alliance government for mining. However, a scapegoat had to be found to satisfy the civilians. For this purpose, the PKC and Earth Church remnants were blamed. The Imperial police attacked both groups containing a total of 24,000 people, but a significant number of both groups were killed trying to fight capture.
I had a little laugh at the statue of Jessica Edwards erected at the stadium. I suppose it makes sense to do so, but this all seems a little too sentimental for my liking. Bringing back the PKC for an episode just to make them a scapegoat seems a little rushed.
Finally, Reinhard made a decision on Reuenthal on March 19th. With all expecting minimal punishment because his plan minimized the impact of the Great Fire. His initial words stunned the audience as he relieved Reuenthal of his duties as High Admiral, only to then appoint him the Governor-General of the Neue Land (the old Alliance territory) while being given his old fleet back as well as Knapfstein and Grillpalzer’s fleets to command. He would also be accountable only to Reinhard. In addition, Reinhard appointed Steinmetz to serve under him in commanding the Central Command operations from Phezzan. He had originally wanted Hilde to hold this position, but she decline due to her having never commanded a force and preferring to defer to another admiral. Reinhard also summoned Wahlen’s fleet to the front against Iserlohn, while stating that the changes in the Neue Land would not take effect until Yang was defeated. He also emphasized his commitment by saying he would not return to Odin or Phezzan until that happened.
Later, Hilde brings up the subject of Elfriede with Reinhard, who sees no problem with her if she simply has an abortion. As she is 7 months pregnant, Hilde says that there are too many risks involved, and that it would be better if she was sent somewhere else to give birth before putting the child up for adoption. Reinhard passively agrees, which makes Hilde think that Reinhard has already shifted his focus to Yang. She then tells Reinhard that he can be with his sister once Yang is defeated, at which point Reinhard becomes upset and tells her to mind her own business. Hilde obviously apologizes.
On Phezzan, Rubinsky talks to Dominque about the current situation. Since creating a rift between Reuenthal and Reinhard seems to have had to opposite effect, Rubinsky moves on to the next plan. He believes that even an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Annerose would force Reinhard to move to protect his sister. At that point, he wonders if Reuenthal would be able to resist them temptation of fighting Reinhard with the power he thinks is too much for one man. Dominque says Rubinsky will end up instigating something anyway before listing off the pawns that he has at his disposal and asking if the Great Fire was his idea. He says even he doesn’t have that kind of authority. Finally, he asks her if she will have his child. She rejects him because she doesn’t want to raise a child only to have Rubinsky kill him, but Rubinsky really wants the child to kill him.
Rubinsky’s child would be pure evil, so it is good for humanity that Dominique turned him down. However, the list of characters she lists off really just serves as a reminder of things they could use to fill space in the future. They hardly seem relevant to me at the moment.
Four days later, Bittenfeld and Fahrenheit move their fleets toward Iserlohn as the other admirals prepare their own. At the same time, Reinhard confides in Emil saying he wants to bring happiness to those who care about him, but he is unable to do so in any way other than war. Emil tries to encourage him, but a melancholic Reinhard is stuck remembering the good times he had with Kircheis and Annerose as he thinks that his own passion would not be enough to bring happiness to those he cares about.
At Iserlohn, Yang was hard at work devising an interception plan as his subordinates worked to follow his instructions in the most minute detail. We are then told that Julian remembers everything about life on Iserlohn as life seemed more like a carnival than a struggle against the odds.
Thoughts: The last few minutes are definitely the most mailed-in part of the series to date. While I was praising the detail involved in a conversation with Wahlen earlier, resorting to the medium of montage is simply unforgivable. It was as though they ran out of stuff to write, so resorted to having Julian go around the fortress as everyone else engaged in whimsical activity. Since this episode seemed to serve to revive old plot lines, I hope things don’t go this way again. Unfortunately, I think there’s room to cram in another episode of this type of stuff before the conflict resumes.