The 77th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes again focuses largely on the preparations for the assault on Iserlohn. The preparations are altered slightly by certain events on Phezzan and Heinessen, but the impact of those events are sure to linger beyond the coming battle. Finally, the fleets begin to arrive at Iserlohn and with it comes the wait for Reinhard’s arrival.
The episode begins with Reinhard’s departure from Heinessen and the push to defeat Yang at Iserlohn. Grillpalzer is appointed in temporary charge of governing Heinessen, with Reinhard warning him to be a lenient and fair ruler until Reuenthal returns. As Reinhard boards his flagship to depart for Iserlohn, he asks Hilde if she has taken care of a certain thing, she says he will never have to worry about seeing it again. The thing they are referring to is the demolition of the giant statue of Ale Heinessen. It is seen as a just thing to do because Reinhard had left the Heinessen Memorial Hall and Heinessen’s Grave untouched after the invasion, and also because he had banned the creation of statues of himself for a minimum of 10 years after his death and no larger than life-size. Reinhard says that if Heinessen was such an esteemed person, he would have objected to the excess of such a massive statue.
I was rather interested in Reinhard’s view of the statue of Heinessen. He sees it mainly as a political symbol that reflects the excesses of elected politicians run amok. On the other hand, I think it could be seen as a cultural symbol and would worry about a backlash when demolished. It would be something that would hold no meaning to the people of Heinessen, but the demolition could give them a common purpose they had not held in generations.
Meanwhile, Reinhard’s admirals and their fleets continued to close in on Iserlohn, all in an effort to take out just one man. Reinhard asks Hilde in private if she is still opposed to the attack, and speaking honestly, she says she still is. He commends her stubbornness before going on to say that Yang is left with 2 options; advance and attack, or withdraw and defend.
Despite having the overwhelming advantage over Yang, and for that matter control of the universe, events were still happening that were out of Reinhard’s control. On Phezzan, a party was being prepared for Lutz and Wahlen before they went in their separate directions. Silverberche was still hard at work and was excited that his model of the new palace he was planning on building had arrived. He tells Gluck that by the end of the 10 year estimate to actually construct the palace he hopes to be Imperial Prime Minister. He says it is a realistic possibility because the era after Yang’s defeat will be dominated by technocrats. He goes on to say he wants to build something no one has seen before, and his ambition to be Prime Minister is driven by that and not by a motivation for power. The two then head off to the ceremony.
I was thinking at this point that Silverberche had no idea of governing beyond building structures. His problems dealing with actual people would be an issue as Prime Minister, but that possibility is addressed in about 3 paragraphs.
At the same time, Lutz expresses his displeasure at having a ceremony at the same time he is being demoted. Holtzbauer warns him to be careful with his words because of where they are and because of eavesdroppers. He also reminds him of what the latter did to Reuenthal. Lutz calms down and says he is pleased to meet Wahlen again since they both served under Kircheis, then he puts the blame for Kircheis’ death on Oberstein.
Before the ceremony, Wahlen sees that his prosthetic arm is acting up and has a message sent that he would be late to the event. As the guests at the party wait for Wahlen’s arrival, Wahlen himself is nervous at his delay at 7:48 as he is still 5-6 minutes away. Boltik glances up at the clock at 7:49 and walks away nervously before Silverberche begins to walk around on his own. Silverberche notices something odd about a large video screen when as the clock strikes 7:50 there’s an explosion.
Wahlen sees the explosion from several miles away. In the aftermath, Boltik suffers a minor injury, Lutz is badly injured, Oberstein is unconscious, but Silverberche and 40 others in attendance were killed. Wahlen sent the news to Reinhard, who delayed his arrival on Phezzan pending the results of the investigation of the terrorist attack.
So Silverberche is dead, leaving the construction of Phezzan to Gluck, who was clearly not up to the job before. Boltik’s move away from the scene suggests possible involvement, though again that would depend on who was behind it.
In the meantime, Wahlen visits Lutz at the hospital. Lutz believes his luck has turned the corner since he survived the attack, and it helps in his goal to outlive Oberstein. He vows to insincerely read out a letter of condolence at Oberstein’s funeral while simultaneously sticking his tongue out at him in his mind. The nurse Klara is ordered in by Lutz who was sure her knock was that of one of his subordinates. She tells him to lie back down and heal up, just as Wahlen leaves to fulfill another job that has been thrown at him.
Meanwhile, Reinhard finishes reading Wahlen’s report, and apart from ordering a mourning period for Silverberche, he makes it business as usual. However, Hilde badly wants to say something which Reinhard lets her do. She says that Yang could break through Mecklinger’s fleet and attack Imperial territory completely unopposed, so it would be best for Reinhard to go back to Odin. Reinhard, however, expresses doubts that Yang has the military strength to pursue such a strategy, and it is a shame he can’t give Yang five fleets to try to make the numbers more even. Hilde responds sarcastically by suggesting that Reinhard should wait for Yang to build up a force equal in size to Reinhard’s before he is confronted. Reinhard clasps his pendant for a few seconds before calmly saying that he has a debt to Yang and intends to pay him back by destroying him and uniting the universe. Only then can he move on.
It was surprising to see Hilde actually changing her approach in trying to get Reinhard to change his mind about the expedition. Last episode saw her try to plant images of his being reunited with his sister, but that came off poorly. This time, she tries to point out the absurdity of his views of fairness on the battlefield and in his personal agenda against Yang. The fact that it is turning more hostile is an interesting development in a good way.
Later, Mittermeyer and Reuenthal once again talk over drinks. Reuenthal says he wouldn’t put it past Oberstein to be the one behind the terrorist attack, and if that were the case there would be multiple stages for his plan. Mittermeyer quickly moves the conversation to another topic; this time Elfriede. Reuenthal expresses no concern for her and wonders if Mittermeyer himself has an interest, before Mittermeyer ends the conversation in angrily stating that he cares about what Reuenthal is doing to himself.
Two weeks after the terrorist attack, there was another incident. This time it was a fire at a psychiatric hospital outside of Heinessenpolis. There were 11 people killed with Andrew Fork the most notable reported death. However, at an undisclosed location, De Villier and the remaining Earth Church members vow to make Reinhard and Yang destroy each other, and with them they have one Andrew Fork.
Fork finally reappears after his assassination which kicked off the Greenhill-led coup. It appears the time spent in isolation has only served to make him even more crazy. The world of this series would have been much improved if he had died in the fire.
The next day, Wahlen left for Iserlohn only a week later than originally planned. Lutz is informed by Holtzbauer that they suspect the attack was orchestrated by the Earth Church or by Rubinsky’s agents. Lutz is certain that Silverberche wasn’t the intended target and that they may try another attack to kill who they must. This would also present an opportunity to flush them out.
In his mountain cabin, Rubinsky refuses to acknowledge that the attack was unsuccessful. Instead, he merely says that the results could have been greater. He then asks Dominique for her assistance in his next plan.
So Rubinsky was behind the attack. The question now becomes one of how much communication had taken place between Rubinsky and the Earth Church survivors, or if this had been orchestrated independently. The fact that Boltik could be aligned with Rubinsky wouldn’t be terribly surprising. Boltik’s role is being phased out, and in a desperate bid to cling to power rejoining with Rubinsky wouldn’t be the worst thing for him.
The next day, one of Bittenfeld’s subordinates proposes a plan to defeat Yang without any loss of life. Yang would hand over Iserlohn in exchange for autonomy for El Facil. Once Yang left Iserlohn to sign a treaty he would be arrested and there would be no resistance left. When he asks Bittenfeld what he thinks of that plan, Bittenfeld says he doesn’t want to hear horrible plans like that again. He says Reinhard wants a direct confrontation with Yang, and if he had wanted otherwise he would have executed Yang after Vermillion. He goes on to summarize his own philosophy by saying that he would rather be called incompetent by Reinhard than to be denounced as a successful sneak.
At Iserlohn, Yang knows that Fahrenheit’s and Bittenfeld’s fleets will arrive first. When told of Fahrenheit’s presence, Merkatz reminisces of fighting together with him against a mutual enemy that Fahrenheit now represents.
At the same time, Bittenfeld talks to Fahrenheit about the tedium of the front lines when there are no orders to attack. He wishes Yang would launch an attack so they would be free to fight. Fahrenheit thinks that he should be calming him down at this point, but instead he unenthusiastically tells Bittenfeld to ask Yang to surrender just to gauge the reaction they would get from the Iserlohn forces. Bittenfeld agrees to do so. After telling his subordinate Sanders that he said that just to prevent Bittenfeld from exploding, he was genuinely surprised some time later when Bittenfeld actually did it, and what actually occurred as a result.
Thoughts: For the most part, I think this episode was setting the agenda for the final season more than anything else. It looks like the final characters from the distant past have made their grand returns, and a battle between the Earth Church and the Empire is probably what will be left for the final season. I have a feeling there is a lot more to this episode that will pop up later than I can imagine right now.