The 82nd episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes sees the end of the road for one of the series’ defining characters. Reinhard explains his turn to negotiating, while concerns remain as to whether his subordinates will go along with the idea. Back at Iserlohn, Yang picks the men who will join him at the negotiating table while bringing Romsky and the revolutionary government along for the trip. Fork’s plot is then exposed after Yang leaves, which leads to an epic conclusion.
The episode begins on Iserlohn after all of the officers had recovered from their long rests, and they were now able to discuss Reinhard’s offer. Yang says they will have to force Reinhard back into the corridor and force him to go to the negotiating table. Murai suspects a trap because he can’t believe they would give up so easily, while Schenkopp doubts that Reinhard would sink so low as to have Yang assassinated because he couldn’t beat him on the battlefield. Poplan then expresses his own concern in his belief that one of Reinhard’s superiors may take it upon himself to kill Yang to maintain the Kaiser’s honor. Julian also wonders if he would be allowed to join Yang at the negotiating table.
For the first time this season their were was no opening animation for this episode. Something big is going to happen by the end of the episode by now. At least there was no American Beauty-esque spoiler in the beginning from the narrator.
Outside the corridor, nearly everyone had been caught by surprise by Reinhard’s ceasefire order. Hilde, who had opposed the expedition all along, was perhaps most surprised of all. Reinhard explains that Kircheis had visited him while he was unconscious and told him to stop fighting Yang. Hilde internally laments that only a ghost could talk any sense to Reinhard and convince him to stop.
For the first time we have a moment where it can be appreciated by someone that Kircheis is dead. That isn’t to say that there weren’t characters who would have had good things happen to them because he died (Oberstein in particular), but fighting had stopped as a result of his death.
Meanwhile, Mittermeyer is worried about a few things. He tells Reuenthal that while Bittenfeld waiting for talks to collapse is one thing, the subordinates of Fahrenheit and Steinmetz may feel the need to take revenge for their deaths. He says they could even pursue a strategy of sealing up the corridor and waiting for Yang to die of old age, but it doesn’t address the real problem which is their own leader. He has concerns about Reinhard’s frailty. He says the doctors have told him it was just fatigue, but if it was an illness that claimed his life they would lose their leader. Reuenthal confidently says that the Kaiser isn’t one to die from an illness.
Back at Iserlohn, Schneider voices the the same concern Mittermeyer has about Imperial subordinates acting on their own. Julian proposes that Yang stay behind while he takes note of the terms and conditions of the treaty. Yang dismisses this idea immediately, and says Reinhard wants to talk on equal terms. Going against the Kaiser’s wishes and having the deal potentially collapse would be suicide. The conversation then turns to who will accompany Yang to the negotiating table. Frederica would have been a natural choice, but she is too ill, while Cazellnu has to stay behind to monitor the resupply effort at the fortress. Schenkopp, Attenborough and Poplan have their wishes declined for strategic reasons. Eventually they settle on Patrichev, Blumehart and Soul to accompany Yang to the negotiations.
After that was decided, the rejected trio talk about the selection over drinks. They come to a consensus that Blumehart would serve as the bodyguard, while Soul would serve as a replacement for Bucock. Patrichev would be Yang’s foil in Poplan’s ability, though Attenborough says Poplan would have been an excellent foil himself. They all express surprise that Julian wasn’t picked, but Schenkopp jokes that if Julian were there no one would know who that adjutant was.
In his quarters, Yang packs for the journey while telling Julian that he is counting on him. Julian can’t help but express the disappointment that he wasn’t picked and wondering how he would be less useful than Patrichev. Yang tells him that if he were unable to go, Julian would have gone in his place. He tells Julian that he has been counting on him for the entire six years that they’ve known each other, before breaking the tension by asking Julian if he liked Cazellnu’s daughter or Schenkopp’s daughter more. Yang leaves as Julian is unable to respond.
The transition from the cheerful atmosphere of the lounge to Yang’s quarters was interesting. An upbeat mood instantly changed to one of tension. Also, Julian’s inability to answer Yang’s innocent question really reflects poorly on him. He really hasn’t grown much as a character to this point.
Later, Reinhard received a proposal from Reuenthal which intended to force Yang to attend negotiations. A messenger would act as a hostage who would be threatened if Yang did not go, then after Yang leaves to attend the messenger would assassinate Yang while being killed by the rest of Yang’s men in retaliation. With the motivation of revenge, the Imperial forces would move in and wipe out the remaining forces at Iserlohn. Reuenthal and Mittermeyer discuss the plan’s rejection, though they say they were not surprised when Oberstein volunteered to be the sacrifice. After joking about how Oberstein would never be trusted by Yang, Mittermeyer says the universe would have been a better place if Oberstein more than Yang were to die.
Four days later at Iserlohn, Yang’s team prepares to leave for talks in the same ship he took for his first meeting with Reinhard. However, there are a number of men in suits joining him. Attenborough is worried that the presence of representatives of the revolutionary government joining him could cause them to dominate talks. Cazellnu, explains that it is merely Yang trying to save face because he agreed to talks without consulting them, which is why the number of his officers was kept to a minimum.
Before leaving, Yang says farewell to Frederica who insists on brushing his hair before he visits Reinhard. He says he will be gone for 2 weeks before he kisses her and leaves. The rest of Cazellnu’s family had been watching, and Charlotte asks her mother if she still does things like that with her husband. She responds with another question asking Charlotte if she still does things she did three years earlier.
As Yang leaves, he says goodbye to Julian. The narrator also wonders how much Julian would be agonizing over the days to come. He also says that while everyone at the fortress was focused entirely on Reinhard, there were more things to be worried about.
The first half of the episode ends with the revelation that Julian will have regrets about the next few days for a very long time. The Earth Church survivors have yet to make an appearance in the episode, which I’m sure they will almost immediately. Clearly something bad is about to happen though.
Boris Konev’s ship returns to Iserlohn and he has an urgent message for everyone. He tells Cazellnu, Poplan and Julian that Andrew Fork escaped from custody and was planning on assassinating Yang. The rest of the officers at Iserlohn discuss their options. They express their frustration that Fork, who was indirectly responsible for the death of 20 million men at Amlitzer, should now be trying to kill his rival in an attempt to eclipse him rather than just killing himself. While Julian is worried about the help Fork would have had in escaping Schenkopp determines they have to send a small crew out to bring Yang back, so as to not threaten the Imperial forces. Six ships departed quickly, while confusion remained at Iserlohn. Cazellnu also issued orders to keep this mission secret from the rest of the base, and especially Frederica.
Meanwhile, Yang was spending the trip beating up on the rest of his party at 3D chess. While he was concerned about what was happening with Julian, Soul and Patrichev are concerned that their communications with Iserlohn seem to be blocked by some method of jamming. Patrichev blames the Empire for that before Yang leaves to get some rest. Patrichev then makes a comment to Blumehart that the party was selected based on who Yang could beat at chess, which going off of the results of their matches seemed to be true to some extent.
The tension is beginning to build very quickly now. Fork is somewhere nearby, and now I’m beginning to worry every time Yang finds himself in a situation where he is alone.
Early in the morning of June 1st, Yang was preparing to go to sleep when the ship receives a communication from the Imperial fleet that Fork had commandeered a ship and was heading in their direction to assassinate Yang. Yang is notified immediately and heads to the bridge after getting dressed. The ship is in high alert status, while Yang is feeling the effects of the sleeping pill he had taken before he was called. Fork’s ship approaches Yang’s and begins to fire, but 2 Imperial cruisers catch up and destroy Fork’s ship quickly.
Afterward, an Imperial officer offers to escort Yang’s ship to the negotiation. Yang tells him that Romsky is the head of the mission and he will have to be asked first. Romsky does the gentlemanly thing and accepts the offer and allows the Imperial officers to board. Patrichev, Blumehart and Soul discuss Fork’s misfortune. Patrichev says he was intelligent, and that if battles could be fought by formulas and calculations he would invariably win. Soul, meanwhile, expresses doubt as to whether the Imperial forces should have been allowed to board.
Now Soul has me thinking that the Imperial rescue was actually the real attempt to assassinate Yang. There’s still one-third of the episode remaining, so plenty can still happen.
Romsky leads the revolutionary government officials in greeting the Imperial soldiers that have come to protect them. After opening the door, the Imperial officers notice that Yang is not present and one of them asks Romsky where he is while pointing a gun at him. As he goes to push the gun aside, Romsky is then shot through the head. Panic begins to set in and the government officials begin to scatter. The leader of the Imperial soldiers tells them to follow because it will lead to Yang.
I guess I was right about that one. I’m not sure they are really Imperial soldiers, but there are two potential groups who would try to assassinate Yang and I can’t yet confirm they are Church survivors.
Fifteen minutes later, the assassins locate Yang by following a couple of government officials. Patrichev and Blumehart knock over some tables to serve as a barrier. Eventually, the two officials are killed by the assassins, then Soul, and then Blumehart is hit by several shots. Patrichev carries the fatigued Yang before throwing him through another door. Patrichev is shot in the back several times and the fact he remains standing scares a few of the assassins. After a few more rounds, though, Patrichev is dead. The assassins try to move his body, but the injured Blumehart begins firing back at them in desperation.
The Iserlohn force arrives a few minutes later, and after destroying the other Imperial ship forcibly boards Yang’s ship. Schenkopp is the first aboard and he kills 3 of the assassins quickly, though one is able to say Yang is no longer of this world. Schenkopp orders Julian and the rest of the team to find Yang while he fights off the rest of the assassins. Julian is convinced that luck is on their side due to the luck associated with the Ulysses and Lada II, as well as the fact they somehow managed to find the latter.
A few minutes later, Yang wanders through a corridor as he looks for a place where he can be safe. He’s glad Julian and Frederica did not come, as nearby the former kills several assassins as he desperately tries to find Yang. Yang hears something and turns around a corner where an assassin sees him. The nervous assassin fires and hits Yang in the femoral artery in his left leg. The assassin drops his gun and runs off to celebrate what is a fatal would to Yang.
Yang tries to make a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. He’s surprised at how much blood he’d lost already, though he can’t help but think it is a tiny amount compared to what he has made other people shed. He gets up while conjuring up images of those close to him in his mind. He takes a few steps while believing that he should be able to move his lighter body easier because of the blood loss. He walks toward a lit corridor, but collapses before making it there. He tries to get up again, but is unable to. A pool of blood begins to form under him as he jokes that Miracle Yang has become Bloody Yang. He then apologizes to Frederica, Julian and everyone else before he dies. Julian’s voice is heard screaming in the background, but it is clearly way too late.
Thoughts: Really, what can I say after that? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Yang was able to stay self-deprecating to the very end, though. What happens from here? Does Julian go on a murderous rampage in retaliation? Does he finally grow up? As far as the political situation goes, how does Reinhard respond? I would think he would go after the remaining Church survivors and show compassion for the rest of the Iserlohn crew, except Merkatz. Also, I’d say internal strife within the Empire probably moves to the top of the agenda quickly.