The 89th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes revisits an important event from the first season as an attempt is made on Reinhard’s life on Phezzan. After listening to the assassin’s words, he seeks comfort from Hilde, which opens up a whole new complexity to their relationship. With Hilde taken out of the picture temporarily as a result, Reinhard is once again left to govern without the advice of the one person he can open up to.
The episode begins with the continuation of the last tradition carried over from the Goldenbaum era, the assassination attempt on the Kaiser. At a ceremony commemorating the newly constructed Memorial for the War Dead on Phezzan, Reinhard went about his business looking much better than usual. Jürgens, the Junior Chief of the Royal Guard, noticed someone in the crowd, who he stops just before he can pull a knife on the Kaiser.
At first, the would-be assassin was assumed to be a Terraist member, but he sought revenge for a different event, Westerland. As the man detailed the 3 million reasons why he wanted to kill him, Reinhard had the expression of someone who had just seen a ghost. Oberstein steps in quickly and says that if anyone was to blame it was himself since he recommended inaction. He then goes on to state logically the reasons why it made sense to sacrifice Westerland including an estimate of a further 10 million lives that would have been lost had the Civil War continued. As the man is dragged away by guards he vows that someone, someday will take revenge in his place, his words clearly affecting Reinhard.
After that, Reinhard asks Kesler what actions will be taken against the man, which based on a law from the Goldenbaum era says he would be executed even if he was unsuccessful. Reinhard clearly doesn’t want this, but Oberstein says it would be the best way to honor the man. Oberstein is also certain a pardon would be rejected which would double the damage to his reputation. Kesler agrees with Oberstein’s assessment of the situation, but Reinhard refuses to have him killed as slumps away contemplating what to do with him.
There’s a certain importance in Westerland being invoked here. Since it was really the first important decision he made without the advice of Kircheis and was made completely on his own. I think he’s probably being too hard on himself since Oberstein never gave him the full picture that day, but his indecision could be seen as costing millions of lives immediately. An indecision he is displaying once again with the assassin.
Back at the hotel, Reinhard pours himself a glass of wine as he imagines the horror of Westerland and remembers being scolded by Kircheis for his inaction. As he overfills the glass the wine gets on his hand resembling blood as he then remembers his last moments with Kircheis again. Hilde then walks in and Reinhard begins talking about his own sins relating to the incident and how the man was right. After cleaning him up, Hilde talks about all of the good Reinhard has done as a result and how he has more than atoned for anything he has done. Hilde begins to walk away when Reinhard calls her back asking her to stay by his side, as he says he can’t bear being alone on this particular night. She walks back and accepts his request.
The next morning, Hilde wakes up next to Reinhard and begins dressing. She then slumps past Emil and Kißling, who clearly know what happened last night. She takes a car to her house where the family servant Hans wonders what happened to her last night. She skips past him and heads to the shower where she recalls what happened before heading to breakfast with her father. He immediately asks her if she was with Reinhard last night, which makes her drop her spoon and apologize immediately. He doesn’t follow up at all and says he just wanted to confirm it, or so he thinks. Hans then storms into the dining hall and says that he opened the door to find Reinhard standing there and asking for a meeting with Hilde and her father. She asks her father to go alone since she can’t bear to see his face for the time being and he begrudgingly goes on his own.
He walks around a corner and sees Reinhard holding a massive bouquet of roses. He hands them to the Interior Minister who gladly accepts them on Hilde’s behalf. Reinhard says that he got the idea from Mittermeyer’s own proposal, and he thought that he had to do the same. He nervously asks if Hilde actually likes flowers, and her father can only say she doesn’t dislike them. Then, Reinhard gets cuts to the chase and asks if he can be allowed to marry Hilde. He couldn’t stand to use women in the same way they were used by the Goldenbaum rulers, so he wants to take responsibility for his actions of the previous night. Her father calms him down and says it was probably of her own free will as well, and he asks Reinhard to head back to the hotel and wait for Hilde to calm down before sending her over with a response. Reinhard apologizes for asking something that would be difficult to answer immediately before he leaves.
There were two things I found interesting at a level beyond humor in this conversation. The first is the complete change in the relationship between Hilde’s father and Reinhard. Reinhard appointed him to a ministry post and has generally been responsible for his prosperity since he stood behind him before the Civil War. In this conversation though, Reinhard is forced to play a completely subservient role because of social obligations. Secondly, his understanding of marriage proposals clearly being limited by a small sample size. He only knows of Mittermeyer’s proposal because of the meeting, so he believes that all of them have to involve impressive bouquets of flowers. His question about Hilde liking flowers is surprisingly meta given the circumstance though.
Hilde’s father then returns to the dining room and tells her Reinhard proposed marriage. She says it would be too audacious of her and that Reinhard is only doing it out of responsibility and obligation. Her father then tells the story of a great general back on Earth who had claimed the throne by age 15, but when he died in his early 30s he had never had a sexual relationship with anyone else. He says he thought Reinhard would be much the same being deficient in social skills. Hilde then argues that Reinhard doesn’t really love her, but her father flips the question around and asks if she loves Reinhard. She can only say that she respects him. Her father is disappointed that for once she can’t let her emotions rule her actions. He asks her to take some time off from her official duties before making a decision, before she leaves the room. He then thinks about how much more fitting his life would have been if his daughter would have fallen in love with a more common man who only looked at the short term. He is then called by Hans to get to his own job, but he thinks he will not be serving as Chief of Interior Affairs much longer.
In fact, her father probably should have realized that she let her emotions run riot already in getting to this situation, but he does have a point now that it seems that the relationship between the two seems to have reverted to obligations only. Also, his one-liner as she exited the dining room seems totally out of place for a father, but I’m guessing they didn’t perform that well on the night.
Back at the hotel, Reinhard thinks about how Kircheis had sacrificed his own life, without ever getting married, to save his own. He still finds it wrong in a way that he is even thinking about getting married, but he sees it as a responsibility as a result of his own immaturity. Kesler then arrives to inform Reinhard that the assassin had committed suicide in his cell. Reinhard asks if Kesler killed him, but he denies it. However, the truth is that Kesler did nothing to prevent him from committing suicide since he realized the assassin would have done so eventually anyway. Reinhard knows this, but he also knows that it was his own fault for being indecisive. He asks for the man to be buried privately. At this time, Reinhard wishes that Hilde were there to at least advise him since he realized how much his own immaturity was having an impact on his duties.
Thoughts: This was a fun episode to watch, actually. The reminder of Westerland was probably needed to drive the rest of the episode. The middle section is mostly whimsy intended to show that Reinhard has a massive weakness in his personality. Finally, the ending was needed to really get the show back on track. The Empire angle was never really meant to resemble to carnival atmosphere of Iserlohn’s final months, anyway. I’m expecting Hilde to turn down the proposal by the way simply because of the way this all unfolded.