The 90th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes returns to Heinessen and a political rally proves the starting point for something bigger. A rally for former Alliance soldiers turns tragic and Reuenthal begins to sense that something larger is after him. On Iserlohn, the mood seems to be shifting despite the fact that they are in complete isolation from the rest of civilization. Finally, the Terraist cult makes their plans known in how they plan to seize power on their own.
The episode begins on Heinessen as a memorial service was being held by former Alliance soldiers and bereaved families. Julius Elsheimer tells Reuenthal of the details of the event, and Bergengrün asks Reuenthal if he will be attending. Reuenthal says they shouldn’t attend as the event is of a different nature from Yang’s memorial service, and that they shouldn’t even prepare a statement for the event. He then jokes about sending Trunicht as a representative, but says that would possibly lead to riots. Then, Reuenthal asks where it will be held, and Elsheimer tells him that it is at the Nguyen Kim Hoare Square. Nguyen was one of the founders of the Alliance and actually succeeded Ale Heinessen after the latter’s death. Elseheimer then says 200,000 people are estimated to attend, which Bergengrün says presents a problem on his own. Reuenthal then asks for 20,000 soldiers to guard the site, and not to provoke at all. Elseheimer believes that to be excessive, and Reuenthal agrees, but he wanted to be safe.
Reuenthal had internal misgivings that he thought were unwarranted, and they would have been if all had gone to plan. The presence of Imperial soldiers heightened the mood at the event as the soldiers began to group together. The crowd then began shouting democratic slogans and expressing their support for Yang. When the soldiers attempted to calm the crowd down, they responded by throwing rocks. The response from the soldiers was to restrain the crowd, who then fought back. When one soldier fired his gun in a panic and killed a protester, chaos ensued. In the end, almost 5,000 civilians were killed and 50,000 injured and later arrested. The official report of the event would call it an act of self-defense, but different accounts still existed.
I’m always impressed by how these gatherings always seem to end in chaos within the series. Just like the stadium incident in the first season, as soon as a gunshot is fired all hell breaks loose and numerous people die. The lesson here is that bringing in the military to a political event never ends well.
Later, Reuenthal sarcastically praises the soldiers for firing on unarmed men, and Bergengrün apologizes for it. However, Reuenthal thinks that the riot was not an accident and demands to know who would be behind it. Reuenthal believes that the motive is to weaken his own authority in ruling the Neue Land since he is convinced he has many enemies. He then acknowledges that a riot of that scale cannot happen in isolation, and that there will always be resentment since they will always be seen as invaders no matter how well they rule. He is then interrupted as one of those arrested, Sidney Sitolet, is brought before him.
Reuenthal starts the questioning by asking Sitolet if the event happened because of his orchestration. He says he was merely a participant, and if that is a crime he is guilty. Sitolet is then asked if he knows who was behind it, and Sitolet says he does not, but even if he did he would not say. Reuenthal says that he cannot release him given the situation, and Sitolet says if he was released the first thing he would do would be to lead a protest against Reuenthal’s rule. He regrets being merely a follower in the crowd, and also for passing on responsibility to others who then died as a result. After saying that he is escorted back into detention.
Reuenthal then asks Bergengrün if one person’s death could awaken billions. Bergengrün says it’s possible but that he’d hope to avoid facing it. Reuenthal then begins to rant about the responsibility of soldiers in peace time, likening prosecution of civilians to a dog’s role, and soldiers now acting like chained watchdogs and that Yang may have been lucky to avoid such a period. At the same time, Reuenthal thinks that he really can’t stand the boredom of peace. He then talks of how Oberstein thought of him as a predatory bird who could never be caged, then Bergengrün tells him to stop thinking about Oberstein since Reinhard would never allow him to get in his way if he served the Kaiser sincerely.
Reuenthal agrees that Reinhard is a wise ruler and remembers a conversation he had with Mittermeyer. At the time, Mittermeyer was coming back from a conversation with Reinhard, who had asked what color hair the woman Reuenthal was seeing had. Mittermeyer could only say he thought it was black. After Reuenthal says he got rid of her, Mittermeyer says that Reinhard was convinced she had red hair because that was the color of hair on Reuenthal’s uniform. The two then talk about Reuenthal hiring a maid and how Reuenthal’s family has a bad history so no woman would want to serve him. Finally, Mittermeyer said that Reinhard doesn’t meddle in the lives of his subordinates and respects their individuality.
Reuenthal then remembers Reinhard’s challenge to anyone to try to defeat him after he had arrested the Lichtenlade clan. Then, Reinhard’s own statement that after Kircheis’ death he thought he had nothing he could lose. The narrator then states from Mecklinger’s history of the period that at the time Reuenthal was the most superior of all in terms of balance of wisdom and courage. Yang leaned too far to wisdom, with Mittermeyer going the opposite direction. Even Reinhard as a tactician leaned too far toward offense and his defeat at Vermillion was down to an unwillingness to defend.
Mecklinger’s writings are well worth looking at for a couple of reasons. The fact that he can write such a statement implies that he probably outlives both Reuenthal and Reinhard and is thus able to write a bold statement like that and have it last. Also, Mecklinger was never close to the front as Reuenthal and Reinhard had their own separate battles with Yang. While Reinhard had the defeat at Vermillion to his name, at that point Reuenthal did not have a major defeat to his name and would seem to be superior to him at that basic level of analysis.
In the days after the Nguyen Kim Hoare Square incident, small-scale riots broke out throughout the Neue Land. Elsheimer says they just have to contain the transportation and communication links. Bergengrün then gives Reuenthal a letter which states that the riots are a conspiracy by Trunicht to seize power and will ultimately lead to Reuenthal’s assassination. Trunicht is then called in and he dismisses the letter as an interesting story. Reuenthal then asks him about the people and the democracy he once served, and the answer surprises him in its dismissal of the power of the people and the system. Reuenthal says he won’t do anything this time and sends Trunicht on his way. Bergengrün questions the decision, but Reuenthal says he can’t do anything on the basis of one letter.
The conversation then turns to Iserlohn. Reuenthal says their continued existence is proving to be a rallying point for the riots. Bergengrün says they can’t leave them alone, but Reuenthal says they would suffer damage if they went into battle. Reuenthal decides in the end to maintain a blockade on the exit to the corridor so to attempt to make those inside the fortress self-destruct from within.
On Iserlohn, Cazellnu, Poplan and Attenborough express their reservations over Julian too closely following Yang. Before long, the conversation turns to Julian’s relationship with Katerose, which they are unsure is actually progressing even though they are meeting more often.
In a corridor, Julian bumps into her and they start talking about their plans for the day before Schenkopp walks past. Schenkopp asks how his daughter is doing and she bluntly says it took a turn for the worst. Schenkopp then winks at her and says she is really happy to see him as he walks away. She walks away while Julian joins Schenkopp and begins asking him about his real feelings and how much she resembles her mother. Ultimately Schenkopp reveals little apart from stating that his daughter has had a bigger impact than on him that her mother ever did and questioning Julian about the fact he is clearly infatuated by her.
They then arrive in the same room as the other 3 and begin talking about Trunicht. They joke about sending letters to Reuenthal and Reinhard warning of his possible betrayal, but doubt that would give them any sympathy from the Empire. Attenborough then expresses his feeling that he wouldn’t want Reinhard assassinated by a menial villain like Trunicht, but then again those at Iserlohn are seen in the same way by the Empire.
Frederica, meanwhile, was hard at work trying to distract herself from the grief of losing a loved one, just as she did after her father’s death. Julian arrives and asks her to take a break. She then says that retrospectively, she would have been good friends with Jessica Edwards, which is something Julian can see since they both jumped into politics after the death of the one they loved. Julian then briefly remembers the horrible circumstances under which Jessica Edwards died and shakes it off before asking what advice she gave Katerose. Frederica says that she just told her that Schenkopp has no association with the notion of cowardice. Julian says he understands why she acted as she did earlier now before telling Frederica how much Katerose has said she wants to be like Frederica, who responds by saying that she should really be aiming to be like Cazellnu’s wife since she is a much better cook, for Julian’s sake.
With Iserlohn completely on the periphery and with no sign of military action, I can’t be that surprised things took a turn like this. The action is starting to resemble an office romance. The progress there seems to be matching the mood of the rest of the fortress, though.
At a dinner hosted by Cazellnu, we learn that it was suggested that Schenkopp attend along with Katerose, but that was ultimately turned down by Cazellnu. After finishing the meal, Cazellnu invites Julian for drinks separate from everyone else. He tells his wife that the two of them should hide in a cave away from the beautiful flowers of Iserlohn. As his wife denigrates him for making such a statement, Julian stares at Katerose before Cazellnu gets his attention. As the women play games and the two men drink, it seems as though the mood on Iserlohn has shifted from the winter after Yang’s death to a spring-like state.
Finally, De Villier explains what the role of the Earth Church will be from this point to his followers. They needed to kill Yang, he says, because it would allow Reinhard to become the sole ruler of the universe. Next, they needed Reinhard to turn into a tyrant and they plan to use Reuenthal to do so. After his most trusted subordinate betrays him, Reinhard would defeat him, but would then spend the rest of his time wondering who would try to defeat him next. As a result he would become a tyrant, and conveniently the ideals of the Church would provide the basis of opposition to his rule. De Villier says that Reuenthal and then Reinhard will die and become the foundation for their own brand of justice.
Thoughts: I would say that this episode is really the true beginning to the start of Reuenthal’s rebellion. It could still come in a number of ways since Reuenthal’s own thoughts of conspiracy can combine with the rumors of Trunicht’s involvement. I’m almost sure the cult is behind the letter that was sent to Reuenthal, but I don’t necessarily think they were behind the Nguyen Kim Hoare Square incident as that was more Reuenthal’s own fault. It is interesting to see how the prospect of insurrection is being used to create tyranny though in both Reuenthal and then Reinhard.