The 95th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes sees various characters forced to take sides in the conflict. Grillpalzer’s return from Uruvasi begins the chain as he tries to change his friend’s mind. As others decide to go against Reuenthal, those asking for him to be spared by Reinhard increase in number as well. The Iserlohn problem still exists and a surprising messenger is given a response to Reuenthal’s request. Finally, Reuenthal and Mittermeyer talk once again.
The episode begins with Grillpalzer’s return from Uruvasi to Heinessen where he quickly agreed to join Reuenthal’s rebellion. However, he tells him that it is on the condition that he be appointed Chief Minister of Military Affairs when he was successful. Reuenthal quickly agrees, though he is surprised that he wouldn’t aim higher. Grillpalzer then asks about Knapfstein, and is informed that he is under house arrest since he refused to join the rebellion. Grillpalzer tells Reuenthal he is confident he can convince his long-time acquaintance to join them. After Grillpalzer leaves, Bergengrün tells Reuenthal of his concerns over their new ally, but Reuenthal is certain it will be easier to control him if he is motivated by self-interest. Also, any action against those who seem to be joining them would send a bad message to anyone thinking of joining them.
At Knapfstein’s apartment, Grillpalzer is questioned by his friend on why he would join the rebellion. He responds by asking if Knapfstein believed he would really join him before he reveals his true intention. He says the two of them have gotten where they are by distinguishing themselves in battle, but in an era of peace they would find it difficult to do so. Therefore, the rebellion presents them with a further opportunity for battles and increased recognition. Knapfstein then asks if Grillpalzer would betray Reuenthal, and Grillpalzer says that he sees himself as taking orders from Reuenthal, who happens to serve under Reinhard. In the end, he would have to take orders from the one higher up. Knapfstein agreed to join Grillpalzer at this point.
The thing I got out of this conversation is that the two younger admirals probably see themselves as successors of a sort to Reuenthal and Mittermeyer. However, they only see it in terms of a rise in power at a young age, rather than a commitment to a goal serving under one man and talent.
Later, Elsheimer told Reuenthal he refused to join in the rebellion. In addition, he personally held Reuenthal somewhat responsible for the death of his brother-in-law Lutz. Reuenthal decided that Elsheimer had shown enough bravery in turning him down, so he assured him of his safety as long as he did not act against him. He also wrote a letter addressed to Mittermeyer stating that Elsheimer had refused to join in the rebellion. After Elsheimer left, Reuenthal noticed that he just acted as though he expected to lose to Reinhard. Then he wondered once again whether he wanted defeat or downfall before calling himself unmanageable.
On the way to battle, Mittermeyer presented his strategy in fighting what he hesitantly called the enemy. He plans to hit them with a quick strike and win the first battle knowing that they do not have the material or mental room for failure. Bittenfeld then asks what would have motivated Reuenthal to pull off such an act, before Wahlen cuts him off. Mittermeyer eases Wahlen’s concerns about his own friendship with Reuenthal because it does not have the gravity of his official duty. Bittenfeld then says it is more disrespectful to worry about an officer’s feelings as he goes about official duties. Mittermeyer then stares out into space and says that Reuenthal would only bow to the Kaiser, and the fact he would have had to do so to Oberstein would be unbearable for him. He then wonders if Kircheis would have been able to undo this mess if he were still alive.
Ahead of Mittermeyer’s fleet, Reinhard had advanced to the edge of the Phezzan Corridor where he was honoring the sacrifices Müller made on Uruvasi. After awarding him the Kircheis Battlefield Honor award, Reinhard prepared to promote Müller to Fleet Admiral only to have him turn it down. He said that it was Lutz who deserved all of the credit and that he wanted to do something himself worthy of the promotion. Reinhard then asks if there was something he could do to reward him, he instantly sensed that Müller would ask him to spare Reuenthal. He then proceeded to go on about how Reuenthal had disrespected him and that Müller should be asking Reuenthal why he couldn’t apologize for his actions. At that point, Müller wished Hilde had made the journey, but she couldn’t because of an “illness.”
Reinhard then stepped away and thought that all that was needed to resolve the standoff was an apology from Reuenthal. He then wondered if his declaration three years ago was the cause of this and that it would mean it was all his own fault to begin with. He then wondered if defeating Reuenthal would finally bring him peace.
I think even Reinhard realizes the stupidity of what is about to happen. However, the situation has progressed out of his control and he can no longer stop without Reuenthal’s intervention. The fact that it would only take an apology shows how little Reinhard wants to go ahead with this.
Streit then tells Reinhard that Mecklinger’s fleet has departed for the Iserlohn Corridor. Reinhard then asks those around him what they think Yang would do in this situation. It is a hypothetical question, but one intended to test the merit of Yang’s successor. Müller turns it around and asks Reinhard what he would do if those on Iserlohn elected to attack into Imperial territory. He responds by saying that he would then attack Iserlohn since they have the justification for doing so since they sided with Reuenthal. Either way, the next decision would have to be made by them.
Iserlohn was then visited by a messenger from Reuenthal, which turned out to be Murai. He was welcomed back for his visit, but his appointment as messenger was something that was forced on him. He presented the proposal for all of the Alliance territory to Julian, who tells him he will have to consult Frederica, Merkatz and the others before getting back to him, but he could make himself at home in the meantime. Murai hopes he hears back soon, so he wouldn’t be able to settle in at Iserlohn again. As he left, Julian resisted the urge to tell him to stay, but he still had an enormous decision of historical significance to make.
As he presented Murai’s proposal, Julian said that he had difficulty finding how Reuenthal would be able to succeed in claiming political legitimacy were he to succeed. Without Erwin-Josef, restoring the Alliance or using Reinhard as a puppet it would ultimately lead to a waste of Reinhard’s reforms. The rest nod in agreement before Trunicht is brought up. Julian wishes they could take him, then let the Imperial fleets through, he thinks it would be rather pathetic and using him for political gain would mean a loss of moral authority. Poplan agrees and says personal vendettas should be handled by one’s own hands as Schenkopp glared at him.
Before he told Murai, Julian asked him if Reuenthal was involving any of the citizens in this battle. Murai tells him the Reuenthal is determined to keep this a private war fought between members of the Imperial military. At that point, Julian knew what kind of man Reuenthal was, but admiration for him wouldn’t sway his decision and he told Murai their plans. Murai said he would relay the message, and that he wouldn’t try to negotiate since that wasn’t part of his job. Then he says that the decision made by Julian allayed his fears that he wasn’t fit to be Yang’s successor.
In the final analysis, it was really an obvious decision to make. Could anyone really see Julian deciding to go for a power grab after all that Yang had taught him?
As Murai walked back to his ship, Schenkopp asked for permission to travel to Heinessen with him. When Julian suggested that it was to visit his lovers there, Schenkopp answers that he really wants a picture taken of him with Reuenthal’s head in his left hand, Trunicht head under his foot and a tomahawk in his right hand. Poplan walks in and says that he would take care of Trunicht for him. As they begin bickering, Julian tells them that they would more than likely not come back alive. Then, Attenborough arrives to continue the conversation between Schenkopp and Poplan as Julian reacts in despair.
Karin sees Julian contemplating his decision later. He honestly wished that he could have chosen to fight, but it would be inviting an attack from Reinhard’s superior forces, so logic meant that he had to decline. Karin then says she regrettable agreed with his decision, and Julian thanks her for her concern. She then says that she isn’t concerned for him, but that she would be embarrassed for Yang and his wife if Julian did not have a spine. After saying he understands, she then says that she isn’t saying Julian doesn’t have a spine before she storms off. Frederica then calls Julian and says he’s received a request for a meeting from Mecklinger, which Julian how to respond to before even saying a word.
On November 16, Reuenthal received a message from the Empire informing him he was stripped of his rank and post, and then Mittermeyer requested one last conversation with him. Mittermeyer starts by asking him if he would visit the Kaiser with him. Reuenthal says he doesn’t want to fight him, but that he would be unable to fight Reinhard without fighting him first. He then tells Mittermeyer that he understands he was born to fight against the Kaiser and to fulfill himself doing so. Mittermeyer then promises his own life to defend Reuenthal and says that Reinhard has changed things by detaining Lang. Reuenthal declines and says that he can’t take the high road like Mittermeyer. He thinks about telling Mittermeyer about how he feels Reinhard desires a strong opponent before he starts asking him to join him saying it wouldn’t be bad for the two of them to split up the universe. Mittermeyer then accuses him of drunk on blood-tainted dreams, and he asks what will happen once he wins. Reuenthal says that it is his dream alone, and then says that there is no further point continuing the conversation. Reuenthal says goodbye after asking Mittermeyer to take care of Reinhard before ending the call.
And for what may be the last time, the two friends talk to each other and neither gets what they want out of the call. I’m beginning to wonder if Reuenthal is beginning to craft his desire to fulfill himself fighting Reinhard as a way to disguise the fact that he wants to destroy himself in the most glorious way possible. Mittermeyer, to his despair, has to take the high road here and fight him, even as he can see right through his friend.
While reacting angrily to the call, Mittermeyer continued to think strategy against his friend. Reuenthal had few defectors as those serving under him admired his brilliance as an admiral. The common soldiers though worried about what they were fighting against, then what they were fighting for. However, they all knew they would have to face the Gale Wolf as Reuenthal tried to get the victory he needed to face the battle he truly wanted.
Thoughts: So it’s all setup for a battle between Reuenthal and Mittermeyer. I’d have to go for the latter as Reuenthal’s men are likely to ditch him at the first sign of trouble. Mecklinger’s meeting with Julian should be interesting on an intellectual level as I’m sure yet another Imperial admiral will come away impressed by Yang’s protege, even though his own men see him differently.