The 105th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes sees a riot break out at Ragpool Prison leading to consequences throughout the Empire. Order breaks down at the prison leading to the spread of attacks beyond the prison, and creating discord in the Imperial ranks. At the edge of the Iserlohn Corridor, Julian and company choose to hold off on visiting Heinessen. Reinhard’s arrival into the picture brings order to the situation, which worries Bittenfeld among others.
The episode begins on Heinessen on the night of April 16th. Reinhard had ordered Oberstein not to abuse any of the political prisoners, but the order came too late, as a riot broke out at Ragpool Prison in the suburbs of Heinessenpolis. As the riot of 5,000 prisoners gained in intensity, soldiers were dispatched to handle the situation, which only created more confusion. The Black Lancers chose to dispatch themselves without orders, which led the military police to be concerned they would free Bittenfeld in the confusion, so they elected to block the roads they were taking and turn them away.
With Bittenfeld still under house arrest, the activities of the Black Lancers was monitored closely as they confronted the barricade set up by the military police. Harbarschdat escalated the situation by telling the police how much better the Black Lancers were at fighting than the desk jockeys in the military police. Then, he said he would force his way through, which the head of police invited him to try. Just as Harbarschdat was about to give the order, Ferner arrived and successfully diffused the situation.
Ferner ended up leading the Black Lancers and military police to the prison. With sheer numbers making it difficult for the police, they were ordered by their leader to shoot anyone who resisted or ran away. Ferner told Hauptman that it would be difficult to negotiate with Iserlohn if the prisoners were abused, but the composition of Imperial forces at the prison made it difficult to command, so he advised a withdrawal and to surround the prison to force a surrender. Then, Ferner was shot in the arm by one of the prison guards accidentally. With no clear figure in command, the individual units at the prison went about suppressing the prisoners in their own way. The end result was the death of 1,084 of the prisoners with another 3,109 injured, 317 uninjured prisoners remained, while the remaining prisoners were unaccounted for. On the Imperial side, 158 were dead with another 907 injured. Medical units had been called in by Ferner before they went in, but after his injury, the command structure broke down to the extent that the medical teams saw no one for three hours leading to greater loss of life.
The leadership dynamics at play here are rather interesting and shows that Oberstein had a greater grasp of the situation than the resulting mess would indicate. By sending Ferner in, he tries to bring his pragmatism to a tense situation while not giving the Black Lancers someone they would want to rebel against. The fact that it all goes to hell when Ferner is injured probably shows what would have happened the entire time if Oberstein were not in charge.
The next day, the situation escalated outside of the prison as fires and explosions became the order of the day in Heinessenpolis. As Wahlen was out investigating the fires in a residential area, a sniper set his sights on him, but missed before being fired on by other Imperial soldiers. At the same time, Müller was again refused a meeting with Oberstein, who could only have Guzman hand Müller a list of positions to secure rather than see him.
At 9:40 the next day, the situation at the prison had finally calmed down. Among the dead were Paeta and Oliveira. Sitolet and Murai were injured, but still alive. Examining the facts of the incident; the high average age of the prisoners and the fact that weapons were readily available to them, led to the immediate conclusion that the incident was planned by the Terraists. Müller was worried that the incident was intended to cause a split between the Empire and Iserlohn, who might come to see the incident as a massacre of innocent political prisoners. He therefore asked Drewentz to find someone with connections to Iserlohn among the injured. Müller found Murai’s name among the injured, but he remained unconscious and could not help build amity with Iserlohn. With the situation under control, Oberstein’s men moved in to take command of the situation, and with it, Müller’s ability to do anything beyond his authority disappeared.
That same day, the ships carrying and escorting the Iserlohn leadership reached the edge of the corridor to find that Imperial ships were completely absent. Attenborough expressed disappointment that he didn’t bring the full Iserlohn fleet, which Schenkopp says would have been rash. Julian is told this is a good opportunity by Attenborough, but he ultimately decides to slow down their movement out of caution. They then receive the information about the incident at the prison, and Schenkopp orders the ships to head back to Iserlohn since they were just asking to be assassinated when they arrived on Heinessen. Julian also says they would not have the ability to take the initiative in this situation.
As they headed back, one of their ships suffered an engine failure, and they were delayed. The next day, the repairs were completed, and the ships began to head back to Iserlohn when they were confronted by 100 Imperial ships. Attenborough, Schenkopp and then Nilsson began exchanging barbs on the luck of ships. As that was happening, the narrator tells the viewer that Attenborough was the rare Alliance officer who was promoted to Admiral in his 20s, who became a “revolutionary” after the collapse of the Alliance. If the Alliance had lived on, he would have been a different type of Fleet Admiral to Yang, with perhaps a better balance of hard and soft tactics. At the same time, Julian was reminiscing about the first time he met Attenborough, but shook it off by telling himself he shouldn’t do that about any of them.
I had probably not considered Attenborough that great an Admiral until this point. He just seemed to be a talented guy who contributed more to morale than tactics. Since Yang’s death, he’s pretty much come into his own as an admiral. Whether he is worthy of the praise given out by the narrator here is questionable in my opinion.
A day earlier, the fleets of Mecklinger, Eisenach, Mittermeyer along with Reinhard’s received the information about the incidents on Heinessen. Reinhard called Oberstein and furiously asked what he was doing, since dead and injured hostages can’t be used in negotiations. Oberstein could only agree with that statement before the communication cut out. Mecklinger, looking at the team of doctors that Hilde had urged Reinhard to take with him, could only think that Reinhard’s fevers were something they had grown used to since he never seemed to be losing his vigor. However, the narrator tells the viewer that even Mecklinger was unaware of the gravity of the situation.
Back at the edge of the corridor, Attenborough invited the Imperial ships to move closer before setting a quick retreat back toward Iserlohn. The Imperial ships began to give chase before they detected the Iserlohn fleet at the entrance, and set out on a quick retreat of their own. When asked what they should do now, Julian says they would cancel the trip to Heinessen. After taking Frederica back to Iserlohn out of safety concerns, the Iserlohn fleet remained ready for battle at the edge of the corridor and observed the events on the other side.
On April 29th, in advance of Reinhard’s arrival, Oberstein announced the details of his operation to “Dust Off Heinessen.” The arrest of Rubinsky was announced, and he would be sent to Phezzan to face a trial. A confused Wahlen asked Guzman how they found Rubinsky, but even he didn’t know. At the hospital, Ferner told Müller that it was the result of a long operation since Operation Ragnarok, and they only found him using medical records of non-existent patients. After searching each one individually, they finally found Rubinsky. Ferner then tells Müller that Rubinsky reportedly has a malignant brain tumor and would be unlikely to last beyond the year. As a result, he may have become sloppy in hiding his tracks as he rushed things.
On May 2nd, Reinhard arrived on Heinessen and was fairly indifferent to the arrest of Rubinsky. At the Art Institute, Bittenfeld and Oberstein waited for Reinhard. When he did arrive, Bittenfeld took the opportunity to apologize to Reinhard for his actions toward Oberstein which gave the impression of internal conflict within the Imperial forces. Then, he took the opportunity to criticize Oberstein for his actions and demeaning the admirals by pointing out their defeats to Yang. Reinhard stops him and calmly says that while he regrets never scoring a tactical victory over Yang, he doesn’t feel ashamed about it. Then, he asks Bittenfeld if he feels shame for losing to Yang and Bittenfeld can only meekly say he doesn’t. Reinhard then says the matter is settled. As he walks back, Bittenfeld can’t help but think that Reinhard has changed since he would have been scolded before. He also asks himself if that is a good thing for the Empire. Reinhard then orders Müller to invite the Iserlohn leadership to Heinessen again under his name. Müller asks what to do if they refuse, but Reinhard says they will not because it would be accepting responsibility for the bloodshed of the prisoners. Reinhard then tells Oberstein that since he will be negotiating with Iserlohn personally, that some people may want to interfere. He orders Oberstein to exterminate anyone who may try to do so, and Oberstein silently accepts. Finally, Reinhard orders the admirals to dinner that night before adjourning the meeting.
I think there are 2 things here that sum up just how much things have changed. Rubinsky’s capture happening off-screen shows just how little his character really matters to the events here. While he may have been battling for control with Reinhard early in the series, I don’t know if Reinhard ever really considered him a rival for power. Also, Bittenfeld hits Reinhard’s change exactly on the head, but I think he probably should have known before the 2nd invasion of the Alliance.
Bittenfeld and Mittermeyer then begin a conversation starting with the former asking if this is the final stage. He believes that Reinhard and Iserlohn would come to an agreement and there would ultimately be peace. Bittenfeld, though, wonders if that is a good thing, as he tells Mittermeyer that there is usually a big storm that comes as seasons change. Mittermeyer thinks about the situation and believes Iserlohn’s potential wouldn’t be large enough to involve the entire Empire. The Terraists, on the other hand, he believed they could. Mittermeyer then says that it was only Bittenfeld’s wish rather than a prediction, which Bittenfeld admits might be true, but Mittermeyer says it may not be his alone.
In early May, negotiations between Müller and Iserlohn began, eventually leading to the release of the prisoners at Ragpool. The feelings of hatred toward Oberstein had suddenly turned to appreciation of Reinhard. With Julian impressed by the concessions Reinhard made, he felt he had to go see him on Heinessen. He still wondered if Oberstein had planned for events to turn out this way all along.
So, Julian and his men headed off to Heinessen as envoys looking to begin a new era of peace in the universe. However, the next incident to shake the foundations of peace would happen on Phezzan with the Arson of Steineichepalme Schloss.
Thoughts: The conclusion of the series seems to be falling into a rather predictable pattern now. The episodes are concluding with cliffhangers, but I guess that was really the only way they could get as much of the stuff from the novels into the series as possible at the end.