The 4th episode sees a conclusion that is somewhat unsatisfying for all parties, but represents the best possible outcome for all concerned. Reinhard returns to Herder and urges an attack on the Alliance base. Herder agrees to it as he was under pressure to deliver results both militarily and to the court. Reinhard sees through the plans and sets a trap of his own which nearly works out to perfection. However, Imperial law sees to it that he would have to wait to get his revenge on Benemunde.
The episode begins with Reinhard going through a debriefing by Herder. Reinhard sticks to information obtained by the Alliance and never mentions the attempt on his life in the last episode. Herder assumes this means Reinhard never figured out what happened, so thinking that it would be easier to kill Reinhard during a mission he goes along with the recommendation to attack the Alliance base.
After the meeting, Kircheis is concerned about Reinhard making himself a decoy. Reinhard, though, says that there are some risks that cannot be avoided. The next day, the base prepares for the counterattack with the common soldiers convinced that Herder is forced to do this to look good after nearly being routed by the Alliance.
Herder then calls Reinhard into his tank for a private meeting where he explains that he wants Reinhard and Kircheis to block a distant escape route for Alliance forces from the base. After that was clear, Kircheis would be sent back as a messenger to call Herder over. Most importantly, this would be done without radio communication. Reinhard returns to his own vehicle and tells Kircheis that the details of Herder’s plot to kill him.
The battle ensued and the Alliance held out for a while before their utter lack of mobility meant that Herder’s forces held the upper hand. Reinhard and Kircheis eventually reached a certain spot before they split up. As Kircheis fought through some Alliance soldiers, Reinhard set about creating a trap of his own. Herder arrived on his own and spotted a figure that appeared to be Reinhard and shot him. Upon inspecting the body, he discovered that it was snow filling Reinhard’s armor.
Reinhard then popped out of a snow mound and told Herder he anticipated exactly what he would do. Herder then fired at Reinhard and took cover, before his experience began to get the upper hand on Reinhard. Herder revealed his inspiration for wanting to go through with this plot; he wanted to return home so he could see his family again rather than being stuck on an ice world. As Reinhard’s future promotion was secured because of Annerose’s position, he thought Reinhard couldn’t understand. Reinhard then tried to attack, but as he jumped to fire his gun, Herder hit him in the hand. Reinhard reached for his gun with the other hand, but Herder stopped him and put his gun to Reinhard’s head.
Herder said it was the end of the road for Reinhard and a shot rang out. Reinhard was still alive and Herder fell to the ground clutching his wounded arm. Kircheis then ran out from behind a hill which allowed them to capture Herder. Reinhard pointed his gun at Herder and told him about how Benemunde was behind everything and that he would be needed as a witness. Herder said no one would believe Reinhard or Kircheis, who he said was almost Reinhard’s vassal.
Martel then approached the three men and said he would testify about what he had just heard. Kircheis had grabbed him to make sure they had another witness. Reinhard said Herder would face high treason charges which even Benemunde would be unable to avoid. After a couple of seconds, Herder realized the implications; mainly that his family would be killed as well. Herder then ran off screaming and leaped off a cliff taking his own life. Reinhard asked Martel to testify about what he had just heard, but he would only report that Herder died admirably in battle. He would also note the contributions of Reinhard and Kircheis, which would promote them to fleet service.
As Martel heads back to rejoin the rest of the Imperial forces, the narrator said that those promotions would come to pass. Unfortunately for Martel, he would perish six months later when the Alliance attacked the Imperial base. Kircheis apologized to Reinhard for the failure of their real objective, but Reinhard says it was enough that Kircheis saved his life. Reinhard then looks up and sees the gas giant Legmiza which was slowly pulling the planet in. The narrator tells us that Legmiza would be where Reinhard would meet his eternal rival. The two then agree that getting out into space should be their target for now.
Back on Odin, Benemunde is upset that Herder had failed to kill Reinhard more than the fact Herder had actually died. She then asks if they could send an assassin from their own camp to go after Reinhard as her servant tries to calm her down. Benemunde would again go after Annerose and Reinhard, but they would ultimately succeed in stopping her in the end.
Thoughts: Those were 4 well-executed episodes in my humble opinion. We got a look at everything that was wrong with internal Imperial affairs, while also witnessing the credible beginnings of a man of destiny in Reinhard. Thinking about how this was more entertaining than Spiral Labyrinth, I couldn’t help but think that it simply comes down to a case of reactive versus proactive. Reinhard takes the initiative throughout, whereas Yang and the other Alliance figures respond to events outside of their control.