The 4th episode of this arc took on a very different tone and look from the previous episodes. While the annoyance with incompetent commanders still existed on both sides; Reinhard with Grimmelshausen and Luneberg and Schenkopp with Cerebrese, the tone was really about the future. Reinhard has to deal with continuing his duties as a subordinate while at the same time Schenkopp takes over as interim commander of the Rosenritter and puts his own stamp of authority on proceedings. By the end, the battle had begun on what would be a bloody day.
One of the primary themes here was the interaction between key players at different levels. Reinhard was shut out of a conversation by a triumphant Luneberg when asked for an opinion by Grimmelshausen. That act of insolence directed much of the hate that had been on Reinhard onto himself. After that meeting, Reinhard fumed but could not decided if Luneberg was a friend or foe. While he could mess up preparations for the assault on the base to try to damage Luneberg, Reinhard’s own pride prevented him from doing anything that would make him seen as incompetent. Later in the episode, his abilities in this regard are recognized both by Grimmelshausen and Luneberg with the latter offering to take Reinhard with him if he were to be promoted. The desire to succeed and to see his superior in this battle fail create a huge internal conflict.
On the other side, Schenkopp assumes command of a group of men that will almost literally follow him into Hell. However, he clashes with Cerebrese twice in this episode, but more out of pragmatism than personal feelings. He recognizes that Cerebrese isn’t cut out for front line command and tries to exert command over the entire base via the belief that others have in him.
So it’s really constructive antagonism versus destructive antagonism.
About halfway through the episode, things became rather philosophical with women and Schenkopp. There was a dramatic start to the proceedings as Schenkopp had bedded female soldier named Valery. After the sex was finished, they talked for a bit about marriage. Schenkopp simply doesn’t see himself as a family man, she knows it too based on her own experiences with men and exactly what he would say in that situation. She also knows just how many women would want to be with him. At first he comes off as uncaring, but that would change later.
After arguing with Cerebrese the first time, Schenkopp tries to fix Blumehart up with a woman so he can lose his virginity before the battle. However, Blumehart is fixated on meeting the right woman and getting married. Schenkopp pauses for a moment and then praises him for having an attitude like that and wishes him luck on finding a good woman in the future.
Later with the battle about to begin, Schenkopp sees Valery putting on a helmet and ready to enter the battle. Part of him wants her to go to a safe place, but the reality of the situation eventually takes hold because he can’t realistically tell her that. This was probably as deep an insight into Schenkopp as anything in the main series. He’s caught between his duties and the fact that he seems to fall in love with women quite easily. Blumehart, by contrast, doesn’t have that conflict. His job is a means to provide for a woman he may meet someday and marry. With that kind of clarity it’s easy to see how Schenkopp could feel jealous of his subordinate.
Thoughts: That was interesting from a character development perspective, but inevitably the battle has to begin. Schenkopp has to deal with a disorganized group of men. Reinhard has to deal with being the competent soldier serving under less able commanders in a real battle. Will Reinhard get a chance to shine before Bucock’s fleet arrives?