It seems like this show is settling into its pattern of choice: action, exposition, action, exposition and so on. Hopefully, at some point we’ll run out of exposition and get some plot progression but for now this is a comfortable pace. The exposition and explanations of what exactly is going on is useful though it feels like there are big chunks that are unexplained right now. This episode also drops a couple of major hints about our other antagonists while revealing small nuggets of information about our main characters.
Following the stalemate at the cemetery the previous night, Shirou was injured but apparently has self-healing powers. I’m fairly sure that self-healing is on the extremely short list of magic that Shirou said he knows how to perform in the first episode so I’m guessing that this is someone external healing him. It could be Rin as an apology for Archer hitting him, though there’s nothing to indicate this. It could be Illya but she seems to dislike Shirou, wanting him to suffer in Kiritsugu’s place. This tells us two things: she knows who Shirou is because of Kiritsugu and that she has some grudge against the latter. Now, is it all a misunderstanding, or are we missing out on some crucial information? My money is on the latter, but I’m sure we’ll find out more soon enough. Speaking of Illya though, the overpowered Berserker’s weakness is revealed! Apparently, he can restore himself once every three days. This means that Illya’s retreat the other night wasn’t just because she was ‘bored’ but also tactical – another hit like that and I’m guessing Berserker could have died or at least taken some serious damage. Her servants disagree though – they seem to be of the opinion that she could have killed one or both of them at this point, which I agree with. Still, it’s good to see that there was a proper (ish) reason behind the events of the tail end of the episode.
In other news, this Kuzuki character is definitely up to no good. Saber says he’s no mage, but I’ll bet good money that he’s either a Master or a Servant. I mean, look at that expression! Plus, there’s absolutely no reason to feature a random character to that extent (and discuss him afterwards) if he isn’t directly relevant to the plot. On top of that, didn’t Rin mention that there is another Master in the school that she didn’t know about? It could totally be him! In any case, it’s possible that he is Lancer’s master since we first see Lancer hanging around in school and it wouldn’t be that weird for a teacher to be there that late either. Also, it would make sense for the teacher to set up the death field (I forgot the exact term) in the school because he can monitor it there without looking suspicious. It totally fits, you guys!
There are other bits of new informaiton delivered to us. We learn the names of the other three classes, namely Caster, Assassin and Rider. We get some hints about Caster’s activities but Rider and Assassin are total mysteries to us right now. Or are they? That blonde dude from the last episode totally had an Assassin vibe to him, though I guess I could picture him as a Rider too, whatever that would mean. Are there even famous ‘Riders’ in history? What does that mean, in the first place? People famous for riding things? I can’t think of a single one. Like seriously, not a single one. Anyway, it turns out Caster is behind the ‘gas leaks’ and it’s either some kind of radioactive gas that is turning people into lizard skeletons (?) or those are Caster’s minions, because we all know that summoning magic is definitely a Caster skill in most MMOs.
What about the characters themselves? Has characterization ended now that we’re four episodes in? No, not at all! Let’s take a look at Shirou. We see just how big a deal that fire still is in his life – even his pretty classmate (see above) points out how Shirou seems depressed and traumatized. I hadn’t really gotten that extreme a vibe from him, to be honest, but it’s not impossible either. He’s a good person but he is also a serious one, despite wackiness of his ‘family’ (referring to Fujimura and Sakura). Meanwhile, Rin needs to get her head sorted out. On one hand, she wants to be this badass pragmatist who takes no prisoners and shows no mercy but on the other hand, her moral core is too strong; she doesn’t kill an injured Shirou and she is angry that Caster had dragged innocent people into the conflict. Archer, who is a badass pragmatist, is clearly not happy with the way Rin is proceeding though I wonder if he’s ever going to do anything but complain about it?