It’s a testament to Re:Zero’s balanced, fiercely confident storytelling that even though it felt like this week would no longer have the element of surprise (since I was reasonably certain things would reset again at the end of this week), it still excelled at differentiating the path Subaru takes in this go-around.
This episode continued to develop the chemistry between Subie, Ram, Rem, and Emilia, as well as building up suspense for the possibility of things not resetting after all, before delivering yet another bombshell at the very end, proving the show never lost its ability to surprise to begin with.
Considering everything is sure to reset again, one could be forgiven for wondering the point of Subaru experiencing all the lovely and often funny slice-of-life moments with his fellow mansion-mates. Whatever inroads he makes could be wiped out in an instant.
Yet, for some reason, just as Subie is determined not to be disheartened and simply continue down the same path as next time (hoping to stick it to who-or-whatever it is that’s “doing this to him”), it doesn’t feel like a waste at all.
Part of that is that the character interactions are so good, no matter who he’s talking to. But he’s also retaining everything along with us (he’ll be able to read and write better next time), which will theoretically make each go-around that much easier, since the mistakes he made in past go-arounds could be avoided.
While another reset was in the cards, it wouldn’t come before we and Subaru learned a little more about why exactly a reset happened in the mansion to begin with. Even before that, it’s heartening to know that Emilia is fundamentally Emilia, Ram is Ram, Rem is Rem, etc., no matter how many resets occur. He’ll have no trouble making his promise to Emilia in any go-around.
The problem is making it to the next day to keep that promise. After forcing himself to stay awake all night, the room starts to shift and undulate, causing intense nausea. Is it a side-effect of Return By Death, or was he drugged? Then, when he apparently fights his nausea and wanders the mansion seeking help, he is seemingly attacked by someone or something making a very distinctive rattling sound.
The show is very coy about what’s going on (not wrongly so, as it adds to suspense), but it’s looking very likely to me that the reason Subaru reset at the end of last week was that he was murdered in his sleep. That would make this a Murder Mystery Mansion, with the clever twist of the detective being the victim. It changes the complexion of his next reset when he could, at some point throughout the next go-around, come face-to-face with the person who sliced his arm off and killed him.
It could be Beatrice. It could be Lord Roswaal. It could even be one of the angelic maids who flank him the moment he wakes up. I’m confident we have a few general answers, yet the central tantalizing mystery remains afoot here, and I absolutely can’t wait to see Subaru solve it and break through this next barrier…if he can.