While Subaru managed to avoid the infamous white whale in previous lives in which he failed to save anyone, this week his luck really runs out. There’s no escape from the whale, and all Rem can think of is to try to draw it away, an action that will likely result in her death but has a chance of saving Subie, along with Otto.
Of course, Subaru doesn’t want Rem to go, but she overrules his objection with a chop to the neck and jumps out of the wagon. That’s when things get weird…er.
Not moments after they were talking about Rem, Otto acts as if he’s never heard of her before; as if the whale swallowed up not just Rem but everyone’s memory of her…except Subie’s, naturally. It’s yet another reason for people to think he’s gone off his rocker…and he has. No one of Subaru’s background would be expected to endure the repeated suffering and death of those he loves with such frequency and still have a chance of retaining one’s mental faculties.
Once Otto suspects the whale is after Subie, he shoves him off the wagon. An injured Subaru manages to find a ground dragon that takes him to the village where his kid friends are there to greet him, alive and well.
So this time he made it to the mansion in time, but the situation is worse than Rem being dead, because no one, even Ram, has ever heard of her. The episode is ruthless in showing a momentary glimpse of a maid with blue hair until it’s revealed to be the twin not in love with Subie.
Rem aside, there is nothing Subaru can do to stop the massacre that’s about to happen. Emilia is more than patient (and still very concerned) about Subie, but all he can manage is to rave to her about how no one will be saved, and if she just comes with him everything will work out.
Subie even attempts to tell Emilia about Return by Death, threat of having his heart squished be damned. Only this time the demonic hands don’t close around his heart when he says the words: they close around Emi’s, killing her in his arms.
He awakes to a blood-colored night, where Beatrice is there, preparing to defend the mansion. Unwilling to kill Subie as he demands, she teleports him to the forest, so that he can find his own death, out of her sight. Pretty grim.
Of course, once back in that damn forest, it doesn’t take long for Betelgeuse to show up with his cultist pals. He uses the same “unseen hands” that killed Emilia to separate him from her and threaten to tear her corpse apart, but a shower of ice daggers stays his unseen hands.
It’s the signature attack of a giant Puck, who, now that I see him in silhouette, was the beast that beheaded Subaru in episode 15, calling Emilia his daughter and asking Betelgeuse what he thinks he’s doing.
If you asked me back in the first half of the show if Emilia’s adorable little animate Beanie Baby of a familiar would end up playing a role like this, I’d have said you were crazy. But we live in crazy, messed-up Re:Zero times.