No sooner does the Twin Maids arc conclude than the pieces are gathered for the next, one centered on the struggle to claim the throne. Those pieces include a grizzled chauffeur who is clearly more than a chauffeur, a catgirl emissary who turns out to be a guy for some reason, and the other young women vying for the crown, including one who was in my blind spot.
Meanwhile, all’s well at Roswaal’s mansion, and Rem is far more affectionate towards Subaru. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to show us much of Emilia and Subie’s date in the village, but I’m not complaining about the show’s efforts to move on to the next big storyline without dilly-dallying.
Subaru is able to accompany Emilia to the capital, but mostly so he can be treated by the catlike Felix, a skilled magician and healer. But we know why he’s really coming: to look after Emi-tan and make sure no more trouble befalls her. Emilia, for her part, would rather Subie take it easy after nearly being eaten by evil dogs so many times.
The return to the capital is marked both by reunions with old faces (the apple vendor; Old Man Rom) and new (the lovely but insufferably haughty Priscilla Barielle and her knight). Another knight kisses Emilia on the hand and sets Subie off, but I for one think he’s being a bit over-possessive throughout the episode. His heart’s in the right place, but don’t crowd the girl, Soobs.
Emilia tells Subaru to stay put when she answers the summons for the latest selection process at the palace, but Subie can’t obey, and Rem, now a solid friend, ally, and admirer, doesn’t make him stay, and even gives him her blessing. Emilia’s reaction to seeing him there—with rival to the throne Priscilla on his arm, no less—is understandable. She was really hoping Subaru would prove she can trust him not to go overboard for her sake. He had one job.
Sure, it’s not for her to say where Subaru should go and who he should meet with, but it’s also not Subaru’s job to watch and inspect every move she makes, either. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s looking like these two could use some space from each other, or a least some perspective. Who they are to one another, exactly, could help inform how they interact and avoid clashes of this nature.
Reinhard and Felt were conspicuous in their absence throughout much of the episode, as the last time we saw the two the former had knocked out and arrested the latter. I joined Subaru’s curiosity in what the heck actually went down with all that, and this episode gives us the answers we seek.
Felt is, like Emilia, Priscilla, and two others (one with a Kansai accent, somehow), a candidate for the throne. Not only that, she’s the one Reinhard will be rooting for to become queen. Felt’s entrance at the end is pretty badass, and the look in her face is appropriately bemused and overwhelmed.
Not only that, Felt is someone, like Emilia, I’ve always rooted for, but now they find themselves on different sides of a power struggle, with eager entourages and followers watching their every move. This should be interesting.
Subaru may not have Returned by Death in a long time—something that builds its own tension—but for now, that takes a backseat to more pressing issues of imperial rivalry and intrigue, just as Emilia was mostly on the margins of the Twin Maids arc. May the Best Girl win!