Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace note
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace note ?
My proverbial hat is off in honor of the feat that the 12th episode of this series has pulled off. Even though I knew, from seeing spoilers, about Faker and Doctor Heartless, I in no way anticipated the full extent of the deception that was taking place or the way it ultimately played out. This episode took not just the culmination of this story arc, but the series as a whole, and distilled it into a fun and exciting jaunt through action, mysticism, and revelations that was only slightly held back by exposition.
While last episode did end with Caules being encircled by magic, I could not come up with a reason why he would be the culprit, so I assumed all week that the magic was for some purpose other than imprisoning him. That Caules had been replaced from the beginning by a Mage using shape-changing magic had never even occurred to me. That reveal was just the first of a load of nifty twists that the episode delivers, such as the reveal that Adashino was covertly working with Waver (who she looked up from her book to see in a brief scene a couple of episodes back), or that the task that Felt and Svin were assigned to was rescuing Caules and working with Luvia to magically slingshot him with Reines on a flying broom out to the Rail Zeppelin. It makes sense that the culprit was the former head of Modern Magecraft, as it explains how the theft could have happened, and connecting Dr. Heartless's actions to earlier events in the series establishes better continuity. Yvette being part of the scheme was also completely unexpected.
The episode also finally explains the fake Hephastion's true identity. She's a new class of Servant called Faker, who I believe was manifested via an artificial Grail. She was the unnamed and forgotten twin sister of the real Hephastion, which was an eye-popper of a twist, but that also makes sense in its own way. I also appreciated the series addressing the inconsistency of Iksander's physical appearance in Fate/Zero with his historical descriptions, noting that Hephastion, despite the gender change, is actually more similar in appearance to descriptions of Iksander in historical records. Waver's involvement being needed to trigger the artificial Grail was a neat bit of manipulation as well, giving a firmer motivation than just testing a successor's worthiness, and the roundabout method of getting Waver there would misdirect his suspicions about what was really going on.
Those revelations aren't all that this episode has going for it; this is also a smorgasbord of fantastic magical applications. The magical slingshot was great fun to watch, even though that scene only lasted a couple seconds, and the explanation surrounding it was just as entertaining. From there, it's a smorgasbord of fun ideas. Karabo regaining his Mystic Eyes and exploiting them for his own benefit, the same way that they were used in the murders? (The effect reminds me of Integrity Knight Bercouli's Time-Splitting Sword in Sword Art Online: Alicization.) Mystic Eyes being loaded up into the engine of the Rail Zeppelin to create a cannon to blast through the Child of Einnashe? Waver tossing the charm from Trisha at just the right time to disrupt Mystic Eyes targeting Gray? Olga Marie's meteor spell? And for the grand finale that played through the credits, we got Gray's final-stage release of the Rhonomyniad, complete with the checklist of conditions that have to be met.
The way the episode cuts off indicates that there will be one final episode to wrap things up. However, I think Melvin well got his money's worth with this show. Even with the slight pacing lags factored in, this is easily one of the most thrilling episodes of any series I've seen all season.
Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace note is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.
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