Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace note
Episode 13

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 13 of
Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace note ?

I had to make my call on naming this series the runner-up as Best of Season before seeing this finale, a decision which always comes with some trepidation. The way this episode plays out validates to me that I made the right choice.

After the spectacle that was episode 12, the finale is a true denouement, a calm episode which wraps up at least some of the loose ends from the Rail Zeppelin arc and brings the season's overall themes to a highly satisfying conclusion. The one disappointing factor is the revelation that Gray's blast at the end of last episode didn't finish off Dr. Heartless or Faker, or even bring them to serious harm; presumably the “overturn thyself” statement Gray is shown hearing in the brief flashback had everything to do with that. Still, we do get the formal revelation that Dr. Heartless is Adashino's brother-in-law, and that her actions and reason for cooperating with Waver might have been to draw Heartless out. That revelation is welcome, since her motives in that whole affair otherwise seemed thin.

There are a lot of other details to clear up before getting to the true finale. Olga Marie and Reines get to meet and look like they could be “besties” going forward. It's a pairing that feels right even though their personalities are very different; as good a character as Waver is, I'd welcome a spin-off featuring Reines and Olga. Svin also advances to rank Pride, which for those not steeped in Fate lore means that he's now the third-highest ranking of Mage recognized by Clock Tower. (To put this in perspective, he's considered to be on the same level as Zouken Matou, the Matou family head seen in Fate/Zero.) Still, Waver not appreciating that having multiple students surpass him in rank is actually a major feather in his cap seems a little sad. Yvette apparently got consideration by blithely cooperating with the investigation, so she's still around to continue her attempts to become Waver's mistress. Interestingly but not too surprisingly, Reines is also revealed to be capable of holding her liquor better than Waver. Is magic at work there, perhaps? Melvin's conversation with Gray about Waver also fills in some holes, such as how Waver was able to shoulder the El-Melloi family's debt and what might await him once Reines comes into her majority and takes over the family name.

But the episode's real treat comes at the end, after the culminating revelation that the events and conversations of the series have led Waver to drop out of consideration for participation in the Fifth Holy Grail War. (Something like this had to happen given that Waver is known to not participate in that event, but seeing his decision be the summation of his experiences and discussions in the series is gratifying.) Given how this series has played out, Waver meeting Iksander (while looking out at the ocean he always wanted to see) in his dreams is the perfect way to finalize the story in an emotional way. There are some wonderful visual choices here, whether it's Waver's younger self being reflected in Iksander's eye or the perspective on various different Wavers lined up in chronological order as he talks about the path to getting where he is now. This is his final acceptance that, to fulfill the mission that Iksander gave him shortly before he died, he must not dwell on the past anymore and instead focus forward. The only proper way to wrap up after that is to show Waver going to the place where everyone agrees he most belongs: the classroom.

And so, one of the most fun series I've seen this year comes to a conclusion. I don't know if there's enough source material out there to adapt another season, but if so, I would welcome it. The Fate franchise as a whole has been very hit-or-miss, but this is definitely one of the “hits.”

Rating:

Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files {Rail Zeppelin} Grace Note is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.


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