Tales of Zestiria the X
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 24 of
Tales of Zestiria the X (TV 2) ?
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I have to wait a month to find out what happens next? When this episode ended on a terrible cliffhanger, as Sorey tried to armatize with all four remaining Seraphim in order to overcome the curse laid upon Heldalf by the previous Shepherd, that was just mean.
Of course, there's some similarity in the (probably not intentional) cruelty of having to wait until the end of April for the final episode of Tales of Zestiria the X and the actions that caused this whole Lord of Calamity mess in the first place. When Sorey, armatized with Lailah, attacks Heldalf, the two are granted a vision of the final days of the previous Shepherd, Michael. Heldalf was once considered his friend, and Michael, retired from Shepherding, asked him to watch over the town of Camlann (presumably a reference to King Arthur's mythic Camelot), so that it might become a place of peace where humans and Seraphim can all come together and get along. Sadly for Michael, Heldalf has other plans, and the town becomes the scene of a horrible battle between the two countries, resulting in not only the corruption of one of the original five creators of the world (who takes the form of a lovely crystalline dragon), but also in the deaths of hundreds, including Michael. Michael's fall is actually two-fold – not only does he die, but he does so cursing Heldalf to eternal loneliness as a punishment for what he has wrought, and he uses not only his own life, but also that of his infant nephew to do it.
There's a horrible parallel to Velvet's story here, where Arthur's sacrifice of her younger brother caused this whole mess to start in the first place, something that we have to assume Michael knew. It's a mark of his desperation and anger at Heldalf's betrayal that he'd follow the same path – assuming that the final episode reveals that the child did die as a result. Given the circlet Michael takes from his sister's head before charging into the burning church, I'm not entirely certain that we've seen the full picture, and Sorey did have to come from somewhere. (Nor would I discount time flowing differently in a Seraphim village; it would fit with the fairy lore of the Arthurian myths.) Regardless, it's a terrible realization for both Sorey and Lailah, and it makes the entire group more determined to succeed than ever before – hence the attempted group armatization.
Speaking of armatization, there's a nice surprise this week when Alisha successfully armatizes with Mikleo and Rose with Edna. They don't make a big deal out of it, but it really shows how strong both women have become. (Plus Alisha looks amazing.) It feels like a good indication that Sorey's group will win out in the end, not just because they're the good guys, but because they may actually be stronger than anyone suspected, including Lailah and Zaveid. Part of that may come from the fact that Sorey never really doubted what he was supposed to do. He's always known that it wouldn't be easy, and he's had some moments of questioning, but for the most part, he's been on this journey to defeat Heldalf and get back Edna's brother. It's a plan he's never wavered from, and when he has his moment of pity at the start of this episode, Rose snaps (slaps) him out of it quickly. Of course, this doesn't allow for any more mourning of Dezel, but now isn't the time for that if they want to get the job done.
This leaves us back where I began – with a whole month to wait for the finale. Will Sorey triumph? Probably, but what (and who) will it cost? Can Michael's repetition of the act that pushed Velvet over the edge really be rectified? If Heldalf is saved, will he lose his fabulous new hair? Prepare yourself to wait, because we'll have plenty of time to wonder how happy of an ending we're going to get.
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