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Fate/Zero - "The Grail Dialogue" - Episode 11 Recap

After a fun side story with Rin Tohsaka last week, episode eleven
returns to the main event of the Holy Grail War. Rider apparently has a
different idea for this war though, believing no bloodshed is actually
necessary. He gathers the three kings – himself, Saber and Archer – to
have a dialogue regarding the Grail and who is most worthy to obtain it.
Surprisingly this actually happens, with the three sitting down in a
garden and sharing wine as they discuss what they wish to obtain from
the Grail. During this, Rider and Saber get into a heated discussion regarding what a
King should and should not be like. Rider ultimately decides that Saber
is not a King, but a “lost little girl.” Their discussion is interrupted
by Assassin, who appears and beckons for a fight. Rider uses this
opportunity to show just how powerful he is.

Those who have
complained about the excessive dialogue in Fate/Zero will most likely
not enjoy this episode, because there is a lot of talking. Personally I
think bringing the three kings together is genius, as it explores their
various motivations and differences in ruling. Rider barging into
Saber’s “castle” and requesting a meeting is completely in character.
When he tells her he wishes to merely talk and drink (as he hoists a
barrel of wine on his shoulder) it’s just another display of how awesome he
is. He clearly relies on impulse rather than thought, but this works for
him and it gives him the ability to command. Rider finds the fighting
pointless, since the Grail will only present itself to the most worthy
servant. If the servants can discern who the highest rank is, then why
bother killing each other? In theory it makes sense, but a whole war
based on dialogue wouldn’t make for good entertainment.

Saber
accepting Rider’s gesture to talk was surprising, but Archer showing up was even more so. Since Archer calls the other two
pretenders, it is curious that he would take the time to talk with them. As the episode goes on, it seems that he’s doing it to entertain himself. When he first enters the stage he finds Rider’s wine to be distasteful, so he uses his noble phantasm to summon a drink worthy of a true king. We learn that Archer has
no real interest in the Grail or the wish it will grant. He simply claims that
all treasures were once his, so anyone who would attempt to take the grail
is a thief. Due to the laws he laid down as King, he must administer
punishment to anyone who would attempt to steal his treasure. As for Rider, he wants the grail to grant his wish of true incarnation in the
present. He wishes to defy both Heaven and Earth with nothing but his
body.

The revelation of this wish shows how different Rider and Saber are. While Rider wishes for true conquest
through incarnation, Saber wishes to avert Britain’s destruction by erasing her own marks on history. She believes that a king should make
any sacrifice for his country, but Rider says the opposite – that a
country must offer itself to the king. The two get into an argument over whether a king should be a tyrant and ultimately, Rider
overwhelms Saber. He yells at her and tells her that a king without
greed is worse than a figurehead, claiming that by regretting her rule
she is mocking all those who served her.

Just before things
get too heated, Assassin suddenly appears at the scene. Rider offers
Assassin a cup of wine, but it is declined and Rider decides to show Saber
what a true king is like. He creates a reality marble of a land where
his armies once marched on. This also conjures his armies, consisting of heroic spirits serving Iskander the Great. He orders them to annihilate the many entities of Assassin, which they do. The music during the
unveiling Rider’s noble phantasm is absolutely amazing, giving his
speech such power that you can’t help but be taken aback by his sheer
supremacy. I have to say Assassin has proved to be a terrible servant.
He/she/it has been spotted/discovered a few times and when they make a
move, they are immediately overwhelmed. Is Assassin out of the game? It
remains to be seen, since one or two could have easily stayed behind. At the end of the battle Rider takes off, telling Saber that he no
longer recognizes her as a King. Archer also leaves the garden, but
tells Saber to keep following her path and that she may prove worthy of
his love.

“The Grail Dialogue” proved to be a very fascinating
episode. Having the three kings come together was enlightening and really just a cool concept. It was light on action, but the end sequence
with Rider more than made up for that. Now that we have had a dialogue
between the three, it would be great to see them involved in a three way
fight later. I don’t believe that will happen, but a battle between Rider and
Saber seems likely. I have to say I find myself worried for Saber.
Archer and Rider both have a noble phantasm that seems to give them an
endless supply of weapons or warriors, while she just has a powerful sword.
Hopefully she is resourceful and will be able to show Rider why she should
be recognized as a king.

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