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Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing - "Weak Square" Recap

With only one ship left until their agreement with Tatiana is fulfilled,
Fam and company aim to capture a fleet of eight ships being transported
from the north.


Up until now, this show has been hampered by a dearth of genuine tension thanks to a vexing inconsistency. On the one hand our heroes have been capturing ships and engaging in aerial derring-do with rather casual ease, while elsewhere we’re meant to perceive the villainous Ades Federation as an overwhelming threat. Fortunately “Weak Square” goes a long way toward addressing this shortcoming, marking a hopeful serious shift that really ought to persist.


 

This episode begins by following up on the sinister events taking place within the Ades Federation, making it rather clear that Sara Augusta is a well-meaning, well-loved but naive figurehead. After many members of nobility were “purged” under trumped up accusations of disloyalty the Federation promptly went about seizing all of their wealth and property, extending the punishment to their families as well. Sara Augusta calmly explains this to her people via a public address, claiming that the money will be put to good use and restating her commitment to unifying the world and resettling people in their native lands. Afterward though she breaks down in front of a taken aback Vasant, blaming herself and her leadership for the purge, sobbing that if she had been a better ruler like her mother the nobles would surely not have betrayed her country. Elsewhere Premier Hafez talks military strategy, noting that the stage is set for them to invade land north of the Sacred Lake. One territory in that area poses a challenge though, the powerful and isolationist nation of Glacies. Elsewhere Tatiana contemplates this state of affairs aboard the Silvius, musing that Glacies’ hostility to all outsiders will make it extremely difficult to ally with them against the Federation.

While these matters of politics and war are pondered Fam & Giselle move to intercept eight vessels seized by the Federation in the aftermath of the purge, though they encounter their fellow sky pirates en route. They’re out in force with the same target in mind, but the reunion doesn’t remain happy for long. The pirates attack the convoy only to discover that it was bait for a trap sprung by the Federation’s 3rd fleet, and it’s all they can do just to survive and get away thanks to some quick thinking on Fam’s part. Though they had the option to go with their fellows and return to their home at Kartoffel, Fam elects to return to the Silvius and fulfill her commitment. Unfortunately they realize too late that they’ve been tailed by the Federation’s 1st fleet, which promptly demands that the Silvius hand over Princess Millia.


The primary plot here challenges Fam & her allies like never
before in a tense, flashy and prolonged action sequence that renders “Weak Square” the most exciting episode yet, and we get a nasty cliffhanger for next time. Fundamentally though, this is really about Giselle and her doubts. As Fam’s navigator she expresses to Millia that she is the part of the piloting duo that provides the intellect and the judgment, but she fails to perceive the Federation’s trap and chastises herself for it. When the pirate fleet is under severe pressure and her father’s ship is taking fire Giselle starts to panic, but Fam keeps a level head and deduces a means to escape. Earlier in the episode Giselle questions what they will do once their pact with Tatiana is fulfilled and Millia has her fleet, remarking that she misses their home and worries about how her family and the kids at home are doing. But given the chance to walk away from their fight after a crushing defeat, Fam stays the course. Though Giselle goes along with it, she’s clearly not happy about it. Giselle’s shortcomings and her disagreements with Fam are serious issues that could threaten their partnership, but here Giselle keeps her discontent to herself rather than even attempt to deal with it. That will have to change, and it should be interesting to see how these matters will work out when it does.

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