And there goes the last remaining Master-Servant pairing I loved.
The twenty-third episode of Fate Apocrypha opens with the only remaining legit Master and Servant pair, Mordred and Kairi, walking through the corridors of the hanging gardens towards Semiramis chamber. They talk about what they’ll do after the war, concluding they’d have a banquet before a serious talk emerges on the topic of what a good king would be. Then they reach the point of now return as the doors open and they confront her, only to find that its a trap as the room is immediately filled with poison.
Mordred manages to kick her Master out before the door seals shut, but when he tries to have her return via Command Seal Semiramis reveals that she managed to disable them since Shirou gave her insight into how to do so beforehand. So Mordred is at a disadvantage from the poison and then has to deal with constant laser fire, chains dragging her, and a poisonous snake of some kind trying to eat her.
As if that isn’t bad enough, Semiramis manages to block her Noble Phantasm and counters with her own that turns everything around her into Hydra poison (originally meant for Chiron) that leaves Mordred screaming in pain. Since she’s all-but won, Semiramis then tries to coax Mordred into killing Kairi and becoming her knight in exchange for fulfilling her wish. No doubt due to having a similar backstory where she also killed the king to usurp his rule and thus finding her interesting.
Mordred then thinks on her wish, which was the chance to draw the sword that determined the King. She sees in it Artoria’s decision to draw it (along with Merlin) and how her father met a horrible end by her hands. From that she draws her own conclusion that she wanted to save Artoria from her isolation, as once she drew that sword people stopped seeing her as a human and only the infallible King who couldn’t showcase any emotion.
From that, she decides to pick herself up and asks Kairi to assist her in defeating the Semiramis no matter what. She then breaks open the door so he can enter and he does so with an antidote for the Hydra poison he made from the one he took as payment from the Mage’s Association. He takes some bad shots in the process, but gives her the antidote in time to allow her to fight back as Semiramis calls forth Bashum, a demonic beast of the Goddess Tiamat.
Backed by a Command Seal, Mordred cuts it down along with Semiramis’ spiritual core in a single strike. So Semiramis is on borrowed time at this point. However, it wasn’t without a price. Those wounds that Kairi took were fatal, so he’ll be dying in a matter of seconds as well and that means Mordred will vanish too without a Master since she won’t abandon him either.
So, accepting that they’re both going to die, Mordred and Kairi have a final talk and smoke where they talk about what they’ve come to realize in the end and what they truly wanted before perishing.
Jeanne then makes it to the Greater Grail where she runs into Shakespeare. It’s made abundantly clear he won’t win a head-on fight, so he instead uses his Noble Phantasm on her as Seig heads towards them without Rider. In the illusion, she’s forced to confront her past but doesn’t break under it no matter what. Her faith is unshaken, knowing she lost her right to a peaceful death the moment she raised her banner.
But then Shakespeare plays on her growing feelings for Sieg by showing him burning at the stake in her place and claiming that she feels that she believes his death is on her hands. For the final act, he shows her Gilles de Rais’ castle and the man himself in the form of a Servant (which is technically true). Of course, he then shows her he has Sieg’s head, which again hits her in the heart when he calls out that she who has received a revelation must treat all humans equally, but she treats him differently.
From there he’s basically trying to break her mind and heart in the process while the Leticia is telling her otherwise and she’s basically down for the count as the episode ends.
Mordred vs. Semiramis was one of the best fight scenes to date, if only because unlike the last episode I could actually see what was happening. Semiramis reminded me of Gilgamesh and Medea too, which was a bonus. You could see the Gilgamesh in how she was sitting down and observing the struggle to reach her with amusement all the same. Yet, like Medea, once she has her restrained she tries to make Mordred succumb and serve her.
It bites her in the ass in the end as that attack she received damaged her spiritual core, so she’s screwed no matter what, but she ultimately managed to get rid of Kairi and Mordred, removing them from the equation.
I honestly liked the Master-Servant pairing of Kairi and Mordred even more than the others, with the exception being Caules and Berserker. You can see in both cases hows the partners benefited from working together and came to realize something about each other. So I’m really sad to see them both go.
Then we get to the second half. While I did appreciate Jeanne once again affirming that she considers her fate to be one that she walked into willingly and she’s not the Saint others proclaim her to be, her getting caught up in it by Sieg kind of pissed me off.
Gilles, I could understand. those who don’t know, Gilles is the Caster of Fate Zero and a child-murdering monster who summons a Cthullu-like monster. He basically went nuts because of the betrayal and Jeanne’s death, which is something that should leave her feeling more guilt over since he could claim that she didn’t think about how her death would affect those left behind and closest to him.
Not going to lie, I find the Sieg and Jeanne pairing weak as hell. It makes for a poor excuse as to why she’s being mind-raped by Shakespeare of all Servants and leaves me wondering if he hadn’t been using his Noble Phantasm to write it into existence in the first place. That’d be a twist I can get behind.
Anyway, the series is almost over and there’s still the matter of Shirou, so I’ll be following it to the end. Here’s to the next episode.