The second half of this episode took some huge risks. This series has been very composed in terms of acting; with some exceptions, the acting in this series was subdued and even during the over the top parts, the characters knew exactly how to act with just enough restraint whilst still giving off great performances. This episode drops that and descends into overblown melodrama. Not just to show how a character feels, but also vital to the story.
These are the moments when a character completely loses it. They’re not meant to be pretty, they just are about characters completely breaking down and looking very ugly in the process. This is incredibly hard to act right because it’s just all too easy to scream at the top of your lungs and do the most outrageous thing out there. Another key to this is willing suspension disbelief: as a viewer we really need to get the idea that these characters have broken down. Which is why I’m a bit puzzled that the creators chose to do this with the master who has gotten the least amount of airtime to get fleshed out so far. To be honest, that breakdown scene… it didn’t really hit me and looked more silly due to how little we actually know of these two people. It also felt like there was just too little build-up and aftermath for it. Tohsaka killed the woman, walked away and immediately we switch to Archer and Kirei sitting back and having some wine celebrating. It… doesn’t flow well.
Also, an observation that I made before this all happened: in the first season, Rider really was the stand-out character: his charisma and monologues were wonderful and it brought a lot of spark to the series. In the second season… this just doesn’t apply at all. He has been weakened and beaten pretty often, with in this episode him losing his chariot, in favor of characters as Kotomine Kirei and Kiritsugu. This can be quite interesting build-up if the final episodes know how to handle it.
Rating: * (Good)