Fate/Zero Episode 16 – Machiavellianism
Best episode ever. No, you cannot argue with this, it is scientifically proven to be one hundred percent true. This episode was complete and total badassery to the very core, but not only that there was a lot of it. Awesome dialogue, awesome action, awesome everything; it was simply fucking amazing. Hopefully, this marks a darker and more violent turning point in the series, because I don’t there’s been this much shit happen collectively in the entire series, let alone in a single episode.
About the point that Kayneth shot the priest, I was pretty convinced that shit was about to go down. However, I certainly didn’t expect it to go down as much as it actually did. I’m still a little confused as to how Kayneth got the command seal for killing Caster. First of all, I assumed that he had given all control of Lancer over to his fiance, but apparently he is still technically involved in the contract. Second, the only part that Lancer actually played in killing Caster was shooting himself in the foot so Saber could one-shot the bastard, so it doesn’t really make sense as to how he should receive the extra command seal. I guess it doesn’t really matter; if nothing else we can just call it a plot device for the epicness that happens later in the episode.
Everything in the whole last half of the episode was almost flawless, from Kayneth insulting Lancer, to Saber and Lancer’s duel, to Kiritsugu’s bribery of Kayneth, and the aftermath of everything was amazing. Lancer’s death after all that was the icing on top of the cake, but what happened to Kayneth after that was the icing on top of the icing on top of the cake. I am kind of upset that Lancer has been eliminated relatively early in the War, but at least he had an awesome death, I don’t think many people can deny that. As sad as the fact the he didn’t even have any control over it was, his final “Fuck you and fuck the War” speech was pretty damn cool, and it was made even cooler by the fact he was dying as he gave it. We all know that dying while telling people off is the epitome of badass, that’s why Captain Rhodes’ death inDay of the Dead will always be the most badass thing ever.
Now, everybody is surely going to jump on the “Fuck Kiritsugu” bandwagon, but I for one will do nothing of the sort, as he is still one of the most interesting characters in the show. For a while, I just assumed him to be a careful and organized who knew how to get what he wanted, but now we all know that he’s pretty much a completely uncaring killer, if only for a greater purpose. Basically, this whole episode encompassed the main theme of Code Geass better than Code Geass itself did. In a rather broad sense the idea behind both Kiritsugu’s and Lelouch’s motives was the principle of Machiavellianism, or more simply “The end justifies the means”. It’s not as this is an unexplored topic in entertainment or even anime – hell, that’s even one of the big ideas in Evangelion – but nonetheless it seems to fit really well in the context of this show. Seeing as how the Grail can do pretty much anything, it seems like a perfect time to apply that principle in the search for a greater good.
But like always, Saber and her absurdly unflinching pride can’t even seem to comprehend the idea. Of course what Kiritsugu did was dishonest and cruel, but doesn’t the saying go “All’s fair in love and war”? Saber still continues to maintain that there absolutely has to be some kind of sacredness to battle and that chivalry must always be upheld, but she seems unable to grasp the concept that things may have extenuating circumstances sometimes. Even if Lancer was honorable and kind to Saber, even if Kayneth just wanted to save his fiance, their goal in the War is to kill everyone else, even Saber and Kiritsugu. So does that mean that they must adhere by some vague and self-defined sense of honor in such a situation? I would say, no, it doesn’t, and even though Kiritsugu may seem like a heartless monster, the goal of the Holy Grail War is: to win, not: to win while being as nice to everyone as you can.