Nothing but funny faces.
— Archer finally shows up after everything is all said and done, so this naturally raises Rin’s ire. He then tries to keep it real by taking a dump on Rider’s memory. According to him, she was a coward: “One who calls herself a hero should at least try to take her opponent out with her.” Dude doesn’t really want to make any friends, huh? I mean, I don’t think anyone particularly cares about Rider, but there’s just no real point in insulting a person who has already died. What does this even accomplish?
— Caster’s Master comes to the school everyday, you say? Gee, I wonder who that could be. There just aren’t very many candidates to choose from. We can already rule Shinji out. Issei? He’s hardly had any presence in the story. The same can be said about Ayako, and she’s also been knocked out for the count. I suspect Taiga is good for nothing but some weak humor. All that’s left is, well, Kazuki.
— Archer doesn’t think that Caster’s Master still has his or her free will. Just by saying this so early on in the episode, however, I bet you he’s wrong. I don’t know if the story wants to be this obvious, or it’s just really that bad at misdirection. It’s hard to tell.
— And you know, with it also being this obvious by now that Archer is somehow Shirou — or some version of him — it’s interesting what the story has done. Rin can act super tsuntsun towards her Servant, thereby sparing Shirou of having to suffer through the same ordeal. I mean, she’ll act tsuntsun around Shirou anyway, but in a more subdued way. Of course, you could just avoid writing tsundere characters period, but that’s not going to happen.
— Saber wants to sleep in Shirou’s room, because it’s her job to protect him. No big deal, right? Of course not. This is anime! As a result, our wholesome anime hero has a problem with them even sharing the same room. Ah, what a classic anime trope!
— Shinji is humiliated by the fact that he’s the first to be kicked out of the Holy Grail War. But he had no mana, and we barely even saw him and Rider work together. This is one of the few times that the anime has relied on “show, not tell,” or rather, the lack thereof. The partnership between Shinji and Rider was deliberately left out to show us that they never had much synergy. She gave up her life for him, but even now, he simply calls her a dog. In other words, it looks like Shinji wasn’t even meant to be in this war to begin with, but knowing his prideful personality and his family name, he probably thought he deserved to be a Master anyway.
— But despite Shinji’s unstable nature, Kirei gives the kid one more chance to re-enter the game. Looks like we’ve got another villain on our hands.
— The next day, Shirou confirms the fact that none of his classmates died. Like I said last week, I think it’s silly that the story suddenly wants to pull its punches. Caster has been killing people willy-nilly, but when it’s someone that the hero might actually know, whoa there! They all just had anemia at worst!
— Before school even starts, Rin immediately voices her concerns about Issei. Apparently, both he and Caster call Ryuudou Temple their home. But this is just a red herring on the show’s part to delay the inevitable. And that’s why Archer offers up the theory that Caster has somehow brainwashed her master. At the last minute, the story wants to give us the plausible argument that it might be Issei, but it’s just not. We already know who it is. That one clue from Saber episodes and episodes ago was enough to point us in the right direction. We’re just not ready to move the story along. Again, I don’t know if the adaptation is being obvious on purpose or if it’s just this bad at crafting a mystery.
— Shirou’s plan? Just strip his buddy down. After all, you just gotta locate those Command Seals, right? I notice, however, that Issei only has his shirt off. How do you know that those Command Seals aren’t on one of his inner thigh? Hell, what if they’re on his buttocks?
— Some blond guy is standing outside the Matou household. We saw him in an earlier episode having a conversation with Kirei. At first, I thought he might be a Servant, but then why wouldn’t any of the other characters notice this? Since I don’t know anything else about him, there’s no point in me speculating any further.
— All of a sudden, Rin “hypothetically” asks Shirou how a girl would feel if she was given away for adoption. I guess we can pencil Rin and Sakura down as related… I mean, the adaptation can’t spell it out any harder than that. Nevertheless, Shirou takes her question at face value, and answers it in a rather boring way. Durr, if the family is good, then she wouldn’t have any complaints! Someone said that this guy would become more interesting as the story developed, but eh…
— Later that night, Taiga tells Saber all about what Shirou was like when he was young. Saber then asks the protagonist why he looks up to the heroes of justice. I think that’s a strange thing to ask. I mean, why wouldn’t you look up to the heroes of justice? But anyway, the way Shirou’s described, you can just see Archer being a subversion of those same character traits.
— All in all, a pretty whatever episode that is just setting the stage for the eventual showdown between the heroes and Caster’s Master…