Miss my review last week? You can find it here!
With the initial conflict over, and Subaru and Emilia’s next step planned out, they plan on returning the injured home before embarking on the next leg of their journey. Crusch thanks them for their help, as Emilia is resolute in making sure she’s someone who’s able to “come to the rescue” next time, and not one in need of being rescued. The friends part ways, with Crusch confident of their eventual reunion.
Emilia and Subaru share a moment in the carriage as she comments that he always sits next to her instinctively, recognizing their growing closeness. Subaru is overjoyed at the development, and Emilia clams up a bit, growing self conscious at his teasing.
As they return to the village, they’re surprised that Ram, Roswaal and the others haven’t returned from Sanctuary…only to discover at the exact same time that neither of them know where sanctuary is.
Hoping to find clues, the pair returns to the mansion along with an ever-slumbering Rem, and are greeted by a new face:
Frederica introduces herself as a former maid of the mansion that took her leave shortly before Subaru’s arrival. While she may have had more connection to Rem in the past, she further confirms the effects of Greed’s Authority in her lack of memories related to the blue-haired maid.
As Emilia and Subaru inquire more about where Roswaal may have gone, Frederica notes that only two would be trusted with such information: Ram and the “Great Spirit of the Library” – Beatrice.
Yes, everyone’s favorite sassy spirit makes her return! After some characteristic teasing, Subaru gets down to the brass tacks and attempts to discern what Roswaal’s strategy is involving Sanctuary. Beatrice is initially unsure why Subaru is coming to her, but quickly surmises that Frederica’s return is to blame. She fails to provide him a direct answer until he produces Betelgeuse’s Gospel. She seems shocked, and when he shares the fate of its former owner, she comments that “Geuse” had left her behind.
Growing upset, she tells Subaru to seek out Sanctuary in order to find the answers he seeks. All of them. She then forcefully ejects him from the library and states she will no longer be a “tool for his convenience”.
Sharing some tea with Emilia and Frederica, Subaru attempts to make sense of the encounter, and discovers that Emilia has, in fact, convinced Frederica to disclose the location of Sanctuary. She will not be able to accompany them on the trip, but Otto will help get them where they need to go. She also cautions against one named Garfiel, who seems to wield quite a bit of influence in Sanctuary.
Preparing for departure, Subaru is greeted by the mansion’s newest maid: Petra!
Once again hoping to demonstrate her competitiveness in the battle for Subaru’s heart, she hopes to woo him in time, as Subaru encourages her to be properly trained by Frederica and learn to speak more politely as a maid. As a parting gift, Petra gives him a white handkerchief before she and her new instructor wish the traveling party farewell.
In the carriage, Emilia continues to try and summon Puck, her lovable and exceedingly powerful spirit companion…to no avail. When she mentions that he’s disappeared for a few days at a time in the past, Subaru recalls his brief encounter with Puck from the previous episode, when he charged her with taking care of Emilia. While the two attempt to make sense of the mystery, Otto announces their arrival in the forest of Clemaldy.
Just barely arriving, the special stone that Frederica had given Emilia so that they could traverse the enchanted woods begins to glow, and Subaru removes it from Emilia’s neck citing a “bad feeling”. She collapses just as the stone glows brighter and he finds himself in the middle of the forest, alone. A mysterious pink haired girl appears briefly before running off, and he gives chase before coming across a large, abandoned ruin.
Navigating the hallway, he is interrupted by a piercing voice in his mind that comments on the root of his desire. Transported once again in the middle of a sweeping green field, Subaru finds himself face to face with Echidna – who proclaims herself to be the Witch of Sin representing Greed!
Watching Episode 2 makes the first episode of season 2 feel like a fever dream. The pacing is solidly improved, with the episode focusing on establishing the upcoming quest, character motives, and mysteries. It stands in such stark contrast to the first episode that you would be forgiven for thinking of them as different shows.
This was a great episode of buildup. Early on you discover that neither Subaru nor Emilia know where Roswal went during the Betelgeuse fight. They know he went to Sanctuary, but they don’t know what Sanctuary is or where it is. And the more we learn about Sanctuary, the more cryptic it becomes. Beatrice tells Subaru that the answers to all his questions reside in Sanctuary and Frederica warns that them to be careful of someone named Garfiel. Now I want to see Sanctuary!
The episode also establishes a few other mysteries. Like where did Puck disappear go and why did he leave Subaru to defend Emilia? Or what connection is there between Beatrice and Beetlegeuse? She seems upset that he “left her behind.” And what is the Witch Factor? All of these questions are established through the dialogue and none of them are answered.
And then we get the big questions at the end of the episode. Who was the girl Subaru was chasing? And what is going to happen now that he’s face to face with the Witch of Greed? These questions, small and large, are what Re: Zero has always been about to me. The show has always done a great job of creating intrigue and then slowly answering the questions it creates through time loops, action, and explanation. Where episode 1 felt like they were just cramming in all of the same story beats, episode 2 actually has me excited to see what’s next.
Finally, there were some great character moments in this episode. Emilia shows how much she values Subaru when she talks him up to Frederica and further establishes her comfort by saying how necessary it is that he sits next to her. You really feel like the characters have grown a bit closer in a believable way. And Subaru is also back to recognizing the tropes of the isekai concept, such as when he remarks that he may have set a flag by saying nothing will happen within the next few months.
All in all, episode 2 was a welcome return to form for Re: Zero. The episode was less action-packed and less dramatic than episode 1 and that feels like a good thing. Those action bits and dramatic freak outs have weight because of the solid buildup in the prior episodes. Episode 2 provides that solid buildup. Now let’s hope the payoff is just as good.