“Winter Days, A Long Way Home”
Saturdays at 1:30 pm EDT on Crunchyroll
Archer’s speech finally concludes with Gilgamesh crashing the party. Rin and Shirou decide the only way to defeat him and destroy the Grail is to get freaky with mana transfer.
I’m amazed that UFOtable somehow dragged this fight out to three episodes. There’s no way the Archer’s entire shpiel is worth that much time, even if it is the emotional crux of the UBW route, and matters aren’t helped by the abundance of redundant dialogue therein. It’s clear that the show’s budget was slashed between seasons, or perhaps things were just poorly planned: compare UBW‘s early battles with Berserker and Lancer with Shirou and Archer’s bout, and the gap is astonishing. What should be a climactic clash between ideals is instead a classroom debate broken up by a few seconds of Shirou being kicked around. Even when the iconic tune Emiya plays for the final charge, we only get a moment of Shirou deflecting projectiles rather than an actual sword fight. Ridiculous.
Episode 22 is an exercise in padding, not that the show hasn’t been chock full of padding since Episode 0 (yeah, remember how there was a double-length episode before the first episode?). Our heroes discuss their battle plan, invariably setting it up to fail and conveniently wasting ten minutes of screentime, and then we get the bizarre all-ages version of one of Fate/Stay Night‘s infamous “mana transfer” scenes. F/SN‘s origins as an eroge mean the plot goes to lengths to justify sex scenes in each route, and having to keep the plot point while simultaneously rewriting the story to remove the sex makes the entire situation even more bizarre and inexplicable.
The handful of nods to franchise fans this time around are fairly small: Archer wears an outfit from one of Fate/Extra CCC‘s endings while in a flashback, and Rin’s montage of memories includes a scene not mentioned until the Heaven’s Feel route. Saber’s internal monologue in episode 21 features a shot of her in a frilly dress straight out of Realta Nua‘s “Last Episode”, which is a (long) bonus scene unlocked after 100% completion.