The situation in Lutoh spirals out of control. The people of Lutoh's anger over the war has grown to a fever pitch, and they begin to demand Princess Fine's execution for this situation. Before the Princess can calm the crowd, Back Arrow's Briheight descends and crushes the people's leader beneath his armored boot. His Briheight further goes on to begin crushing peasants indiscriminately, causing chaos and confusion. Elect Supreme Rudolph demands that Princess Fine be removed as Lutoh's leader and the other nobles of Lutoh agree - with the exception of Prax who attempts to protect the princess.
The Granedger heads back to the capital and Werner attempts to kill Rudolph using his own Briheight. It turns out that Rudolph has been manipulating events all along, including making Werner think he was shooting at a bird on that fateful day when he fired a crossbow at Prax and Fine all those years ago. As the battle rages, it turns out that the Back Arrow from before was not actually him but an agent of Rudolph's: Dissonanza, who can take the form of others. As the chaos of the battle continues to unfold, Werner sacrifices himself to protect the villagers of Granedger as they flee to the ship. The nobles demand that Fine be returned to them, but the Granedger crew declares that they are an independent nation - Granedger United - and that she is a refugee under their protection as the episode ends.
Well, things certainly have taken a turn.
The cracks that have been showing all season in the nominally simple political facade of the two main powers are finally beginning to break. Lutoh's naive wholesomeness is shown to be not only a smoke screen for the singular lie of Princess Fine's second self, but basically lies top to bottom as Rudolph has been toying with it all along. I think we all expected Rudolph to be the true big evil guy at this point, but I think his transformation to super fit adonis with shoulders full of wine bottles was… an interesting twist, to put it mildly.
I generally vibe with the political trajectory of the episode. While I think there's a sort of soft simplicity to the princess being a sweet tender noble and the sense that things might have been okay if only she could have talked to the people, the end result is that Lutoh's apparent goodness is a charade for other more powerful interests. The binary political situation of Rekka and Lutoh ultimately results in a free Granedger breaking away from scheming nobles and petty power plays hoping to upset the established order. I dig it.
I will say that the Werner stuff fell a little flat for me. I think he's been a solid enough character throughout, and that his send off was a good one. That said, it feels like it has been a few weeks since he has been in the spotlight in a major way, so Rudolph's sudden reveal coupled with Werner's rush to sacrifice… did not hit as hard as it could have. I think if maybe we had been shown a bit more of Werner over the past few episodes it could have dialed up the tragedy a bit more, but it was still an effective sequence overall.
Once again, looking forward to what the rest of the series has in store.