The episode should be named “Matou Kariya” starring Shakespeare’s new apprentice Kotomine Kirei along with co-producer Archer. While the first half of the episode shows a detailed fight with Saber and Rider, I feel as though the main and true focus of this episode was the characterization of Kariya and how he has now gone as low as he could. Urobuchi Gen, why are the majority of your characters suffering and continue to?
Lightening the mood as a Need for Speed/Initial D style race between Rider and Saber, as Rider runs away with a chariot, presumably the one who has Irisviel in custody by information from Maiya. Saber chases Rider to save Irisviel, even if it meant riding against the traffic way. Rider was pleased that she was chasing after her, stating that it would be more fair to have a race with her on the ground instead of continuously flying in the sky. It would be here that Rider indirectly challenges Saber to a race, where it would be here that he will finally seal the score that he had with Saber. Of course, whenever you are in Rome, do what the Romans do. Since he was riding a chariot, who is to say that the games are supposed to be fair as long as it determines the victor.
Rider does everything in his power to make sure Saber does not catch up to him, from falling construction and rock debris to breaking the road while igniting it with electricity. Yet, Saber continues to chase after him to save Irisviel. Knowing that the motorcycle was not going to last much longer, Saber uses her power to transform the motorcycle so that it was able to cut through air while negating air resistance, making her travel as fast as she wanted to without any worries. At the height of the race, Saber jumps in the air and attacks Rider, having no choice but to defend himself. However, Irisviel was nowhere inside the chariot.
From her confusion, Rider decides to end all of this with one swing of the sword. Saber accepts the challenge, preparing to use her power to take him down for good, so that there would be one less servant to deal with. As Saber charges for power. Rider quickly goes after her, making sure to strike before she unleashes her power. However, before he was able to touch her, Saber calls out Excalibur and destroys everything that is in front of her. Rider happened to jump just in time to avoid the blow, but it would be at the cost of his chariot noble phantasm. Rider was wide open for an easy blow, but Saber has no time for him. Saving Irisviel was more important than this war. Their battle would have to be on hold as Saber leaves Rider where he is to make sure Irisviel was fine before it was too late.
It turns out that Berserker had the power to transform into anything that his master desires. In this case, it would be to transform as Rider, and it was mere luck that the actual rider came at the same time as Berserker was running away. Here, we see that Kariya was working under Kirei to work together for Kirei’s personal goal of defeating Kititsugu. With Irisviel now in his hands, Kirei states that Kariya’s job was done, and, as promised, he will be able meet with Tokiomi at the church at midnight. Of course, Kariya does not know that Tokiomi was dead, so it was highly likely that there was some sort of trick that Kirei was planning. It also does not help that Kirei emphasized the fact that he had to come at midnight, as if that was when the play begins. While Kariya leaves, Zouken makes his appearance, stating that he likes Kirei’s style of torturing people. Of course, Kirei did not want to be compared with a worm fanatic like him. Zouken would play around with his role at the church and how it was just as similar as his way of doing things, which for Kirei, was a slap in the face. Kirei quickly took out Zouken, but it was easily a substitution, as Zouken would state that they will meet again, but not as nicely as their conversation had portrayed.
And so, at the time of the supposed meeting, Kariya enters the church to see if Tokiomi was indeed there. As stated by Kirei, he was sitting at one of the pews of the church. Finally, their battle can continue from where they left off as Kariya tells him how long he was waiting for the moment, a chance to show Tokiomi just who was in the wrong here. Finally, this fight was going to end with him has the victor, but before he can even as much as touch him, Tokiomi falls to the ground, dead. Kariya was confused. He was the one who was supposed to be the one who fight him and make him lose, but was killing the intention that he wanted? It can indeed be perceived as this, a final match to see who can get the grail between him and Tokiomi, but this was not what he had expected.
Aoi then enters the church, wondering what was going on. In front of her was Kariya; falling down to the ground with emptiness was Tokiomi. Aoi walked up to them, walked up with Tokiomi. Kariya told her that it was not his fault that this happened, but it was going to look like this sooner or later, whether he wanted it to be like this or not. Aoi asked if he was finally satisfied with what he has done, assuming that he was the one who killed him. She stated that not only did he take Sakura from her, he took her husband in front of her. Kariys insisted that it was his fault that he stated this mess, for it if were not for him, no one would have to have suffered, including her and Sakura. However, Aoi states that he could not understand what it means to love for he has not loved anyone before.
This would be the final straw, the last bit off sanity that he had left, gone. For Aoi, someone whom he loved for so long, an unrequited love since their childhood, he would do anything for her. Go to the ends of the earth to protect her. Yet it all came down to this. Kariya, who has finally lost it, his will to go on, when the women he loves claims that he has never loved before, chokes her. The standstills and the fade in CG that backs up the melancholy shows powerfully just how emotional this was for Kariya, who wanted so much to have her and her children happy. The black stills symbolizes his loss of knowing what was going on anymore. The few images reveal just what would happen between the two. As well as choking, there would be several hints that rape was also involved as well given the positioning that the two were in as they were on the ground. Finally, it was over. She has breathed her last breath, and her hands fell to the ground. Kariya just killed the women whom he had loved for so long, his main driving force to live. With it, he practically has nothing, possibly holding on to his final wish to save Sakura from her pain, even if it kills him.
Could all of this been inevitable? Can it have been prevented? In the end, the triangle all came down to Sakura. Sure, one can trace it that Aoi’s passive aggressiveness would be wasted when she did not say anything about Sakura’s adoption to the Matou family. It can be traced to when Tokiomi practically gave Sakura to the Matou family since they need a successor, and he already has two efficient ones. It can go as back as Kariya, who had magical potential, leaving the family since he did not want to be a part of the magus world and become like Zoken. In truth, you cannot pin the blame on just one person; all three of them were responsible, for all three may believe they have chosen the best route, but no one would have predicted a few years later that it would come down to this.
If anything, I can only feel sorry for all three of them, especially Kariya, who was not mentally sane at the time to figure out what exactly was he going. After he realized waht he had done, all he can do was scream, or cry, or whatever it was that he thinks he was doing, but was unable to interpret what it was that was on his mind. He would walk away, limping, as if that was the only function he could do, given his mental, state. I think Archer summarized what just happened well; it really was a terrible play, terrible in the sense that everything could have been foretold so easily given the position of the chess pieces, no matter how sad it was going to turn out in the end. Kirei was slowly understanding what Archer was talking about. I can only imagine how this his rivalry with Kiritsugu was going to end how that he has Irisviel on his side.