It was important to have an episode where the cast can unwind. The first test was dangerous and there undoubtedly was a lot of stress on those that did end up clearing it. And the test did a good job delving into the personalities of the various participants. That made it enjoyable to see how each character chose to unwind and how some teams stuck together. They were teams formed by random chance, but they had been through a difficult experience together and that means something.
I say this as someone that tends to like Fern…but this was probably her worst episode of the entire show. Two major pouting incidents in what appears to be 24 hours. And both times they had to crack open the pocketbooks to try and bribe her back into a good mood. Fern’s greatest asset in this episode is that she’s cute. Because there wasn’t much else good in this one! Getting grumpy about Stark staying up late when he’s had nothing else to do seemed a bit much. He’s stuck in that city waiting for her and Frieren to finish their exam. He’s got to kill time somehow. Earned even less points by basically abandoning Stark to Wirbel’s recruitment. Just because he has no ill intentions doesn’t mean Fern shouldn’t care what Stark thinks about it.
It’s funny how things unfold as a series rolls along. I was worried about Stark when he first showed up and even more so with it appearing like he’d end up shipped with Fern. But now I’m kind of feeling bad for Stark and thinking Fern’s a bad influence. In some ways it might be a bad match since he just doesn’t have it in him to push back when Fern is being unreasonable. And he’s already got Frieren trying to treat him like Sein and handling the mediation for her. Which isn’t a good option since when dealing with Fern it’s Stark that needs someone to help out. This group effectively just lost their parent and now are kind of stuck trying to adapt.
If there’s something positive to say it’s that Stark finally got some positive reinforcement this episode. Wirbel may have pretty much dragged him off without consent, but at least he does give people credit for doing good work. And just massive pile of bodies is a good reminder that Stark is plenty powerful. There are just not many opportunities for him to show that off. Even more so during an arc like this when it’s a mage test. I almost wish they’d used some of the airtime to show off the fight just to give that nice burst of Stark action. Something we might not actually get in the remaining episodes considering there are two more tests to go and 6 more episodes. We’ll probably see a bit of Stark after the second test and the third tests, but probably no chance to see him fight anything.
Once more, Himmel is truly the best guy. The world is a lesser place because he’s no longer alive in it! This guy was so far in Frieren’s corner that it’s a tragedy that she didn’t figure out how he felt. The man used a promise from that chef so that the quality and taste of his food would be there centuries in the future for whenever Frieren stopped by! He sure wasn’t planning on being there 200 years in the future to have a meal! Still, if there’s anything Himmel accomplished it was making sure he’d be unforgettable to Frieren. Even remembering a small moment when he helped a child and told her the secret to be remembered by people. And she’s seeing it play out for herself. She just helped Lawine and Kanne out. Neither of them will forget it even if they don’t clear this test overall.
The Übel and Land bits were a bit nerve wrecking. That guy has nerves of steel! Not sure I’d be so chill standing there with a killer that just used a spell to restrict my movements! Übel meeting Wirbel might have been a disastrous thing for many people! Being able to copy that spell is the last thing you’d want for a casual killer. But Land managed to keep his cool and didn’t give up too much. And that’s probably a good thing since the moment she gains enough from him she might just kill him. Unfortunately for Land any attempts to dissuade this girl has only made her more interested! I’m not sure his days off were all that peaceful with Übel spending as much time with him as she could.
Things were much more relaxed with the almost family unit of Denken, Richter, and Laufen. Denken and Laufen especially are practically grandfather and granddaughter at this point! I’d say he’s simply spoiling her, but he was also pushing her to have a more balanced diet! Honestly, he’s being a pretty good figure for Richter as well who has a lot to learn. Making friends with Denken is hardly the worst thing he can do when it comes to his career. And Richter’s ego and self-image as a mature adult is something that could afford to be chipped away at. Because he’s still got a long way to go there.
This episode was fine. I did have a few complaints with how things played out with Fern this week. I think the puffy pouting can be effective sometimes, but other times it can go too far. But I think overall the supporting cast had some good moments. And you can’t go wrong fitting in a few Himmel flashbacks into a single episode. Truly they’ve kept the character alive by consistently bringing him in for moments like this. He’s been dead for a good while in the show, but Frieren carries his memory with her. I look forward to seeing how the second test will play out.
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