Re:Zero 2 episode 37: Even in an alternate history Ram is formidable
Anime

Re:Zero 2 episode 37 (or 12) – Evil Rem and the Uninvited Guest

Introduction to Re:Zero 2 episode 37

Welcome to our collaboration review of Re:ZERO Season 2, episode 37 (or 12, depending on how you’re counting), “The Witches’ Tea Party.” Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime and I are about to share our reaction and perspective on the episode. I think we’ll have some interesting thoughts to share with you. And if previous episodes are any guide, I hope you’ll have some fascinating comments to share with us. This series has generated some fantastically thoughtful and insightful comments. 

Before we get started, how’re things for you, Irina? I’m about to have new siding installed. While I’m excited about the new look, and I won’t mourn for the loss of the old siding (it’s about 30 years old, I think!), my finances are really annoyed with me!

I’m on the tail end of a pretty bad flu that has been chasing me for a bit over a week. I’m really looking forward to not having my nose and ears clogged. Otherwise I’m o.k. No siding issues here!

I’m still working from home and we got a first notice of a tentative return to the office in January 2021. I told them they would have to physically come get me and drag me back kicking and screaming. They think it’s a joke… I wish them luck!

Glad you’re on the mend! And kicking and screaming is a good way to put it!

Re:Zero 2 episode 37 Review

General Thoughts

This episode can be divided into two sections. The first section could be called “The Temptation of Subaru” by, of all people, Rem. The second section dealt with the titular “Witches’ Tea Party.” Note the plural — yes, more than just Echidna.

Before we dive in, any opening thoughts, Irina?

Yes and no. I’m not sure how closely the adaptation is following the light novels. I know we have readers and commenters who have read the source material and know a lot more about what’s happening and what’s going to happen; but I still like to make my own interpretation. Just cause that’s how I enjoy anime and fiction in general. 

I’m curious how the season, or more likely how next season, is going to jive with some of the comments I have read for upcoming events. Or if the adaptation is taking some liberties.

Re:Zero 2 episode 37 Gave Us An Unthinkable Present

The episode started with Subaru waiting up on the floor beside Emilia. I’ll say this for Subaru: he can be taught! He remembered the lessons from his previous visits to this timeline. As soon as Emilia began to awaken, he was right there for her. He used all of his energy to comfort her, and by the time they got back to the cabin, he was ready to re-enact the scenes with Garfiel, Otto, and Ram. He tried to recall everything he could so he could make the fight decision. When he put Emilia to bed and waited until she slept before he returned to the temple and asked to see Echidna.

Do you remember all of the deaths Subaru has undergone? That seemed to be her answer. He had to relive them. I never even considered the question, “What happened in that timeline after he died?” This second trial forced Subaru to confront the aftermath of his deaths all the way back to episode one. We saw Emilia weeping uncontrollably, calling Subaru a liar because he had sworn he loved her and would be with her. In another scene, we saw Ram bicker with Beatrice at the foot of the cliff, where Subaru’s shattered body lay at the center of a blood splatter pattern. 

Re:Zero 2 episode 37: Emilia's grief felt fresh

I’ve gotten so attached to these characters that seeing Emilia weep over Subaru’s dead body felt very heavy. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

We even got to see Reinhard van Astrea confront a raging Puck who, in his despondency over Emilia’s death in episode 15, was about to bring an end to that world. Reinhard tried to talk Puck down. Failing, he had to bring forth his power and burn Puck into ash. 

A Re:ZERO Multi-verse?

By the end of these scenes, I felt as emotionally exhausted as Subaru looked. I felt like I’d watched multiple episodes of My Hero Academia! What did you think at this point, Irina?

See, a lot of people thought my idea for a multiverse theory of re:Zero was off base and that Subaru did in fact reset the entire timeline rather than create a parallel one. But this sequence rather reinforced my theory. At least in my own head. You are of course free to interpret the quantum narrative in whatever way is most interesting to you. In the end, it’s fairly immaterial to the actual narrative. It won’t change what’s happening.

I happen to like this interpretation because it gives more weight and importance both to Subaru’s decisions and to the lives of the other characters. I like that this one guy is not the entire universe because to me it makes the entire universe of the show wider and more full of possibilities.

Re:Zero 2 episode 37: How many timelines are in this series?

Do the timelines really continue after Subaru’s death? Was there a timeline where Ram and Beatrice continued their argument over his dead body? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

This was for me the most interesting part of the episode and the only part during which I took notes. Aside from the very horrible implications I went over last week, it does also reframe all the hardships everyone has gone through for me. All those hard times and failures that the ladies had to endure weren’t for nothing. They didn’t just evaporate into nothing. Somewhere in the infinite universes out there, there’s an Emilia who has had a chance to grow and learn from all her mistakes and who can now stand on her own feet. It was probably hard earned but it was earned. And that’s sort of nice.

Re:Zero 2 episode 37 Proved: Cost Saving Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly

On a purely practical basis, it was a nice way to reuse some animation without making it too obvious to the viewers. That might be how they managed to make an episode that spilled over the OP and ED, without impacting their bottom line too much. I mean re:Zero obviously has a pretty decent wealth of resources available, but it’s still  a good idea to use all the tricks available. 

Who was that sexy red headed guy fighting the giant tiger? I want to see that show.

That was Reinhard! That was a cool little scene!

It was Reinhard. For some reason I had convinced myself it was a scene from the distant future and that’s a character we haven’t met yet. But awesome, I can watch a Reinhard anime!

Re:Zero 2 episode 37: Reinhard would make a good series lead

This was a heck of a scene. I have an even great appreciation for just how much power Reinhard wields! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Rem Up and About?

Who showed up to comfort the emotionally devastated Subaru? Rem. We haven’t seen her for ages, but now, when Subaru most needed her, she came to comfort him. She’s always been good at getting him to open up. After convincing him that yes, it was her, the “all-purpose, ever-useful maid,” he unleashed his agony. “If the world was still going on after I died, how many times did I just leave them all to die?” he asked, miserably. 

That’s why I asked too. And it’s sort of too bad they brushed away the question. I think this is a huge opportunity for character development and growth for Subaru.

Wrapping her arms around him, she told him that she loved him, and that everything would be all right. Bless his heart, there was a small ember of sanity still glowing, because he couldn’t understand how that helped anything.

And then Rem made a mistake. She said that all he needed to do was sleep. She would take care of everything.

As despondent as he was, as deeply consumed in the well of despair, Subaru is, in the final analysis, an honest man. That, and the poor guy can’t forget his past. He clearly remembered Rem telling him, “It’s easy to give up. But it doesn’t suit you.”

Not Exactly Up and About…

He asked who the woman was. Because he clearly knew she wasn’t Rem. The woman finally revealed her true identity, which was Carmilla, the Witch of Lust. Carmilla pretended to be Rem, and that bummed me out. I miss the blue-haired maid! On the other hand, I liked how Subaru broke out of the spell.

Re:Zero 2 episode 37: Carmilla was adorable -- and utterly lethal.

Carmilla looked so vulnerable and upset with how Subaru reacted to her subterfuge that I almost felt sorry for her. Then I learned that just being physically close to her could be lethal… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Irina, what’d you think?

Would Rem really not try to take care of everything herself? I mean it was a great scene but Rem is so selfless and takes on everything head on. Didn’t she basically tell something very similar to this to Subaru in the first season?

I have a feeling I’m just overthinking it. It was a very cute scene. I liked seeing Rem again even if it was fauxRem.

Subaru tried to walk towards her, but that’s when Echidna finally pulled him to her outdoor tea party. There, she consoled him. He had just witnessed the aftermath of every death he’d experienced, and he didn’t know for sure that those visions were just part of the trial. Echidna told him that only Satella knew for sure. Then, she dangled a carrot in front of him. She told him that if he formed a contract with her, she’d put all of her intellectual resources at his disposal.

A Good Deal for Subaru?

After what he’d just been through, I don’t blame the guy for thinking about it. Echidna really sold the idea, not only by how she described it, but by showing him just how excited she was about it. Heck, I was wanted to urge Subaru to sign on. 

Re:Zero 2 episode 37: Echidna doesn't have a very good poker face

Just look how happy she looks! Subaru found it hard to say no to a face like that… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I’m guessing you had more doubts, Irina?

Not really. Subaru is not super consistent in how he deals with Echidna. A couple of weeks ago you told me that Subaru found her attractive. And that’s why he was acting that. So I just went with the flow this episode as well.

Echidna extended her palm. Subaru almost reciprocated. Before they could touch, there was a huge, heart-infused explosion. Minerva had arrived. She was furious that Echidna hadn’t explained the payment part to Subaru. 

Minerva wasn’t alone for very long. Carmilla appeared, too, also trying to warn Subaru. An appropriately lethargic Sekhmet, the Witch of Sloth who we hadn’t met before, appeared to enforce a more fair contract. Even Typhon and Daphne were there by the end. It looked like they wanted him for their own ends.

Good is Relative When it Comes to Witches

And speaking of ends, Echidna finally came clean about the price Subaru would have to pay. It was “Everything you feel, everything you think, everything that remains in your heart, the future as you know it, anything you accomplish, all the potential within you, all the fruit of the unknown that is borne from your very existence… I want a taste of it.”

Re:Zero 2 episode 37: Echidna was as honest as she wanted to be

At least Echidna was honest about what she wanted from Subaru. To a point, anyway… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

That still didn’t sound like a bad deal to me. The other witches, however, pointed out that Echidna’s statements should only be interpreted with “in the end” appended to them. Subaru, in a flash of insight, asked Echidna about Beatrice’s contract.

Echidna hadn’t told Beatrice to wait 400 years for the “right person.” She just hadn’t explained that Beatrice could choose anyone. Echidna just wanted to see her make the choice. And in that moment, it became clear for me.

The witches aren’t evil. They aren’t good, either. They are so powerful and affect the world on such a scale that I can’t understand it. That’s why mortals can’t make deals with gods and witches. They can never enter into such deals on a level playing field. It’s not Echidna’s fault. Her view of the world is just too far away. In Subaru’s own words Echidna was “an unfathomable monster beyond all comprehension!”

Irina, what was your takeaway from that scene?

Witches as the Embodiment of “Other”

I’m pretty sure we went over this a couple of episodes ago. The witches aren’t malicious, they are other. Their concerns and morality is just completely different from mere mortals but because they are so powerful, that can be seen as monstrous by others. The characterization hasn’t changed as far as I can tell. 

Re:Zero 2 episode 37: Subaru faced up to what it meant to negotiate with a witch.

Subaru cared too much about Beatrice to react any other way to Echidna’s words. To say his perspective differed from Echidna’s was an understatement. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I love Beatrice, as most people know, but I really liked that there is no right person. Or rather that it was always in her power to pick a right person. It’s cruel, but it’s also interesting. It was a brilliant bit of character building for Beatrice. We know a lot about what type of person she is with that simple statement from Echidna.

One of the things I like a bit less about re:Zero is that it tends to really over explain everything. There is a lot of heavy exposition on a continuous basis. I have a feeling that it may just be part of the nature of light novel adaptations. But this right here, this was great. A wonderful bit of character development that was perfectly organic and managed to communicate loads with just a few simple words. This was some very good storytelling.

Party Crasher

The episode ended on a delightfully ominous note. Subaru finally rejected Echidna’s offer. She wasn’t happy about it, and at first, I thought the deepening shadow was because of her anger. Not so. The darkness was because of a new guest coming to the party. 

Most of the witches reacted in fear. Typhon was probably the only witch to be excited (though Daphne seemed hungrier than usual). As Echidna ground her teeth, Typhon exclaimed, “Hey! It’s Tella!”

As in Satella.

Re:Zero 2 episode 37: Satella made quite the entrance

Well, look who showed up for tea! I bet she brought her own. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

That should make for an interesting episode to cap off the second season!

I mentioned this in my own post but why does Satella have to be all covered up in the dream as well? For those of you who don’t read the gallery posts, my headcanon is that she changed her appearance between seasons and now she looks exactly like Roswaal. There is a -28% chance of that happening but I had a grand old time building up scenarios in my head. 

At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me!

Reviews of the Other Episodes

10 thoughts on “Re:Zero 2 episode 37 (or 12) – Evil Rem and the Uninvited Guest

  1. I was wrong about the multiverse part, I’d say, but not in a straightforward way. This takes some unpacking.

    First, I took it for granted that everything that happened really happened. At that point, whether you overwrite history, or create a branching universe makes no difference. I’m a live-in-the-moment guy, and to rewind something there needs to be something to rewind. If horrible thing happen they happen, and there’s no way around that – no matter the model. For that reason, that things go on in a branch after Subaru dies makes little difference for me and is no suprise. Also, there has been at least one sign that alternate pasts leave traces in this one (like, when Rem almost remembered being tossed before, even though it actually never happened to her this time around).

    For me, what Roswaal said was a perspective game. It’s game over me this time around, no matter what. But here’s where I think I was wrong: I think, now, that what he talked about was indeed more straightforward, and I think it’s because he’s been judging Subaru’s state of mind correctly, and I haven’t. I couldn’t even imagine that mindset. This week he said something like “But, then, how many times have I let them die horribly?” Or something to that effect.

    I can’t understand this mindset. Many, many times, people around died horribly before he died, and none of the aftermath he witnessed was really any worse than that. It’s just that I instinctively take for granted that what happened happened, even if you rewind time. Because events are one-offs when considered in the moment, and that’s really the only perspective that seems real to me. Subaru at the very least has a different instinctive take, and I suspect so might the show. And as a result, I think wasn’t getting that aspect of the show.

    Seeing the aftermath would clearly have more impact, though, that abstract musings. And trying your best not to imagine such alternatives makes sense, since you remain functional for longer if you don’t dwell on depressing stuff. It’s simple, straightforward denial. So in the end, it’s not such a big deal for my enjoyment of the show to have been wrong.

    Also, I think I’ve finally figured out why I like Echidna so much. She’s basically a meta-fictional device. You can see her as an author stand-in: the type of author who uses writing as a tool for exploring imagination, rather than the type of writer who plans a message. That’s basically me. Or you can see her as an audience stand in: what’s going to happen. I prefer the author part, because what she did to Beatrice is the fictional equivalent of undermining fate in favour of openendedness, and that’s something I really like, too.

    1. Actually, Dawnstorm, Ram getting thrown by Subaru literally was in the final loop of the mansion arc, so this version of Ram did in fact experience that. She was not remembering traces of previous timelines as being thrown directly happened to her. The only reason she doesn’t remember is because the Sin Archbishop of Gluttony’s power to eat memories has a similar effect to when the White Whale erases a person, which causes everybody who ever knew that person to have their memories be adjusted to account for that person no longer being in their memories. In this case, all memories that included Rem were erased from Ram’s memory, so Ram does not remember being thrown as bait for Rem to catch.

      1. Whoops, in my rush to post, I forgot to mention that all people (except Subaru if he knows that person) forget a person if that person’s name is eaten, and Rem’s name was indeed eaten. Rem had both her name and memories eaten, leading to her becoming an empty shell as opposed to Crusch, who only had her memories eaten.

    2. “Beatrice is the fictional equivalent of undermining fate in favour of openendedness, and that’s something I really like, too.”

      It’s like comparing a single user Call of Duty, with it’s pre-determined scenes, to a game like STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl. In COD, you play through a set missions/quests. If I play COD a dozen times, I get the same missions in the same order. If I play STALKER, it’s a wide-open universe. I could even ignore the missions entirely and just explore. It’s an open-ended game.

      I played COD once, for about 20 hours. According to steam, I’ve played STALKER more than 350 hours, and that’s not counting the mods I don’t play through Steam.

      Not exactly the same idea, but similar.

  2. I don’t have as much to say about this episode as I usually do since it appeared to be a set-up episode for the finale next week.

    I forgot to post that I agree with Irina and TCrow on Re:zero having a multiverse when they first brought it up as I’ve been a believer of a multiverse since episode 15 of Re:zero when Puck cut off Subaru’s head, and the world continued to snow in the epic credits scene that was like a tribute to a movie. Episode 15 suggested that that timeline continued after Subaru’s death, and this episode is almost a ringing endorsement of the multiverse. The only thing missing would be Satella’s confirmation that what Subaru saw during the trial was real. Having said that, I still don’t agree with Irina that Beatrice’s behaviour is inconsistent. Her crying or near crying moments are brought out when Subaru screams at her or when he treats her like a tool.

    I think this episode showed that Echidna is not actually waifu material after all after she broke her act with her extreme excitement when Subaru suggested that a contract with her might not not be too bad before she went back to playing it cool. She’s just obsessed with knowledge and has a lot of curiosity as shown by her very long speech and how she treated Beatrice horribly, and she’s been buttering up Subaru with her good treatment of him for a while and almost succeeded in getting him to enter a contract with her until Minerva stopped it from happening. Bless Minerva’s heart. She is definitely winning me over with her character design, powers, and personality.

    1. One thing she said in her rant that really got me was her saying “You like girls who give you everything, right?”. This tells me that her whole behaviour were just ways to look more appealing to Subaru . Her comforting Subaru and being almost his confidant were more like a checklist of ways to make herself seem like the so-called perfect Waifu.

      1. “Her comforting Subaru and being almost his confidant were more like a checklist ”

        I like this point.

        It has an implication: I think you’re right in that’s what Echidna did, and I think it shows she’s fallible, despite how much data she’s accumulated.

        FauxRem tried to be all comforting for Subaru, and he rejected her because of it. Echidna almost got away with it, because Subaru was flat out exhausted. Still, that scene with FauxRem showed that Subaru is maturing.

    2. “I’ve been a believer of a multiverse since episode 15 of Re:zero when Puck cut off Subaru’s head, and the world continued to snow ”

      That’s a good point. That’s one of my favorite scenes in all of anime, and it never occurred to me that it implied a multiverse. Obviously (now that you’ve pointed it out!), it does!

      “I think this episode showed that Echidna is not actually waifu material ”

      Certainly not, if you like your waifu’s compliant. Just speaking for myself, she was enchanting before this episode, and she remains every bit as enchanting — maybe more. I never forgot she was a powerful witch. There was no way she was _merely_ this young maiden pining for Subaru. She was the Witch of Greed, with everything that implied.

      I adore characters like that.

      “Bless Minerva’s heart. She is definitely winning me over with her character design, powers, and personality.”

      Minerva’s amazing, too. We have to remember, she’s the Witch of Wrath. She saved Subaru so she’d have a shot at him. Or maybe to avoid Satella’s ire? in any event, I’d be surprised if it was just to altruistically help Subaru!

Please let me know what you think!

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