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The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 21: Favorites

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The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 21 – Quick Summary

In The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2 episode 21, “A burnt child dreads the fire.,” Zoe tried to protect the others from the werewolf, but he felt his strength ebbing. Meanwhile, Chise, Elias, and the others searched for Philomela. Can they find here in time to halt her rapid decay?  Is there anything that Alcyone can do to help? And why doesn’t Fabio Zaccheroni do anything to help Zoe?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 21

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 21: Either Chise has come to terms with her past, or she has prioritized helping Philomela

Does Chise really have this good a handle on her own feelings? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The way the episode portrayed Chise as drawing Philomela and the others into her head struck a chord with me. There was something innocent and vulnerable about it, particularly in the way a child-form of Chise led a child-form of Philomela through a school. Each room held a memory from Philomela’s life.

Each seemed more painful than the last.

One in particular stood out. Chise and Philomela looked on an even smaller child version of Philomela. She lay on a stone floor in a dungeon cell. Her evil grandmother had thrown her there because she hadn’t done this or that perfectly. Overall conditions had been so bad, though, that Philomela said she preferred the cell. At least grandma didn’t yell at her in there.

The memory turned in a flower pedal, which they collected. They moved to the next room. When they opened it, an elementary school version of Chise stood alone. The other children whispered terrible things about her. 

Philomela looked at Chise, apparently afraid of what the memory might do to her. But Chise just smiled and said (12:46), “Wrong one. That was a piece of me.”

First, kudos for Chise to be able to smile in the face of a memory like that. I hope she has come to peace with it! And second, what an emotional moment of bonding – Philomela saw that Chise had endured something like that and had come through it.

Favorite Moment from The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 21

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 21: Philomela couldn't explain herself to Lucy

Were Philomela’s words a challenge to fate? A plea for understanding? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Lucy’s Fury Made a God-Like Being Quail

The plot lines for Lucy and Philomela collided this week, with dramatically powerful results. When Lucy found one of her precious spiders mounted on the wall of grandma’s office, I feared for Philomela’s safety – even though she had the trappings of a god. But for whatever reason, Lucy didn’t attack. Maybe she was just being pragmatic? Watching Lucy manage her anger has been really interesting.

Later, in Chise’s dream-world, Lucy had apparently had time to come to terms with whatever happened, and she demanded that Philomela do something about her plight.

Maybe Lucy was astute enough to realize Philomela was no evil mastermind. Probably, she understood that Philomela had played a role, but there was too much Lucy didn’t know about that catastrophic event. Definitely, her focus was on getting Philomela to talk.

Turns out, shoving a plush model of a spider in Philomela’s face was the key. I love the physics and logic of dream realities!

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 21: Lucy shoved the plush spider into Philomela's face

Who knew the role the plush spider would play? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

In front of Chise, Lucy, Isaac, and Philomela, almost as if it were a projection from a 16mm movie, Philomela’s memories played. They all saw evil grandma’s orders to Philomela: follow the werewolves to Lucy’s family’s estate, because assassination was one of the Sargant family’s responsibilities.

Dream Philomela was horrified. She begged for it to stop. It didn’t stop. The scene switched to little Philomela reporting that the werewolves had spared the youngest Webster child. Grandma seemed moderately bummed. But she consoled herself that they got the spiders.

Realizing she couldn’t stop the film, she screamed for the others not to watch. They watched. How could they not? 

Delivery: Philomela Clung to a Bit of Her Humanity

The scene switched again, this time to evil grandma giving Philomela the book that has caused so much trouble – with the promise that if she sucked the power of enough sorcerers and learned to use the book, she could bring back her father and mother.

What came next was the fuel of an hour-long rant about how evil that grandmother is. But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about what happened next.

After the movie stopped, a wide-eyed Lucy said (19:56), “It was you.” Again, I feared for Philomela’s safety, even though they existed as projections in Chise’s imagination. But Lucy didn’t begin to pummel the poor girl. Instead, she took her by the shoulders and demanded to know why it happened. In a pained voice, Philomela said she had not been given the right to know, and that there was no way she could have told Lucy about any of it anyway.

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 21: Philomela neared her breaking point

Events had pushed Philomela to the breaking point. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

But there’s something in Philomela that hasn’t quite given up. Despite everything, there’s a little piece of her that still wants to find a way forward. Maybe she’s just repurposed despair, but whatever the reason, what she said next really hit me.

“Tell me what I could have done,” she said, crying (20:26). “What could I have done at the time?”

It was both a plea for possibilities, and a plea for understanding. Lucy had no answer. She released Philomela’s shoulders.

Even back in college, I’ve been attracted to stories where the characters can push forwards in spite of despair. It’s not hope, really. I’ve learned to do without it. It’s simply a desire, maybe a need, to strive, without hope of success, simply because striving is the thing to do. I saw that in this moment. Moments like this are why I hold Philomela’s character so dear.

What did you think of Elias holding a seemingly broken Alcyone aloft (09:52)? What were your favorite moments? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 21: Favorites

  1. Since the wolves were being controlled by Lizbeth just like Philomela, I imagine she’d be similarly forgiving. Lizbeth should be the sole target of her ire, as she was holding all the strings. Not to mention whoever hired the Sargants to eliminate the Websters. Good lord, I just realized … WEBster … spiders … *chefs kiss*

    1. Wow — that had been staring us in the face the whole time.

      I like your reasoning. Lizbeth “May She Rot in Hell” Sargant does deserve all the blame. I hope she has to pay what she owes soon!

    1. I think her husband’s dead. I _think_ I remember her carrying his head around for a while.

      I love intricate stories — but a lot of times, this series gets away from me!

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