Julius, the man who beat Subaru within an inch of his life, shows up to help with the subjugation of the witch’s cult. This gives us time to remember Subaru as a flawed character. Even after Julius and Subaru apologize to each other for their various actions, Subaru still hates everything about Julius. Which makes sense, as Julius is kind of an arrogant jerk.
Subaru’s beef with Julius, while interesting, is not the reason anybody is watching this episode. It has been roughly seven episodes since Betelgeuse first appeared and we want some satisfaction. And Episode 22 truly delivers on that point.
Subaru uses his only card at this point – the smell of the witch – to get close to Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse welcomes Subaru with open arms, once again referring to Subaru as the missing prophet, Pride. Betelgeuse’s insanity is played perfectly. Everything from his voice acting to his erratic movements makes him a terrifying villain.
Eventually, Subaru decides he has stalled enough and the attack commences. Hetaro and Mimi blow up the shrine behind Betelgeuse and Wilhelm appears from above to cut Betelgeuse in half. And just like that, it’s over. Betelgeuse is pronounced dead by Felix, the master healer of the capital. The good guys have won.
If it sounds a little anti-climactic for Betelgeuse to die without a prolonged battle, that’s because it is. Even Subaru seems surprised by how easily Sloth went down. One of the greatest moments in the episode is Subaru rushing back to check that Betelgeuse hasn’t started moving since they started walking away. To make him feel better, Mimi blows up the corpse. Just to be sure.
The gang convenes to discuss how to track down and kill the remaining fingers. Everything seems relaxed and lighthearted until Betelgeuse’s Unseen Hand comes from the woods and kills a few of the unnamed party members. While everyone is still disoriented, a single tendril reaches out and grabs Subaru, pulling him into the forest where he is confronted by one of Betelgeuse’s fingers.
Apparently, Betelgeuse’s power and personality were not unique. The woman who does the voice acting for Betelgeuse’s finger is amazing. Her tone and inflection as she rants make her feel like a double of the prophet instead of an imitator.
While the finger is cut down fairly easily – again, by Wilhelm – her existence as a carbon copy of Betelgeuse raises new issues. There are at least eight other cultists with these exact same powers and personality. And they are all coming for Emilia.
The episode ends with a refocus on evacuating the castle. If Emilia is safe, then the fighters can focus on taking out the fingers. But somehow, Subaru get’s magically separated from the pack and encounters Ram in a suddenly snow-covered landscape. I cannot even imagine what is going to happen next.
Episode 22 had a lot of great moments in it. Ignoring the feud between Subaru and Julius, the reappearance of Betelgeuse and his finger were wonderfully done. Wilhelm again reminds us that he is the real hero of the story as he gets all of the awesome fighting.
The only issue I have with the episode is Subaru’s reaction to the gospel. The gospel is a little book that Betelgeuse carries with him. After multiple generals have shown an extreme fear of touching the book, Subaru picks it up casually. After Hetaro tells Subaru that nobody should read the book, Subaru decides to attempt to decipher it. After Subaru is told that prophets of the Witch receive the book to turn them into devoted followers, Subaru pockets the book to keep with him! Why?! It’s not like he was absent for these discussions. It’s probably the stupidest thing Subaru has done since… well… every episode between 13 and 18.