Episode 17, "The Yang Fleet Mobilizes"
Synopsis: After an assassination attempt on Admiral Cubersly by Andrew Falk, it appears that rogue elements in the FPA military are ready to foment rebellions. Yang is ordered to put down revolts on several FPA planets, but before he can, there's a coup on Heinessen. The National Salvation Military Council, led by Dwight Greenhill, takes control of the government and military, even taking Admiral Bewcock into custody. Despite her connection to the ringleader, Frederica is surprised to learn that Yang still values her participation. The Yang Fleet disembarks from Iserlohn Fortress to fight the insurrectionists.
You know, this would have been the best episode this season, had the show not already spoiled Admiral Greenhill's involvement in the coup two episodes ago with him in plain sight leading the meeting of the insurrectionists. If they had bothered to frame the scene in a way where he was completely unseen by the viewer, the revelation that he was the leader of the rebellion in this episode would have been an actual twist.
Not that we knew much about Greenhill to begin with, he only had a couple of scenes in the series thus far, but we saw how frustrated he was during the invasion into Imperial territory at the indifference and incompetence of higher ups (he was stationed at Iserlohn with Falk and Lobos), and he's the father of Frederica, so it would have made a great reveal.
I remember feeling that way when it happened in the original OVA. "Woah, Frederica's father?!" But here the reveal is totally neutered. Maybe the studio thought that people would have already watched the OVA, though. But for newcomers, this was a waste. In the book and OVA, we find out when Yang and his group find out.
Speaking of the book, this is a pretty faithful adaptation of Chapter 3 of the second novel, save for moving around some of the settings (the scene with Bewcock and the conspirators was moved to his office, the scene with Yang and Schönkopf to some kind of holo-obervatory, Yang's scene with Frederica moved to her quarters). It even included the incident with Julian assuring the citizens at Iserlohn and all of the amendments to the FPA charter the National Salvation Military Council announced. I'm surprised just how neatly it all fit in a single episode of this show, because so much goes on.
Once again we see that Andrew Falk is just the fucking worst. Maybe he's suffering from a legitimate mental illness that didn't come to the front until pressure was put on him, but his actions show that he's an entitled little brat who styles himself an equal to Yang, when he's not fit to tie his shoes. He's the perfect example of how zealously overreaching officers get put in places of power and crack under pressure. After that assassination attempt, he's going to have a nice, long rest in an asylum, but don't count him out entirely, newbies. Just know that he's the worst. At least Trunicht has some pizzazz in his awfulness.
Seeing the corruption and decadence of the Free Planets Alliance government and military, the National Salvation Council seeks to reform the very lifestyles of the citizens of its (several planets fold) nation. But instead of doing this by promoting greater care to social welfare and a plan to sue for peace with the Empire (which they would be in a very good position to do), they've decided to go the exact opposite route and attempt to transform it into a military state, curbing social programs and freedom of speech to keep the country from "weakening". Yang has it right when he states that his is basically how Rudolf von Goldenbaum started the Empire. As Bewcock points out, the coup group is so sure that they themselves won't become corrupt, even though they'll have a stranglehold on the country's civil liberties, so it's a laughable project.
One of my favorite scenes of the episode is Yang's visit to Frederica, who appears to have armed guards in front of her apartment (I'm assuming they're there to protect her from reprisals because of her father?). She looks completely dejected and drained, her eyes cast downward, a daughter taking the shame of her father's actions. Yang, however, isn't going to visit on the child the actions of her father, and requests she remain his aide-de-camp. Their exchange is a nice bit of characterization.
My other favorite scene in the episode was Schönkopf tempting Yang. The former points out what a contradiction Yang is, to hate war so much but to be a master of it, to know how awful the government of the FPA is, but quick to defend the country against the insurrectionists. He suggests waiting for the National Salvation Council to fail, as he presumes they will, spectacularly, and then have Yang take control for himself. After all, while he would be a dictator, it would still be an improvement over either government. We know that Schönkopf is likely only half-serious about the whole thing, maybe even testing Yang's character. Yang responds as you'd expect him to, by not harboring any kind of great ambition. It's the second test of Yang in the episode, and again he passes.
Anyway, things are really ramping up, on both sides of the galaxy. Next time we'll see Gaiesburg Fortress, "Theory-Weary Staden", and maybe even Boris Konev! Get excited, because Reuenthal and Mittermeyer are about to prove their meddle.
3.5 out of 5