Episode 43, "Declaration of War"
Synopsis: On Heinessen, opinions are mixed on the establishment of the Legitimate Galactic Empire and Reinhard von Lohengramm's declaration. Many are relying on the leadership of Job Trunicht and the military prowess of Yang Wenli to protect them from the Empire. João Rebelo expresses his misgivings about Yang to his colleague Huang Rui. The government-in-exile has difficulty dealing with a charmless prince, who they must drug to keep up appearances. After a reshuffling of military personnel, Julian Mintz is reassigned to Phezzan.
This episode sort of breaks from format by concentrating almost solely on the reactions of people on Heinessen to the news of the Imperial government-in-exile, only bringing Yang and the gang back in at the end after they too have to react to a reaction to... uh, another reaction? I'm losing track here. My point is, it's good to see more of the civilians of the FPA, to get the man-on-the-street position to the events of the story.
As this is a break in format, it means that it's not really completely based on a chapter of the books. It's got a little material from Chapter 5 of the fourth LoGH book, like João Rebelo's conversation with Huang Rui and Julian's reassignment, but otherwise does its own thing to show the fallout of the recent events in the court of public opinion. I'm glad they at least included the government-in-exile's trouble with the vicious Erwin Josef.
The centerpiece of the episode is Rebelo and Rui's conversation while dining. This adaptation seems to expand a little on the conversation, because in the book it's only a couple of pages long, and here it's several minutes. But the main points remain: Rebelo is afraid that, given the hostile atmosphere in the Alliance, some strongman leader like the people in the coup the previous year, might appear and seize power. And more than that, he's afraid the person who could hold the reins is none other than Yang Wenli. Rui tries his best to assure Rebelo that despite his popularity, Yang has no designs on control of the government by dictatorial mandate. In the book, Huang seems very serious about his counters to Rebelo's arguments, but here it appears he's engaging in some bemused half-kidding with his colleague, safe in the knowledge that Yang holds no great ambition.
What Rebelo should be more concerned with is the current leader of the Free Planets Alliance, Job Trunicht, who doesn't seem at all to be sweating over a big showdown with the Empire. Of course, we already know he's got contacts with the Terra cult, and thus with Phezzan, so he's in the bag for whatever ultimately happens (he can't lose either way). But many of the other characters, people like Islands, have an honest enthusiasm and admiration for Trunicht's supposed leadership skills. The poor, dumb bastards.
Speaking of figures of pity, there's the little prince. The public seems to see him as this unfortunate child breaking free from the clutches of a dictatorial monster, but in reality, he's just a figurehead being used by selfish, self-aggrandizing aristocrats looking to restore their former glory. More than that, Erwin Josef himself is a wild brat, probably the victim of being outrageously spoiled his entire life and being in the bloodline of other outrageously spoiled royals. The government-in-exile keeps him drugged out of his mind as to create the impression of his innocence. It's a huge farce.
While I can understand Julian's frustration here about being reassigned away from Yang and Iserlohn, I can't also help but think he's being a little spoiled himself. Did he think that when he joined the military officially that he would just stay by Yang forever? He willingly put himself in the system and soldiers may be assigned to various posts throughout their career. To suddenly object as if he were simply Yang's ward and not a soldier of the FPA military is a bit immature. Though it's also pretty clear that somebody wants to undermine Yang's effectiveness.
Anyway, it was good to see other, unnamed people react to the recently happenings unfolding, and we even got a few lines from Frederica Greenhill (she's been so quiet lately). Next time I imagine we'll be seeing mostly book material as we continue chapter 5. Maybe we'll even see Poplin again! One can always hope.
4 out of 5