Re: Zero is known to have many deaths, but this one especially affected Emilia and Geuse.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Re: Zero – Starting Life in Another World, Season 2, Episode 19, “The Permafrost of Elior Forest”, now streaming on Crunchyroll.
With death always lurking around the corner in Re: zeroIt should come as no surprise that Emilia’s past revealed the heartbreaking death of her foster mother, Fortuna. Still, the cause of his untimely end and the circumstances surrounding it cause both Emilia and Betelgeuse to lose control of reality.
As Elior Forest is slowly engulfed in ice, Pandora leaves an unwanted parting gift with Emilia and promises that one day she will return. Emilia watches her younger self freeze, and Echidna asks her how she will have to come to terms with Fortuna’s death, including the role she played in it.
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Emilia’s firm promise
Despite Fortuna’s best efforts, Emilia ends up meeting Pandora in front of the seal. Emilia is the only person for whom the key to open the seal will appear, and opening it is the only reason why Pandora is here. However, Pandora’s attempts to convince Emilia to use it are met with an iron determination to keep a promise to Fortuna. Since Pandora doesn’t display strong emotions, it’s hard to tell if she’s frustrated by Emilia’s resistance.
Still, Pandora threatens Elior Forest’s safety and tells Emilia that since she made her decision, the young woman would have to accept what happens next. Emilia and Pandora are suddenly interrupted by Fortuna, who doesn’t immediately realize that her daughter is there. Part of Pandora’s ability seems to alter reality – to undo her own death and often confuse people by showing up in new and nearby places. Fortuna even accidentally hits Emilia, thinking she was hitting Pandora.
Fortune Death at the hands of Betelgeuse
Fortuna tells Emilia how proud she is of her for refusing to open the seal and keep her promise. As Fortuna prepares to attack Pandora again, Betelgeuse / Geuse, who now has the Sloth Authority, arrives to help her. Unfortunately, when Geuse throws his invisible hands, they impale Fortuna instead of hitting Pandora. Still momentarily confused, Geuse excitedly tells Fortuna that he got Pandora before realizing the horrible truth.
Geuse and Fortuna were lifelong friends and, beyond that, they shared a deep and potentially romantic connection. Shock and bewilderment surges through Geuse as he tries to understand what just happened. He screams desperately, only for Pandora to assure him that everything he did was out of love for the person he loved the most. The moment tears Geuse apart, and he quickly descends into something much more like the delusional and frantic version of the character we met earlier on the series.
Emilia remains committed to saving her people
After Emilia shares one last touching goodbye with Fortuna, she unleashes a flurry of deadly attacks on Pandora, proclaiming to “die” each time. While each one seems to result in a bloody death for Pandora, her ability negates them all as she continues to respawn. Emilia eventually loses control of her powers, freezing herself, the entire forest, and its inhabitants. Before Emilia is completely frozen, Pandora erases her memories, but swears that she will return one day to open the seal.
As Emilia looks at her younger, frozen self, Echidna tells her that the first part of the trial is complete by detaching herself from her greatest regret, asking Emilia if she will accept or reject her past self. To some extent, Fortuna’s death was in part the result of Emilia and Geuse’s decisions, and Pandora certainly orchestrated some deception.
However, Emilia admits that despite not being able to save her mother, she is still happy to have kept her promise to Fortuna, who was proud of her for it. While there is still a lot to do before she can liberate her frozen village, Emilia wants to save them and show them the world Fortuna dreamed of.
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