For those wondering who those weird skeletons in the last episode were, and what they were standing around, this episode gives us something of an answer. While they, once again, only feature in a brief scene, we do learn that they are servants of the Earl and the large orb is the old ark. We also learn the identity of the one skeleton who had appeared to go rogue, but that comes later in the episode.
In the meantime, Allen and Lavi are still getting pummeled. Even coordinated attacks are ineffective. A part of that could be due to the fact that any time one of the exorcists attempts to attack the monster from behind, they scream at the top of their lungs during their charge so that he knows that they’re coming.
It seems hopeless, but the two keep fighting as they don’t really have any choice and it isn’t like Lenalee or Chaoji can defend themselves. Luckily, backup does arrive in a rather unexpected form.
That “rogue” skeleton from before appears and manages to catch Allen before he falls down a deadly chasm. After some brief dialogue, Allen picks up on who has come to his rescue, his old master, General Cross.
There’s been a lot of talk and several flashbacks dedicated to the character, but this is the first time that we’ve seen him in the flesh and the first time we see him in action. It turns out that he’s a force to be reckoned with as he effortlessly turns the tide in the fight and puts the creature that was once Tyki on the defensive for the first time since the battle began.
Cross is able to do this because he wields two anti-akuma weapons as opposed to the standard one. More than that, the two compliment each other rather well as one is defensive and the other is offensive, meaning he has all his bases covered.
The Grave of Maria was an interesting weapon. It contains a bizarre monster that looks like something out of ‘Silent Hill’ or a Guillermo Del Toro flick. Said creature sings, which can somehow create force fields. Allen says that it can also create illusions, but we never see this ability in action.
Cross’ gun (which he calls “Judgment” hence the episode title) was a bit simple, but it does get the job done. It takes all of Tyki’s willpower to deflect the bullets, and even that proves pointless as they “lock” on to him and don’t stop until they strike their target. Also, ammo doesn’t seem to be a problem as he keeps firing despite the fact that the revolver’s chambers cycle around a couple of times over.
While the exorcists are essentially sidelined for the remainder of the episode, they still manage to fall into peril as both Lavi and Chaoji are knocked off the remaining landmass into the abyss below. Lavi does try to use his hammer to save them, but it crumbles in Allen’s hand as it has taken too much damage from the fight.
Lenalee herself also falls, but she is saved by Allen’s sentient wrist bandage…things. What’s most galling about this is the fact that Lenalee makes no effort to help herself while Allen struggles to pull her up. She could grab on with her other hand and start to climb or try to get a grip on the cliff face, but nope, she just hangs there and is generally useless. One wonders if she’ll ever get her groove back. There aren’t many episodes left and she doesn’t seem any closer to getting back into it than she was 15 episodes ago. You could argue that she would have been better off going out in a blaze of glory when she defeated Eshii. At least then, she’d have gone out on a high note. Seeing her current state is just sad.
Just as the heroes have a surprise guest, so too do the villains, via the Earl himself, who appears to pull Tyki out when it looks like he’s on the ropes. He didn’t do as much as one would hope, but it seems he and the general are about to have words, so that should be interesting to see.
General Cross’ presence did a lot to elevate the episode. It probably would have just been filler, but he has enough gravitas to pull you back into what could have just been another episode of slugfest. It probably won’t stand as one of the show’s greats, but it was entertaining enough and did shift the status quo up rather well.