Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: Future Enemies
April 22, 2024 5:03 PM - Season 1, Episode 22 - Subscribe

With the conclusion of the First Test, the surviving candidates get a chance for some rest in the interlude. But while they have some time to enjoy themselves, the reality of the Second Test looms over their heads...

After the intensity of the past few episodes, we get a slice of life episode as a palette cleanser, letting the various mages interact when not being pitted against each other under such dire circumstances.

The episode starts off with a recap of the conclusion, with an overview of the six remaining parties. Beyond the four we've been tracking (II, IV, VIII, and XIII), we have Party I, led by Methode - "method", unsurprisingly - and Party XVII, led by Edel - "novel" - passing as well. And with that the parties are released, to be notified of the details of the Second Test at a later time.

We then return to the lodgings of Team Frieren, where we find Stark taking a midday nap, given that without the rest of his party, there's not much else for him to do. Of course, said nap is soon disturbed by some rather insistent knocking on the door - the source of which is one perturbed Fern, who soon susses out that Stark let his usual schedule slip with the two of them in the First Test. Frieren notes that Stark has upset Fern - a statement that only serves to turn her annoyance on her master and her napping as well. With the three out on the streets of Äußerst, and Fern in full pout, Frieren notes that placating the young mage is now at the top of the to-do list - but she does have an idea as to what might just sweeten her mood - a meal at a restaurant that she visited with the Party of Heroes.

We now switch over to a magic shop in the city, and soon find that its proprietor is none other than Richter, who is currently repairing a magic lantern for an old woman, his expertise making quick work of the repair. It becomes clear that the woman is his grandmother, and she gives him some sweets as payment - when he tries to argue he's an adult, she points out that he's always going to be her sweet baby grandchild, and besides, grownups enjoy sweets too. And with that Denken and Laufen arrive, the latter having a basket of pastries on her arm. Richter states that the shop is closed, on account of someone dragging him into a fistfight over a bird, to which Denken tells him that they should all relax over dinner - he has a place in mind, but needs a guide, someone local to the area. Richter notes that Denken is treating Laufen like a grandchild now, then tells them to go away - to which Denken notes that it would behoove him to keep on his good side, before explaining why he wants the guidance - this particular restaurant was one he visited with his late wife when they visited Äußerst years ago. With that, Richter concedes, telling Denken that he's paying - to which the sly old mage replies that he was planning that all along.

Finally, we see Land walking the streets alone, watching a kitten find its mother - only to have his solitude interrupted by Ubel, who chats the mage up as they walk together. He notes that she has no issues taking life, and yet she chose not to kill Wirbel - a choice he finds puzzling. To this, she explains that she has a talent - if she can understand how a mage thinks, develop an empathic bond with them, she can then master their signature spell. And to demonstrate the point, she then binds Land with Sorganeil, showing that through their interaction she now has his binding spell as part of her repertoire. Land's clone spell has her quite interested in the mage, but he's been quite the tough nut to crack. And in that, she's the opposite of Land, he being a student of the magical arts, while she more feels her way through the spells she casts - and that sort of talent annoys him. He points out to her that she can't empathize with him if she kills him, and so she frees him, continuing along with him.

Back to Denken and crew, they find themselves outside of the restaurant in question - a choice Richter approves of, as it is the best in the city. Noting that it's been 50 years since he ate there last, Denken opens the door and they walk in - to see that Frieren and her party are seated already, looking at the menu. Fern is staring down the dessert menu with nervousness and desire, while Frieren helps Stark by pointing out that he might enjoy the dish that Himmel chose. Denken notes that they're there to celebeate and enjoy - and after all, that's why they're at the place as well, so they should just enjoy the meal.

Soon, Team Frieren's meals are served - for Stark, a delicious looking Japanese style rice omlette, Frieren overlooking a stack of grilled meat that would make a Texan jealous, and Fern having a selection of sweet treats. With that, Frieren flashes back to when she was last here, having a reward meal on the house as the Party of Heroes had retrieved the chef's knife of the owner, Lecker - "delicious", as befits a chef - and as they enjoy the meal the chef promises to preserve the taste of his food as Frieren notes how she misses the food she enjoyed in the past - to which Frieren notes that taste evolves, and his pupils will strive for greater heights. Back in the present, the elf takes a bite of the steak, noting that Lecker didn't keep his word, as the flavor has changed...but then smiles as she notes that it's only gotten better. Looking around, we see Denken admonishing Laufen to eat her veggies, while Land and Ubel share a small repast - the three groups relaxing in the moment. Finally finished, Frieren and Stark follow a quite happy and full Fern, when Stark asks the important question - what was the price of Fern's joy? To which the elf sadly relays it cost her reserves - though it does seem it was money well spent.

The next morning, we have Stark out on a hill overlooking the city engaged in meditation as an old man gives him words of wisdom on the art of war - completely unbidden words we find out as Frieren comes up to fetch the young warrior. It seems that the elf has (once again) managed to get on the wrong side of her apprentice and daughter, and so she's sought him out as a mediator - something that Stark isn't too sure about. Returning to the inn we see that Fern's in full pout now over Frieren oversleeping and not doing the shopping, resulting in Stark noting that they need to not fight like children. Finally acquesing to Frieren's request, Stark tries to mediate the matter, getting from Fern a curt statement of wanting snacks.

In another part of the city, we see Kanne doing some people watching, noting Wirbel appraising warriors for a job before Lawine approaches, all dolled up courtesy of her older siblings and mother basically using her as a dressup doll - a behavior that annoys her to no end. Before they get going, Kanne takes Lawine's hand, telling her she would be happy to be the ice mage's prince - and getting her hair tugged for her troubles. Back to Team Frieren, they've found a bakery and are looking over the goods - Fern notes that she "doesn't care" what they pick, which Stark knows she means the exact opposite. With the two at a loss as to how to appease Fern, they're interrupted by Kanne and Lawine entering the bakery - winding up being the solution to the problem as they soon have baskets of fresh treats. Kanne notes they wanted to see Frieren to thank her, so the chance meeting was perfect. And one chance meeting begets another as Wirbel approaches the group, looking Stark over - it turns out there's a fresser - "devourer" - eating the crops, and so he's been hired to deal with the matter. Problem is that he needs a frontliner - and given everything Fern put him and his team through, shouldn't she lend him hers? Needless to say, it doesn't take long for Fern to offer the boy up, and so he winds up getting dragged off - though perhaps it's for the best, given the girls are looking to have a snack party at the inn. (And though we won't see it till Season 2, this will wind up having some serious repercussions later on.)

Back at the inn, the two young mages give Frieren the basket they have, thanking her for how she helped them pass the First Test - a thank you that has her reminiscing about why Himmel would help others - for him, it was a way to be remembered, not with memorials, but in the hearts of the people - and tells Frieren that to get people to remember her, all she needs to do is change their life, if only in a small way. And with that, the four have a happy little snack party, talking and laughing - and it's clear that this was the ticket to brighten Fern's mood. Though Lawine points out that in the upcoming tests, past allies could well be future enemies - and it's at this moment the notice for the Second Test arrives. Looking it over, Kanne and Lawine are dismayed at the name of the proctor on the notification - as it seems that Sense has a reputation for culling examinees as ruthlessly as her namesake, as in the four tests she ran, there was not one passing candidate. And with that we get a montage of the candidates receiving their notifications, concluding with Wirbel and Stark bonding over the spoils of the hunt - a pile of dead fressers behind them as they enjoy some roast meat, Wirbel praising Stark's skills.

Looking out over the scenery, Genau notes that Sense's test is a cruel one, as she states she's a pacifist - and then we move to the entry of the Tomb Of The Kings - the site of the Second Test.
posted by NoxAeternum (1 comment total)
So, while this episode is technically part of the First Class Mage Examination arc, it more feels like a standalone episode as the examination only factors in at the very end, and even then not that much. It does, however, serve an important purpose - first, it serves as a palette cleanser which allows the First and Second Tests to have their own flavor, and it gives the characters to interact outside of the constraints of the Examination. A good example of this is Wirbel - we get an image of him as ruthless and brutal (and in the context of battle, he is), but letting him interact outside of that shows that he's more than that, and his praise of Stark illustrates that, as it's clear he's genuinely impressed by the young warrior, and is happy to say so.

I do find the title of the episode (and the worry it represents) amusing in a way, knowing how the rest of the exam plays out. That worry is going to impact how things play out, but not in the ways people expect, because the tests aren't going to be what anyone is planning.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:07 PM on April 22

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