Episode 33, "War Without Weapons"
Synopsis: The Iserlohn garrison braces for a battle against Geiersburg Fortress, hoping they can summon Yang Wenli back in time. On Heinessen, Frederica Greenhill attempts to get Yang help from Admiral Bewcock and Joan Lebello. At the inquiry, Yang continues to deflect the questions and demands of those gathered to persecute him. However, before he can tender his resignation, word is handed down about the Empire's invasion of the Iserlohn Corridor and Yang reluctantly agrees to repel the enemy.
Another aces episode of Die Neue These, where Yang Wenli continues to put his inquirers in their place with his nigh implacable attitude. It leads to one of my favorite quotes in LoGH and a fair amount of frustration for its listeners in the show. I love this damn show.
The episode is a fairly straight adaptation of Chapter 6 of the third book. From the reactions of the Iserlohn group to the fortress appearing before them, to Yang finishing his resignation letter, to Frederica's talk with Admiral Bewcock, to the recollection of the Edwards Committee protest incident by Labello, to Yang's great speech about "parasites", to the inquiry dissolving because of the incursion into the Iserlohn Corridor, to Labello's worries about Yang, to Negroponte trying to to put a good face on things, to Yang stating he's prepared to get back to the front. The only things in the chapter that were missing from the episode were Edmond Messersmith, the officer that Dwight Greenhill had an eye on to pair up with his daughter before Yang, Mrs. Bewcock's interaction with Frederica (we do get a quick shot of that), and Frederica's second confrontation with Bay, where she threatens to go to the press (he's not that concerned). None of these things were vital, so it's not a surprise they excised them to fit the chapter into an episode. The episode still flows well without them.
We really see what raging hypocrites the politicians in the Free Planets Alliance are in this episode. Not only do we see that most of them have family that have magically avoided being drafted into the war, but that they're flummoxed when you mention it. Here are a class of people that not only didn't contribute their own flesh and blood to the supposedly vital war against the dreaded Empire, but hypocritically play up the importance of warfare to mankind, which Yang notes might be a point if people didn't lose their lives in these conflicts. Now, of course in a civilian government, the politicians can't really be expected to be soldiers on the front line. But they've gone out of their way to praise sacrifices that they wouldn't dare ever make themselves while sending people off to make those sacrifices.
Yang has enough of the inquiry at this point. Their two-faced patriotism, their gall to call him in front of themselves to question him when they've never made any sacrifices themselves, these cause him to basically give a complete verbal slap down to them by calling them malicious parasites. After all, there were plenty of chances after the capture of Iserlohn Fortress to sue for peace with the Empire. But instead, the government decided to push into more war, high on the fumes of victory and self-importance.
But speaking of Iserlohn, Yang is dismissed from the inquiry when the news comes down that the Empire is attacking using Geiersburg. The pompous jerks that kept Yang in a pressure cooker for days have to swallow their own words and beg him to go and protect their interests on the front. One of the members of the committee recognizes this and admits to the others that they're really not all that great.
Now, this harsh criticism of government has a certain ring of libertarian or conservative values, but you have to remember that Yang makes a point not to be authoritarian or even extol the vitality of traditional values or claim any political power for himself. He goes out of his way to, when talking to Labello, defend his lack of ambition. But Labello has a point, that people change, and while the viewer knows Yang won't give into his frustrations with government and take power for himself (he recognizes the importance of civilian rule), other characters don't necessarily get it, even the more progressive and reasonable political figures.
I'm not sure how many episodes, if any, are left in this season. We know that a fourth season (or the second part of the third?) is coming in the Fall. I hope we get to see some of the fortress-to-fortress battle before the break.
5 out of 5