Erza and Evergreen continue their fight from the previous episodes. Evergreen tries using her eyes against Erza, but Erza closes her natural eye, allowing her to see, while resisting Evergreen's power to turn her to stone.
The fight ends with Erza pinning Evergreen to a tower, and demanding that she turns all the other girls back to normal. Evergreen reveals that she has another power, the ability to control the statues by remote control, and that unless Erza prostrates before her she'll turn the girls into dust.
Erza calls her bluff, and tells her that she admires Evergreen valuing victory over her own life, and that in that case all she can do is get revenge for her murdered comrades with Evergreen's life.
The girls are freed from the curse, and are brought up to speed on what's been happening. Makarov intends to punish Laxus for his behavior, but Natsu says he shouldn't be so hard on him.
After all, he's still a member of the guild, so he wouldn't ever really go that far. Besides, there's nothing really wrong with wanting to find out who is strongest in the guild. He then ruins his moment by declaring it time for the second Battle of Fairy Tail, and goes after Lucy for his first "challenge." Though really it looks more like he's trying to molest her.
Laxus sends a message, saying that since the hostages are now free, he's activating the Thunder Palace, and they have an hour and ten minutes to find him. Makarov has a heart attack when he realizes how far his grandson is willing to go. And I'm not being cute there, he really has a heart attack.
The girls, along with Natsu and Gajeel go outside and see the town is surrounded by thunder lachryma. Magic crystals that, if they discharge their energy, will rain down thunderbolts on the city.
Bisca, the cowboy sniper girl - don't ask me how a cowboy sniper girl fits into a story about mages, I'm still trying to figure out why they put her in a bikini - takes one of the lachryma out with her sniper rifle, but is immediately struck down by the body link magic cast on them. Cana explains that body link magic is a magic that will deal damage to the attacker equal to the damage inflicted on the target it was cast on. The girls, realizing that they are the only ones left who can stop Laxus, since the two dragonslayers can't leave, go out to look for him, while Lucy and Happy go to evacuate the townspeople and visitors.
Wait, did they actually take Makarov to the infirmary before going outside to see the Thunder Palace?
Freed tells Laxus that he's going to far, endangering the entire town. He tries to get Laxus to stop from going further, but once he realizes that Laxus won't be stopped, he decides to continue onward, saying that they have already gone too far and there's no going back.
Levy reveals that she can get Natsu and Gajeel out of the guild, since the runes trapping them are a type of writing magic - her specialty.
Erza in the meanwhile bursts into a mens' public bath, yelling for Laxus to come out. It doesn't take long for her to realize that Evergreen tricked her into going to the wrong place.
Happy tells Lucy that they can't evacuate the people, because with how many people are visiting for the festival they will cause a panic that could end with a lot of people hurt. While they are trying to figure out what to do they are attacked by Bisclow. Lucy manages to take out his dolls with Sagittarius, which of course doesn't stop him at all.
Bisclow steals Lucy's keys, leaving her defenseless. Fortunately Loke comes to her aid.
The episode ends with Lucy and Loke fighting together to take out Bisclow, and going on the offensive.
Overall this episode was a lot of fun, if you're a shipper you'll have mixed feelings about the ending fight with Lucy and Loke teaming up, but if you're a regular person you won't care and will just enjoy this episode for upping the ante on the time bomb.
For those unfamiliar, in narrative fiction a time bomb refers to a deadline placed on the plot. Essentially it's "If the characters don't make it in time, something bad will happen." In the case of Bleach the Soul Society arc is a good example of this. If Ichigo and his friends don't hurry, Rukia will be executed. In One Piece the Enies Lobby arc is another good example. As more time passes and Luffy and his crew are held up, Nico Robin gets closer and closer to being taken on a Marine ship to the legendary prison Impel Down, from where she will never escape (though later we find out that she probably would have made it out, since Luffy successfully breaks into Impel Down and manages to get out. Confused? Read One Piece, you won't regret it).
A time bomb places a time constraint on the characters, by threatening them with something bad happening. It increases the urgency of what the characters are doing, and ups the tension of the story. It's a great technique that is used at least once in pretty much every series ever written, especially in the shonen genre.
It works so well for Fairy Tail because it starts off with the lives of the girls at stake, but then when they are released we get just a moment of thinking that everything will be all right, before Laxus reveals that the lives of the entire town are at stake. The ante has been upped, with more lives at stake, and the previous sense of urgency has just increased. It's good writing because it follows the act two structure of a three act plot structure quite well. With the defeat of Evergreen, and the freeing of the girls from their stone prisons it looks like things are starting to go the right way for the heroes, but it turns out that things are worse now than ever.
Natsu during this episode started out as still trusting Laxus, despite his threatening the girls. But towards the end of the episode even he is realizing how serious the situation is, and starts to get pissed.
With this the tone of the overall arc shifts towards a more serious tone, once even Natsu realizes that Laxus isn't kidding, and that unless he gets out of the guild, there's nothing Natsu can do to stop Laxus.
Overall a good watch, but not the greatest episode out there. While not entirely satisfying on an emotional level, it advances the plot, and follows proper structure faithfully, so I can't help but appreciate it for that.
I've come to realize that reading a review of an episode that is just a summary of events is boring, so I'm going to try and expand my reviews to include more commentary at the end, and a few more jokes in the summary. I hope that my reviews are satisfactory, and that I'll continue to improve.
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