Re: Zero: Betelgeuse’s Last Resort Was His Fatal Mistake

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Re: Zero - Starting Life in Another World, Season 2, Episode 18, "The Day Betelgeuse Laughed," now streaming on Crunchyroll.

Re: Zero is far from kind to everyone that inhabits its world, and while Betelgeuse (occasionally written as Petelgeuse) went on to torment Subaru earlier in the series, Emilia's Graveyard trial reveals how he began his descent into darkness. To contend with Regulus Corneas -- the Sin Archbishop of Greed -- and a mysterious woman named Pandora, Betelgeuse chooses to fuse himself with the Witch Factor of Sloth to gain more power. But at what cost will this new strength come?

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The Authority of Sloth

As Emilia continues watching her forgotten memories with Echidna in Episode 18, things take a dark turn. Young Emilia and her aunt Fortuna -- who raised her like a mother -- run away from Regulus and Pandora after Betelgeuse/Geuse reassures them he will catch up with them later. After they've escaped, Geuse reveals a small box containing black tendrils, which he presses against his chest, causing him to writhe in pain and bleed from his eyes.

Pandora, who appears to be the Witch's Cult leader, applauds Geuse for subjecting himself to the Authority of Sloth and gaining its power. Citing love as his reason for choosing this path, Geuse now wields his famed Unseen Hands, which he uses to fight against Regulus. Still, even when Geuse decided to open the Witch's Factor of Sloth, he knew the decision would alter the course of his life.

Though Geuse's dedication is commendable and heartwarming, it's hard to disassociate him from the actions he ends up committing after seemingly losing his grip on reality. However, it's just as difficult not to feel for Geuse as the picture of his past is painted more clearly. Given his relationship with Fortuna and her eventual death, a strong case could be made that it will be a significant factor in what pushes Geuse over the edge.

The Power of the Witch's Cult

Emilia and Fortuna share a heartbreaking goodbye as Geuse fights Regulus. Fortuna knows that Geuse will need her help -- later revealing that she wants to share her final moments with him too -- and since Pandora and Regulus are targeting Emilia and the seal, she'll have to help keep them off her daughter's trail. A tearful Emilia continues fleeing while Fortuna finds an incredibly injured Geuse, whose arms have been blown off by Regulus.

When Regulus grows increasingly agitated by everyone cutting him off, including Pandora, he turns on his teammate and seems to obliterate her with a single swipe. However, before he can kill Geuse, Pandora reappears and teleports Regulus away -- which somehow reverses all of the damage he caused and even heals Geuse's wounds. Stunned by Pandora's frightening abilities, Geuse and Fortuna prepare for the worst as they throw everything they have at her.

We don't see the brawls results, but we know things don't go well for Geuse and Fortuna since Pandora still ends up tracking Emilia down. With Emilia's trial likely reaching its conclusion soon, its final moments will undoubtedly shake her to her core -- and will cement Geuse as one of Re: Zero's most tragic villains.

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