Re:Zero’s Graveyard Trial Confronts Garfiel and Emilia’s Traumatic Pasts

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Re: Zero - Starting Life in Another World, Season 2, Episode 16, "Nobody Can Lift a Quain Stone Alone," now streaming on Crunchyroll.

Re: Zero's Subaru and Garfiel have endured a reasonably contemptuous relationship in the Sanctuary, and after laying everything on the table, they seem to not only bury the hatchet but found some much-needed closure for Garfiel in the process. With a mix of tough love and exchange of fists, Garfiel finally re-enters the Graveyard in Season 2's Episode 16 to confront the death of his mother.

What makes the Witch's Graveyard's trial especially difficult is the personalized, targeted emotional challenge it presents. Both Garfiel and Emilia face some serious confrontations with their pasts as they each endure this trial.

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Subaru Awakens a New Ability

After Subaru and Emilia's long-awaited kiss, they are immediately confronted by Garfiel -- who stands in direct opposition to their plan of liberating the Sanctuary. However, they both hone in on a guarded truth about Garfiel and target his fear as the reason he's unwilling to change. As Emilia relates to his feelings of being afraid and knowing what it's like to bury them, Subaru takes the blunt approach and calls him out for giving up on himself.

Despite being a relatively quick fight, there is a bit to unpack about Subaru and Garfiel's clash -- including a brief cameo from Puck. Namely, Subaru's new technique he calls "Invisible Providence," a shadowy fist that burst out of his stomach. Neither Return by Death nor Shamac are offensive powers, so it's a surprising addition to Subaru's magical arsenal -- but one he's sure to be thankful for. As Subaru notices, his new move is incredibly similar to Betelgeuse's Unseen Hands and undoubtedly tied to the Sloth Witch Factor he now bears. Still, like all of his skills, there will be a consequence associated with unleashing his new punch.

Garfiel Confronts His Past

As a child, Garfiel entered the Graveyard to learn what happened to his mother, and what he witnessed caused him to bash his head against a stone wall -- giving him his signature scar. The memory of his mother leaving showed that she loved him, and because she died, he chose to believe that she went to find happiness instead. Now, as he wakes up from his fight with Subaru with a renewed confidence, and Ram's support, he finally re-enters.

Inside, he watches the moment his mother chose to leave the Sanctuary, also leaving him and his sister Frederica behind too. As the truth that she went to find Garfiel's father and that she cared deeply for her children plays out in front of Garfiel, his test is to find a way forward. Coming to terms with his mother's death due to a landslide and choosing for himself what he'll do next, breaking his cycle of stagnation, finally free Garfiel from the ties he'd been holding himself back with.

Emilia and Echidna Meet

Following Garfiel's triumph of his painful past in Episode 16, Emilia decides it's time for her to enter the Graveyard as well. Though we haven't seen what the trial exposed Emilia to last time, we know the memories from her past could hold the key to passing this test. As Emilia's trial begins, she encounters Echidna, who continually insults and chastises her, provoking a response. After Echidna calls Emilia a "witch's daughter," she confidently responds that she won't be tempted to give in to the malice of a fellow witch.

Since the beginning of Re: Zero, Emilia has drawn comparisons to Satella, the Witch of Envy, and the two share a striking resemblance. Whether they're related in any way is yet to be explicitly revealed, but with Emilia's trial just beginning, there could still be some significant revelations that come to light. However, Emilia has found the confidence to face up to whatever Echidna decides to throw at her.

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