This is the first time that we get to see a story told over multiple episodes in the show, as up until this point, it has been episodic in nature. This episode looks at the past that Violet and Gilbert shared during the war, from the moment she was given to him until the final battle. Seeing this episode, we get to see just how much Violet has changed from the emotionless girl she started out as to the Doll she is now.
After the initial meeting, Violet is far more like a scared puppy than an actual person, and the trouble that Gilbert goes through in order to bring her out of her shell so that she can be her own person instead of the tool that everyone else treats her as is endearing to watch; and as a result, we get to see just how good of a person Gilbert is. He gives her a name, teaches her how to read and write, and overall treats her like any other girl, as opposed to a thing that is only good for killing. During the conversation between Claudia and Gilbert prior to the final battle, we see that these two individuals are the only ones to have ever treated Violet as a person.
During this episode, we see just how ferocious Violet actually is when it comes to fighting, going so far as to disarm and kill multiple soldiers with ease. So much so that her own comrades are stunned into place, while Gilbert is only feeling regret that someone so young is being forced to kill in order for others to see worth in her. Throughout the episode, we see Gilbert try and keep her out of the battlefield, whether it be through strict orders to her directly, or by trying to convince his superiors to let her sit out the battle and not participate. However, due to Violet’s desire to protect him and the superiors strict orders to use her, she is made to participate in the fight.
We see here the extremes people go to when it is war time, and how someone who is truly kindhearted feels when witnessing these horrific things first hand. With context being added to the relationship, we are shown the opening scene of the show once more, in greater detail. It is Thanksgiving as the city Gilbert and Violet are in is liberated and celebrating. Gilbert offers to buy her something as a means of thanks, though Violet is only able to interpret his offer as an order and so is left confused.
While they are walking through the streets, Violet comes across the emerald brooch, and we see the first physical thing that she ever wanted; and the reason why is because it reminds her of Gilberts eyes, eyes which from the moment she first saw them, she thought was beautiful. This is the first time that Gilbert, and the earliest point in her life that we see her express her feelings, and what she wants for the first time. It is a wonderful moment.
I find myself saying that a scene is a wonderful moment so often when writing about this show and it is true, there is no other word that I could use that I have not already. We go on to the final battle and we see the lead up to the events that we have seen multiple times already, the moment when Violet and Gilbert are on the steps. They are part of the infiltration mission and while it starts off well, things devolve fast until it is only Violet and Gilbert remaining. We see just how visceral war can be, coupled with just how unpredictable a battle can become when the battlefield is covered in a thick layer of chaos. We get to see these characters hurt more and more, and while you know what happens, it does not make it any easier to watch.
Intercut with these moments of flashbacks, throughout the episode, are moments in the present day where she goes to see Deitfried to confirm if Gilbert is, in fact, dead or not. While we have not seen much of him so far, from the moments we do see him, we know that he is antagonistic towards Violet. Here, upon hearing that she did not even know that Gilbert was dead, infuriates him and takes out his anger on Violet. During this moment, there is the very real sense that he despises her for more than the events that took place when she was attacking his men. There is a resentment that is present in his interaction that you get the very real feeling is related to Gilbert.
She then travels to the house that Gilbert first brought Violet to deep in the rural area of the country. She sees the housekeeper that she first met years ago who she tried to take a bite off of when trying to get Violet clean. She leads Violet to the grave that is in the gardens and it reads clear that the grave belongs to Gilbert. This moment is truly heartbreaking, as we see Violet’s character truly vulnerable and exposed, breaking inside.