Over the last couple of episodes, Valkyria Chronicles has proved to be incredibly downbeat and really quite depressing - A far cry from earlier episodes as the "fun" side of war has been replaced with a study of human loss and tragedy based around the death of Isara.
Although this twentieth episode of the series doesn't quite hit those melancholic lows, you certainly shouldn't expect any happiness or joy this time around either, with Isara's passing still keenly felt by certain members of the militia. However, this now pales into comparison as the real threat begins to loom large - With Maximilian looking to be deposed of commander of the forces attacking Gallia, he turns to drastic measures, forcing a decisive battle against Gallia while also deploying the Empire's secret weapon (although why they didn't use it from the start I really have no idea) on the front lines.
This shift in strategy is set against Faldio's own personal turmoil regarding the true nature of Alicia; a worry which he puts to one side in the belief that Gallia can win the battle in question, only to be left to face his worst-case scenario directly once the Empire's power (and I'm sure anyone who has watched the credits can guess what I'm talking about here) is revealed.
I think it's fair to say that this instalment was never likely to reach the emotional heights we've been dragged through by this series in recent weeks, and for all its twists, turns and shocks (complete with cliff-hanger ending) it can't really to anything to replace that kind of depth. Luckily, this episode has enough going on in plot progression terms to pretty much make up for this, instead delivering a solid episode that clearly has an eye to taking us through to the climax of the series, managing to keep the show trucking quite admirably in all honesty.