This was a powerful episode that sets up the Finale really well. In this we see Homura open up fully to the Madoka in this timeline as well as having Kyubey reveal that all Homura has done has been helping his people more too as they get to collect more energy because of how important Homura has made Madoka with her wish. But more on that later.
“The Only Signpost Remaining” was directed by Shin’ichi Miyamae, Toshiyuki Fujisawa and Kotono Watanabe and written by Gen Urobuchi.
The story kicks off with Madoka’s mom worrying about her as the school mourns the death of Sayaka. Soon we see a storm coming in and the arrival of Walpurgis Night. Madoka is ready to make a wish to save everyone even though she doesn’t trust Kyubey, who shows her the history of the Incubators and humanity and how all women who shaped history were Magical Girls. When Madoka goes to Homura for advice Homura tells her not to fight as she’s been doing everything to protect her. From here the story unfolds.
The Pros: Walpurgis Night – The Witch is so large and powerful that to the rest of the world it looks like a hurricane is hitting the city. You really see how powerful the witch is too especially since Homura is using everything she’s prepared from all the times she’s time traveled but the Witch still defeats her in the end.
Madoka’s Mother – There are two great scenes with Madoka’s mother, the first is when she suspects Madoka might know more about Sayaka’s death and later when Madoka is about to go into the storm and she has to trust Madoka’s judgement. You can see how conflicted she is but also her love for Madoka.
Kyubey – Kyubey is still obviously an alien and can’t relate to emotions but he does a good job of showing how the Incubators and humanity have helped one another throughout history and surprisingly he never outright pressures Madoka again either, he’s just upfront and honest about the different situations knowing he’s lost trust for another reason.
History of Magical Girls – Joan of Arc, Cleopatra and countless powerful women throughout history were magical girls, all of their stories end in tragedy too as by making the wish it brings despair in equal amount. It’s powerful and really shows how broken the system is that was created.
Homura – Homura is as prepared as she’s ever been this time and we see her do everything she can to protect Madoka. From weapons and bombs hid throughout the city, to her confession to Madoka that she’s watched her die countless times and the confession that each time they grow more distant because of the cost of the magic. She is defined really well in this episode.
Madoka – This is the episode where Madoka gets all the information (Homura’s history, History of the Magical Girls) and also time with her family and the city under siege and it is here she makes a decision to choose the wish. I’ll do the wish in the last segment since that is where we learn where it is. In this Madoka asks Homura to trust and protect her just as Homura has done, now Madoka wants to return it and wants her to live.
This episode is Madoka fully coming into her own as a person. She knows the consequences of choices and events and is ready for whatever comes. It’s powerful too as we see her overwhelmed by Kyubey’s info dump on the history of Incubators and Magical Girls and Homura’s confession, and her mom trying to stop her…but all of these define and give reason to the wish she makes at the end. The wish that changes everything.
Final Score: 9 / 10.