Well, I’m sure we all saw that coming.
What makes this betrayal so painful is the fact that Tokiomi completely trusted Kirei to the very end. You could say that his overconfidence and single-minded focus on reaching the Root contributed to his death, but these are extremely indirect factors. The real problem in the end was Archer. Did I mention that I don’t like him? Well I don’t, and this only made me hate him more. Let’s say, for a moment, that his only motivation for betraying Tokiomi was because Tokiomi intended on sacrificing him in the end. That makes things slightly more understandable, but I still fail to see it as sufficient justification.
Last I checked, the heroes have long since died and are aware of this fact. That they are here for the Grail War isn’t exactly like they’ve been given a new lease on life; they’ve just been summoned for the sole purpose of fulfilling their master’s goals. Given this, I don’t see why he was so concerned about Tokiomi’s intentions. Perhaps it was just his massive ego yet again, preventing him from being sacrificed for such a worthless goal as reaching the root of all knowledge. Oh wait, that’s like the epitome of everything. Even so, I would have preferred this reason over the one that he really had. To stand by and purposely let his master get killed by his student just because it would be entertaining is, to understate things, a dick move. But that’s enough raging for now (I can just imagine Archer taunting “umad?”). I’ll just settle with calling him a putrid sack of shit.
The other perpetrator of this crime is of course no better. The only thing that prevents me from hating Kirei as much, though, is the fact that he himself is at a loss. The way I see it, he’s on a sort of journey to find himself. Of course, this journey is taking a rather twisted turn, but the concept itself suggests something significantly less sinister and perhaps even “noble”. I mean, at some point in our lives, we inevitably find ourselves trying to find ourselves; it’s called midlife crisis. Granted, it’s looking like what Kirei will find at the end of his journey isn’t going to be very pleasant (he even realized this himself), but at least we can relate to him in some way. I suppose you could argue that there are some egomaniacs out there who can relate to Archer, but given the nature of egomania, I somehow doubt that.
Next time, we get to see Kiritsugu’s backstory. Cute nickname, by the way.