Last week saw the audience reuniting with Yuno and the Golden Dawns as they escorted Salim, a young rich noble who may or may not have a grudge against Yuno after he beat him in the Magic Knight exams. Their journey takes them toward Hage, where they get to stop by and have dinner with Father and Sister Lily at Yuno's church. I don't think I'm entirely clear on how long its been since Asta and Yuno left to become Magic Knights—I can't imagine either of them have been given more than one or two missions at this point—but it's been long enough for Yuno to learn that Asta's winning in the unspoken "how much of our paychecks do we send home?" contest, much to his annoyance.
Salim spends most of his dinner trying to prove himself as one of the good rich people, talking this visit up as a chance to see the world from a new point of view. I was bemoaning last week that we were diverging into more filler, but this little two-parter isn't too bad as the story takes us through a few loops. Sister Lily gets kidnapped by the attackers who were after Salim last week, and Yuno decides to abandon his mission to go rescue her (though Lily gets to take out the final bad guy herself), and in the end it turns out that the attackers were a gang hired by Salim to hurt and humiliate Yuno, because he really did hold that grudge after all. There's also a point of contention early on between Yuno and Klaus, the latter of whom is steadfast about the mission but eventually betrays his client because he's got a conscience and something always seemed fishy about that Salim guy anyway.
True to Black Clover's nature, there's almost something alien about how calm and reserved the show feels, even during action scenes. The show's slow pacing has always been in sharp contrast with its main character, who operates at 11 at all times, so an episode without any Asta that focuses on the much quieter Yuno really highlights this. I don't think of this as either an inherently good or bad thing, but it's definitely a characteristic I've noticed. The story just kind of comes and goes, hardly leaving an impression, but I'd still put an episode like this ahead of what I usually expect from filler. If I wasn't checking in with the manga as reference, I would have believed this stuff was in the source material.
Putting a nice little bow on this whole mini-arc is the revelation that one of the hooded attackers was actually the Wizard King in disguise, keeping an eye on Yuno and friends and being ready to step in if things got out of hand. To be honest, I feel like I should have picked up on that when the episode was peculiarly titled "The Wizard King Saw, Continued." Ultimately, I found this divergence useful. This filler not only gave us some one-on-one time with Klaus and Mimosa before we get back to the main story, helping us get to know them and their powers a little before their proper introduction, but it also gives Yuno the same Wizard King twist as Asta, better highlighting their position as rivals. The relationship between the different classes and how the duty-bound Magic Knights play into it is also better defined than before.
I think if a lot of the earlier filler had been left out, episodes like the past two would feel more welcome. If the show absolutely has to buy time, then I don't think they did a bad job finding a story that fits comfortably with what's been established. The twists and turns aren't going to blow anybody's mind, but since I'm already in the groove of this show's pace, I found that this detour went down easy.
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