The climax of Ending’s plan is more twisted than most villainous plots that My Hero Academia explores. Ending is so broken that he wants to push Endeavor to the point of killing him, which will not only bring him a strange sense of peace and control over his wasted life, but it will more importantly demolish Endeavor’s ideals as the Number One Pro Hero. He forces him into an impossible ultimatum where the safety of his family is leveraged against his reputation as a hero. It’s obvious that Ending is going to be eliminated either way, but he still accomplishes his goal with whatever decision Endeavor makes. It’s the plan of a truly desperate individual with nothing to lose, but that’s exactly why it makes such an impact here.
Endeavor is often able to put on a brave face, but when he’s presented with Ending’s scheme he looks absolutely terrified for the first time in the series. All of Endeavor’s growth and progress is irrelevant in this moment where Ending forces him to become a puppet that’s no different than the role that this villain has fulfilled in society. Ending goes from idolizing to demonizing Endeavor, but in this tense moment the two individuals are the same.
Endeavor has a lot to worry about at this moment, but naturally Midoriya, Bakugo, and Shoto all lend a hand against Ending. Their plan is to alleviate some of the pressure off of Endeavor, only for them to completely take over the operation. It’s fantastic to see how well these three work as a team and the shorthand that they’ve all established during their brief time together at Endeavor’s Hero Agency. The slow motion segments where these heroes jump into action while Endeavor’s heroic advice echoes in their heads is so powerful and visually gorgeous. It’s also kind of hilarious that through this battle Ending continually chastises these “work study kids” for “ruining his death.” It’s not that this character wants to die, but that he specifically needs Endeavor to snuff out his flame.
All of the heroes excel during this peril. They not only save Natuso, but they completely minimize the rest of the casualties in the area. Midoriya is even able to make effective use of his volatile Blackwhip Quirk while in the heat of the moment. It’s such a touching and inspirational sequence that makes up for Endeavor’s panic. If anything, the altercation is even more effective because it proves that Endeavor has done great work with his students and that they’re fully capable of picking up his slack. Society still needs a Number One Pro Hero, but it’s reassuring that in a pinch his protégés can still get the job done. It’s maybe time for U.A. High to appoint a new Big Three after the work that Izuku, Shoto, and Katsuki do during the Ending incident.
Once the action begins in “The Unforgiven” it doesn’t stop, but the first half of the episode is able to probe these characters in a more subtle manner. Bakugo barking a request for some of the Todoroki family’s recipes is just excellent and it’s another reminder that these characters can sometimes work best when they’re not involved in high stakes battles, but rather just in normal situations. In many ways, these characters now feel more like heroes than they do teenagers, so it’s always appreciated when their more juvenile instincts get to rise to the surface instead of battle strategies.
That’s not to say that My Hero Academia should indulge in a bunch of relaxing filler episodes, but it’s helpful how this season effectively explores the duality of these heroes and doesn’t forget that they’re still human. Bakugo also needs to immediately spend more time with Endeavor’s chauffeur. These two explosive personalities are required to be locked in a room together and be given a whole bottle episode where their tempers can flare.