If it's done anything at all wrong lately, Zetsuen no Tempest has set the bar impossibly high for its own finale.
Yoshino and Mahiro to carry the final act. It might be Aika who's been pulling the strings, but it's those two who started us on this journey and it's they who seem best suited to finish it. What that means for the cast is hard to say. It strikes me that after everything that's happened, and though the details were certainly different than he expected, Samon has more or less been proven to have been right all along. He was the one who recognized the essential truth of the matter - it was the Tree of Genesis that was the greater threat, and Hakaze had the wrong of it in thinking otherwise. Chalk this up to his instincts or to general skeptical nature, and there's no denying the actual story was different than he expected, but he was the smartest guy in the room when all is said and done - at least as far as the Kusaribe are concerned.
seeming non-reaction to Hakaze's news was the second major anti-climax involving them in the last three episodes - but once again, I saw it as perfectly in character. Mahiro is many things, but he's not stupid, and I think the veracity of Hakaze's account was obvious to him. Given what she told him there was really no other way for him to react except as a balloon that's just had the air let out of it. As for Yoshino, as we've already seen hiding his true feelings is something he's astoundingly good at so I would have expected nothing different. Hanemura's outburst was a bit over-the-top for me, the most false moment of the episode, but probably something both of them needed to spur them into the right mindset to fight the last fight. As for the flashback sequences with Aika and the boys in middle school, those struck home for me - I could see their first meeting playing out in exactly that sort of way. I especially loved Aika's comment that as long as she was with the two of them, a tragedy would seem like a comedy - though if one chose to, they could interpret that as a rather ominous auger for what's to come.
flash drive in the envelope (or something else) that leads to her death being revealed as a ruse I'll be disappointed and I think others will too once the euphoria wears off, because that will have cheapened the artfully crafted narrative that led up to her demise. Even if the logic she used in justifying her suicide was flawed, I quite like the idea that a 15 year-old girl thrust into the role of savior of the world is capable of serious errors in judgment in matters of great import. What we know for sure is that the matter of Hanemura's girlfriend isn't dead, only dormant, and it was surely introduced into the story for a reason. That remains the one great variable that we know about - most of the big mysteries have been laid bare and the players and stakes clearly-defined, setting the stage for the grand finale, but that factor quietly simmers on a back burner of the stove. It will surely demand our attention - and soon.