- Episode Title: Zugzwang
- Episode Number: 04
- Series: Last Exile
- Original Air Date: 4/28/2003
- English Air Date: 3/9/2004
Claus Valca and Lavie Head take Alvis E. Hamilton back to their house. While there, Al finds and becomes enamored with a stuffed goat toy. However, when Lavie runs their vanship's engine to remove the water from their trip through the canals, it attracts the attention of the Starfish. It attacks during the night and demolishes the house; Claus and Lavie escape with Al by taking their vanship back into the canals.
Lavie wants to take Al to the Vanship Union, but Claus insists on fulfilling Ralf Wednesday's mission of bringing her to the Silvana. As the vanship floats down the Claudia-lit canal tunnels, it is once more found and attacked by the Starfish. They manage to drag it over a waterfall, but it shoots their vanship in the process.
The damaged vanship crash-lands at the Palace Ruins, where the Silvana will come to pick Al up. The Starfish continues to pursue them and grabs Al. Claus and Lavie attack it ineffectually, and it nearly kills Claus before its pilot is killed by a single shot from Alexander Row.
Claus and Lavie take the unconscious Al back to their residence. While Claus plans an escape route through underground water canals to avoid detection by the star-shaped fighter, Lavie attempts to talk him out of the mission and reports rumors about the mysterious “Silvana”. When Al wakes up, they hide the fact that her caretaker Guita had died with Ralph Wednesday. Later that night, the fighter discovers their location and wrecks the house. The three escape through the canals in the vanship, and Al finally realizes that Guita has already died. The fighter discovers them near the end of the canal and damages the vanship, forcing an emergency landing in the temple ruins outside Norkia. It captures Al and is about to kill Claus when a gunshot causes the fighter to collapse.
Silvana crew members
- A chess player is said to be in zugzwang when he or she is forced to make a bad move. Claus’s actions force him to confront the Guild.
- The title "Zugzwang" refers to a situation in chess where a player has only bad moves available; any move they can make is worse than no move at all would be.
- When Claus is shifting his vanship's throttle prior to dragging the Starfish over the waterfall, the Greek characters ΝΕΥΤΡΑΛ can be seen inscribed on the throttle. This is a transliteration of "NEUTRAL".