With the end of Episode 3, we had the entrant of a new competitor - Ange, Battler’s sister visiting from the year 1998, having returned to solve the mystery of what happened on the island back then to leave Eva alone the inheritor of the Ushiromiya riches. Though Beatrice almost had Battler this time around with an amazing ploy of trust and faux-friendship, he stood firm, carrying us into the beginning of Episode 4: Alliance of the Golden Witch.
No flashback this time; we start out right from the beginning, as the airplane touches down at the airstrip. Everyone loads up in the car to the harbor, Battler bumping into a random person on the way. But as time freezes, it’s revealed this person is in fact Ange, doing her best to avert the fated events at Rokkenjima. She fails, of course: If she had been present that day, even as a child younger than even Maria, she’d have some chance to succeed, something that her mentor Lady Bernkastel could have taken advantage of. But being stuck at home sick, that chance is literally zero, and so all she can do is watch as they press on to their deaths. All Ange can do is reveal the truth of the events of the island, and through that be taken to a world where everyone survived.
Following this, we jump Outside, where Beatrice frets to a very amused Ronove over Battler’s state of mind following the last game. He swears that Battler is barely keeping himself together, giving us the rare opportunity to see Beatrice herself trolled. Ange comes in, turning things serious. She wants to help Battler seriously win the game, not merely spin his wheels as he fumbles against Beatrice’s constantly-shifting tactics. She sees the game for what it is, what we learned at the end of the last ????; nothing but a construct to keep Battler (and so Bern) occupied for eternity. With Ange - or Gretel, as she prefers to go by for Battler’s sake, not wanting to bias his thoughts by revealing her identity - perhaps it can be brought to a solid conclusion. And perhaps key to this is Battler realizing not to trust anything not from his own eyes; even what Ange herself tells him. This is the only way to ensure he isn’t caught in the same trap as last time.
We seem to be about to start events on the island, as the family pours off the boat and onto the shore. But we shift into a flashback of Ange’s, as she reminisces on her life in her time while at boarding school. (St. Lucia Academy in particular, which just so happens to be the school previously attended by Shion Sonozaki) A childhood when her only friend was the imaginary/magical manifestation of Maria from the diary she’d left behind after her death. (Perhaps one of the strangest depressing sentences one can write.)
Here’s a nice nested flashback, as Ange reads an entry about Maria’s birthday, when Rosa took her to a restaurant and gave her a nice stuffed lion named Sakutaro, and everything was nice and no one was slapped. Which just on its own suggests some sort of unreliable narrator situation. We see more and more of Maria’s flashback, as Ange envies her ability to get a friend from nothing in Sakutaro. But Maria tells her she’s just as capable, that she could become a witch if she tries, and Maria’s manifestation is simply evidence of that. While Ange tries to focus and call out Maria more permanently, the other kids pop in, driving her off in fear and starting in immediately with teasing.
Here, the flashback ends, but we don’t jump back to Ange in Rokkenjima. Instead, we see what seems to be a split; Ange in 1998, having miraculously survived the skyscraper plunge thanks to a number of construction safety nets and awnings. (Thanks Bern?) Eva’s died since we left Episode 3, leaving Ange in charge of finances, a position she’d rather not be anywhere near. Helped by the company president - Okonogi, apparently having gone legit from being part of “Tokyo” since the events of 1983 - she does her best to escape from the clutches of her aunt Kasumi Sumadera, who’s seeking to get control of the Ushiromiya assets for herself. Thanks to Amakusa, a former guard of Ange’s fired by Eva that’s spent a lot of time bouncing from mercenary group to mercenary group, the two manage to escape, driving off while Outside Bern speaks with Ange about the interesting scenarios she gets herself in. And she also points out two key advantages Ange has over Battler. 1) She isn’t limited to October 4th and 5th, 1986, in discovering what happened. And 2) With the revelation of Maria’s bottled message drumming up the idea of witches among the general populace, as well as her official title of ANGE-Beatrice, Golden Witch, she has an in for simultaneously poking into both the Reality and the Fantasy explanations of events.