Ahhhh, I’m torn between Ep7, Ep3, and Ep4, but I think I’ll have to give it to Ep7.
Ep7: Honestly, probably the single reason Requiem ranks so highly for me is the formal introduction to Sayo/Yasu. After everything we get hinting towards her through the first half of the series, after all the conversation between characters about who Beato is, about what “furniture” means, about all of the meaning that’s been seeded throughout the series up until that point… I was not let down at all with getting to “meet” her “face-to-face”. Out of all the stories I’ve read, games I’ve played, shows I’ve watched, etc., Yasu is probably my absolute favourite character - in part because I can relate to her incredibly strongly just in terms of depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and escapism, but mainly because she’s just such a brilliantly complex character. It still absolutely amazes me in hindsight how so much content in earlier episodes changes on reread, with Yasu’s character in mind. Things that were so innocuous at first (like George and Shannon sleeping in separate rooms on their date in Ep2) have so much more meaning to them, it’s incredible.
On top of that, I love how Yasu’s introduced as the culprit, too - things are “explained,” but the reader still isn’t outright given the answers as such. I know it’s kinda the message of the story, but the fact that the story - Ryukishi - trusts his readers enough to go digging and find her motive, her whydunnit, ourselves, and make our own decision on how we feel about her, is really special to me.
I could go on about a lot of Ep7 for quite a while, so special mention also goes to Willard’s breakdown of the first four Eps - the way that he provides answers without spelling things out for the reader (unless, of course, they’ve been paying attention and know the who/why already) is really moving to me, for some reason.
Ep3: As fascinated as I am by what Land of the Golden Witch would’ve been like, I really love Ep3 as we received it, too. Virgilia and Ronove make excellent additions to the Meta-World cast, providing other personalities for Battler and Beato to bounce off of instead of just each other, and the way that the Ep itself doubles as both a “tutorial” of sorts (with things like accomplice testimony, the catbox, the parallels between “witch” and “writer”, etc. spelled out) while also having a more complex board layout than Ep1 and 2 is really fascinating to me. Can’t go without mentioning Battler dragging Evatrice into the Meta-World too - that was badass. Even if it’s easy to go back and groan at how off-target Battler is sometimes (or missing Evatrice implicitly allowing multiple personalities as different suspects for murder come on), Ep3 truly feels like it’s a game between equals, compared to Battler just kinda floundering around in Ep2.
Ep4: On first read-through, I thought Ep4 dragged on for way too long - part of that might’ve been just because I was slow to read it, because Ange’s school recollections hit far too close to home for me at the time. In hindsight, though, I feel like Ep4 actually manages to summarize the whole series fairly well, even covering a lot of key points from other episodes - you’ve got Ep1’s horror-y, “And Then There Were None”-esque vibes in piece-Battler playing detective at the beginning of the Tea Party; there are refrains of Beato’s confrontations with Shannon and Kanon in Ep2 in how she talks to Battler on the board (referring to herself as Kinzo’s “prisoner”, as furniture, etc.); Beato’s more sympathetic characterization from Ep3 pops up here and there, quite noticeably at that; Battler’s feelings for Beato are astoundingly clear on reread, much like in Ep5; the board premise, from many of the characters’ perspectives, is a murder mystery game targeted at Battler, much like how he went after Erika in Ep6; Ange and Maria’s backstory explorations are parallel to Clair telling her story in Ep7; and there’s a large focus on what happened to Ange after the incident in 1998, like in Ep8.
In a way, I feel like Ep4 is sort of a “mirror” episode to Ep7 - instead of focusing mainly on the murder roulette going on on the board (albeit because there’s no “game” as such in Ep7), both episodes mainly focus on exploring the characters and other aspects of the story, to help give the player more pieces of the puzzle. Yasu’s story in Ep7, in a way, is the “third part” of Maria and Ange’s stories in Ep4 - exploring how each of them ended up turning to magic, how each of them became a witch, and what ultimately happened when their magic stopped being enough to keep them going.
I also feel like Ep4 is where we get out first outright glimpse of Yasu, and of Lion, to an extent - Yasu in how Beato reacts to Battler’s confession of his sin, in the flashing text towards the very end, in her final question to Battler (of course), in her interactions with Maria, etc., and Lion in how Beato presents herself as judging whether or not Battler’s fit to succeed Kinzo as the family head, and in how she orchestrates a murder mystery “game” with the rest of the family to try and get Battler to acknowledge her feelings.
I can’t go without mentioning Ep4’s Tea Party, either - from Battler’s investigation bringing back eerie echoes to Ep1’s paranoia-fueled later parts (compared to the madcap fantasy seen on the board earlier), to the “final” confrontation both reading like something out of Ace Attorney, and having a much deeper, more tragic emotional undercurrent to it - that, again, the reader is expected to discover and work through themselves. The series never stops to recap the Tea Party and just how horrific it is - it’s up to the reader to put in the effort, emotional and physical, to go back and read between the lines to see what’s really happening (which goes for the red text flashing by at the end of the Episode itself, too).
In the end, I think my favourite episode is either Ep7 or Ep4 - I honestly can’t say for sure, because it’s really close - with Ep3 coming in a close second place. Also, since I feel bad for it, special shout-outs to Episode 2 - While it’s still kinda meandering like Ep1 was, a lot of the answers are already hidden there once you know how to look for them. Coupled with the resolution between Maria and Rosa towards the end, I feel like Ep2 is the “rawest” representation of Yasu’s emotions, especially since they’re coming from her herself, as the writer.