Mmmmmmmmmmmm…..nothing beats a nice bowl of Kimchi flavoured soup while blogging. Well here it is, the penultimate episode and I’ve got to say…..I can’t really think of much new to add to the discussion of the episode, and when I don’t have a new viewpoint to give, I don’t really type much. Still, I’ve put together a list of points to run over for this episode and we’ll see how it goes.
First there’s Nunally, who continues through with her determination from last episode to put an end to her brother’s “Tyranny”. This actually leads her to fire a few Fleia’s into his fleet formation and they still do some damage for a time. Luckily as always Lelouch has a plan, and this time it’s a sacrifice play to buy time for the new Anti-Fleia device to be loaded onto his Shinkirou. I liked his little talk with Nina were she seems to have at last become her own person seperate from Euphemia and with her own set of ideals. Unlike Euphemia wanted, Nina refuses to forgive Zero for his crimes, but recognizes the need to put an end to Fleia. I’m guessing she must have had time to talk things over with Milly during her one month stay at Ashford as she seems to have reverted back to her normal pre-black rebellion self only with the character growth that comes with experience. I see good for her and feel that her character has been well handled over the course of this season.
Anyway, Lelouch’s preperations also cost him the Avalon as Li is able to sneak up behind him and seize the vessel, forcing Lelouch to step up the pace of his plans. Before you can say Geass he’s off along with Suzaku and headed towards Damocles. I like his little plan here to wait for Schneizel (Yes, even though Nunally pressed the button I’m putting this one on Schneizel) to fire his next Fleia so that he’ll have to open the Damocles’ force field. (Haesslich, you were wondering about further implementation of this technology? Well there’s a treat for you) Of course he’s ready with the anti-Fleia weapon which unlike the Gundam Drei’s stealth field is undeniable inspired by the Lance of Longinus from Evangelion, which of course was in turn inspired by the actual Lance of Longinus from the crucifiction of Jesus Christ. Well, the name of it at least. You know, for a second I though this thing wasn’t going to work as the Fleia started it’s reaction, but with Lelouch’s uber micro it seems to have been able to neutralize the bomb and allow Lelouch and Suzaku the time to sneak past the open forcefield and into the Damocles. A pretty risky plan with a lot of faith placed in Nina (and if she wanted to she could have screwed him over and left him with a dud device), but it payed off.
Now, one they get inside, I’m surprised that Schneizel takes off so quickly. In such haste in fact that he actually leaves Nunally behind, although this may have been deliberae. Then again, I guess he really wasn’t bluffing to Xingke when he said he had no Knightmare Frames to speak of other then Tristan Twin and Mordred. Here we see Suzaku’s last duel with Gino, and I have to say I still don’t know why he didn’t join up with his buddy Suzaku and support Britannia in this affair. I know all of the other Black Knights were loyal to Charles, but Gino seemed like his own person….at least I thought he was, but I guess not. you know, I don’t really know much of anything about Gino other than that he’s supposed to be keen on chivalry and I have to say that he’s probably been the weakest new major character introduced this season out of all of them. Shame they couldn’t find something better for him to do then play the foil for the last battle.
Speaking of foil, poor C.C seems to thrown her battle with Karen without even really trying to put up a resistance. Her act seems to be to delay Karen so that Lelouch can reach his destination without interference, and I’d swear her actions this episode are out of guilt for giving Lelouch geass and ruining his life for her own selfish desire to die. She also seems to have realized that she doesn’t stand much of a chance against Karen and I think she trusts Karen enough to not actually off Lelouch if C.C will throw the fight to her. And so down goes the gaudy Pink Lancelot just as quickly as it appeared. No big loss and of course C.C is going to be fine since she can’t die anyway. Still, Kris commented on my drinking game post that he feels sorry for Karen, and while I do as well to an extent for what Lelouch is ultimately putting her through, I feel more sorry for C.C.
Anyway, once Lelouch gets inside the Damocles he starts sprinting towards the control room, and a lot of people cried foul because early during episode 05 he had almost comically low stamina. Okay, fair enough, but when you consider that all of Lelouch’s plans hinge on timing at this point I think you can understand why he’s able to pull out all the stops and push it to the limit for a few minutes, versus his pitiful performance during the unimportant chase of a comedy based episode. People are capable of feats of immense strength when things are on the line they say. Though if you look at his run cycle it still looks pretty strained as he’s going up the stairs. Once he reaches the top of course he records a video to Schneizel and starts making his way back down to the hangar to meet him before his ship can be readied to take him to safety. I liked the philosophy Lelouch talked about concerning how Charles lived for the past (The promises he made while he was a kid that never panned out and his time with Marianne), Schneizel lives for the present (keeping a status quo of peace at all costs, even such extreme ones as using Fleia as a deterent) and Lelouch lives for the future (Zero’s Requiem and the world that will follow in the wake of it). For the first time the shots of Lelouch, Schneizel and Charles in the opening seem to makes sense. Charles lives for the past and casts a red and blue shadow, Schneizel lives for the present and casts a blue and red shadow facing opposite directions, and Lelouch lives for the future casting many shadows (possible futures). Pretty neat stuff.
Anyway, Schneizel’s own laid backness is his own undoing as Lelouch is ultimately able to play on his personality quirks and form the perfect generalized responses to what Schneizel is likely to say, all while he’s actually making his way to the hangar to Geass him. Lelouch seems to have secured the ship earlier on with some geassed guards, but for whatever reason it seems like he needs Schneizel alive for his plans, so Geassed into following him Schneizel gets. I think at some point Lelouch ultimately realized that Schneizel and him basically have the same desire, only different idealogies in reaching it. That desire being peace, which Cornelia (who is still alive and well after some medical treatment attests to). Yeah, so of course the big surprise this episode was that Cornelia’s wounds from last episode were non-fatal and she’s currently making a recovery in the UFN with Guilford at her side. How Guilford eventually made his way to Penglai to find her I’m not sure, but Schneizel seems to have set it all up. Speaking of which, Guilford’s survival following the events of episode 18 seems to have been the nitpick of the week, but I always felt he had a good shot at surviving that incident considering he was on the very edge of the explosion when his communications array went and we never actually got to see whether the blast radius extended beyond his Vincent’s legs (the last shot of it we see) to fully engulf it or not. Still, his Vincent must have fallen out of the sky like a rock just as the Mordred did back during the China arc, and I say that if frail little Anya could survive a fall like that, then Guilford could too. Though he seems to have been pretty banged up by the incident and is possibly blinded by the light as well.
This brings us to the last scene of the episode, which is Lelouch confronting Nunally in the garden of the Damocles. It mirrors there encounter in episode 06 a little bit at first, but this time a wiser Nunally calls out to her brother and shows non of the trembling or weakness that she showcased during her earlier encounter with him as Zero. She seems so determined to put up a strong front that she’s even able to open her eyes at last. How can she overcome a Geass just like that some have wondered. Well….simple, Charles Geass isn’t an absolute command like Lelouch’s, it’s just a memory rewrite. If Nunally is made to think she is can’t open her eyes and see then she won’t, but there’s nothing to stop her from actually doing it other then her own fear of what she might see. Her determination to put a stop to Lelouch’s plans seems to have resulted in her subconciously opening her eyes to see the detonation switch earlier on in the episode, and by the end of the episode we actually get to see it. Her gaze certainly is a bit overwhelming and it looks like Lelouch has his work cut out for him in trying to explain to Nunally what he’s been up to the past couple of years.
And that’s where the episode ends, and it gives me a strange feeling that the finale is going to be mostly talking and Lelouch revealing and executing his Zero’s Requiem along with Suzaku. I think that it’s going to have a speech portion which should hopefully convince people to lay down their weapons. Either that or come after him and murder him as he and Suzaku throw the battle for the greater good with Orange then cancelling the Britannian armies Geass’ and claiming that he’s seen the light and Lelouch’s tyranny is over. I think this is what Sayoko was up to when she released the hostages and claimed that she is on the UFN’s side, which is of course a half truth. Lelouch totally set that up in my opinion for when he fled the Avalon and it’s more than likely all part of the plan. All that’s left now to do is see how it all plays out in the finale.
That’s all for this week. The episode was solid for me as usual, and the trend of well animated, interesting and reasonably tactical KMF battles continues from last week. If I had only one complaint it would be Gino’s part in this episode which just showed further how weak a character he’s been in this series. I kind of hope he doesn’t appear in the next episode, though I am hoping to see more of Anya, who has so far been the most interesting and well handled of the Knight of Rounds in my opinion. Well, besides Bismarck the eternal loyalist, and Suzaku the traitor of course.
Rating: Eight And A Half Out Of Ten