CODE GEASS R2 – 23
As word of what happened at Pendragon spreads among the Britannian ranks, Jeremiah tries to put a halt to what he thinks is a rumor, but Sayoko suddenly appears to confirm that it is probably true. At this moment, Nunnally is attributing her survival to Schneizel, so Suzaku wonders if she understands what Schneizel did. She indeed knows about him using a FLEIJA warhead on Pendragon, and she shuts Suzaku up by questioning if Geass is any better. Nunnally realizes that Suzaku and Lelouch have always been lying to her, and, knowing that her brother was Zero, she asks if he did it for her sake. Lelouch reacts by calling her impudent, and he scolds her for condemning others’ behavior when she doesn’t even get her own hands dirty. He accuses her of being part of the old nobility that he’s already denied, and he goes on to claim that he tried to take over the world for his own sake, not anyone else’s. Before cutting off the transmission, Lelouch makes it clear that if Nunnally cooperates with Schneizel and stands in his way, then he won’t hesitate to crush her. Afterwards, Schneizel reassures Nunnally that they evacuated everyone from Pendragon before using the FLEIJA and that he’s limiting damage to a minimum, but he still intends to use it on Lelouch next if Lelouch stands in the way of world peace. Nunnally in turn asks for the switch that fires the warhead because – since she can’t fight or protect – she wants to carry the sins.
Lelouch meanwhile is angry that C.C. didn’t know about Nunnally’s survival, but C.C. points out that she’s not god. Since Lelouch looks about ready to lose it, Suzaku grabs him and reminds him that their strategic objectives still haven’t changed – they can’t stop just because Nunnally is still alive. He wants Lelouch to remember their promise, and, after leaving the room with C.C., Suzaku calls himself Lelouch’s sword. Along those same lines, he tells C.C. to be Lelouch’s shield, and he also refers to her as Lelouch’s accomplice. Over on the Damocles, Schneizel explains to Cornelia that he had the citizens of Pendragon disappear, and he thinks that this is better for them than swearing loyalty to Lelouch. Lying is another means to accomplish that, and Schneizel is fine with taking out unnecessary information in order to get Nunnally against Lelouch. When Cornelia accuses him of manipulating people, Schneizel notes that although people want the problems overflowing in the world to be gone, they don’t try to understand each other. He then reveals his plan to achieve peace through system and power: the Damocles will rise up 300 kilometers above surface and shoot FLEIJA warheads at all countries that are fighting.
When Cornelia becomes alarmed that Schneizel’s goal isn’t to defeat Lelouch but is instead to subjugate people with fear, Schneizel calls peace an illusion. He knows that fighting is in the history of mankind, and to turn the illusion to reality, discipline is necessary. Cornelia thinks that something like this is only permitted to god, so Schneizel suggests that he’ll become god. He feels that a sacrifice of one or two billion people is okay for a permanent peace, but Cornelia disagrees and draws her sword. Before she can do anything though, Schneizel activates a hidden machine gun and mows her down. Back at Ashford, Sayoko reveals to Jeremiah that Schneizel had another aircraft used as a decoy, and that’s what was destroyed by the first FLEIJA. In wondering why Sayoko isn’t part of the Black Knights and is instead helping Lelouch, Jeremiah thinks that she’s giving her life for chivalry. Meanwhile, C.C. finds Lelouch by himself and compliments him on how well he kept a mask on while talking to Nunnally. Lelouch has been doing a lot of thinking and is sure that his conclusion after the struggle with his father was not mistaken. He thinks that C.C. understands the reason he has to do evil, and when she points out that everything he’s done up until now has been for Nunnally’s sake, he decides that he can’t treat Nunnally specially any longer. For all the lives that have been lost, he feels that they cannot stop, and after a moment, C.C. agrees with him.
With the wheels of destiny now in motion, both sides consolidate their forces and power. While Rakshata helps upgrade the Tristan for Gino, Kallen asks him if he’s okay fighting with them against Britannia. In response, Gino notes that he thinks that he understands Kallen’s feelings a little now. As the showdown at Mt. Fuji between Lelouch’s forces and Schneizel’s and the Black Knights’ forces draws near, both Lelouch and Schneizel give speeches to rally their troops. Afterwards, Lelouch broadcasts an open message to Schneizel to let him know that the captured representatives of the United Federation of Nations are on the Avalon. Li Xingke doesn’t want Schneizel to fire the FLEIJA at Lelouch’s forces for this reason, but Schneizel asks for command of everything in the battle in exchange for not doing so. To assuage Xingke’s worries since they’re up against Lelouch, Schneizel claims that he’s never lost to his little brother, and Xingke eventually decides to turn over control. The battle begins with much maneuvering by both sides until the Black Knights start surrounding Lelouch’s forces. Lelouch orders a counterattack with Suzaku pushing forward, but when the Black Knights break through the defensive line, he calls for his forces to move back. He is impressed by the Black Knights, however he knows his troops are all devoted to him thanks to the Geass on them.
After the Ikaruga inflicts heavy losses on Lelouch’s forces by using its heavy Hadron cannons, Lelouch is forced to use a trap he set inside Mt. Fuji. The mountain explodes in a giant fireball, and since the Black Knights are advancing right over it, they take the brunt of the damage. The Ikaruga is one of the ships hit, and as it sinks towards the ground, Ougi thinks about how he had Villetta stay back at Penglai Island because he didn’t want to get a new life – the one she is pregnant with – involved in all this. Lelouch’s move has caused a lot of damage to both sides, but both Suzaku and C.C. know that they now only have to defeat the Damocles to win. Schneizel, on the other hand, decides that now is a good time to use the FLEIJA, and Nunnally presses the button that fires the warhead. Lelouch immediately sends some of his forces to intercept it, but Schneizel had planned ahead and had fired a warhead that was already in its critical state. Regardless, Lelouch orders the rest of his forces to charge at the Damocles while the Avalon continues to retreat. He knows that he’s at a disadvantage given the number of FLEIJA warheads that Schneizel still has, and he feels that he now has to rely on Nina who is hard at work with Lloyd developing a counter. Schneizel meanwhile is confident that Lelouch can’t beat him, and he feels that people who cannot master their mask cannot achieve victory.
Well that ending was a bit lackluster. Considering all the good cliffhangers this series has had week in and week out, this one merely had Schneizel saying a nice line and looking a little evil, and it didn’t really carry much impact. What did have impact however, if only because of its suddenness, was the killing off of Cornelia. I’m not entirely sure that she’s dead, but with only two episodes left, I don’t see them having enough time to bring her back again. Perhaps the bigger question is what role her death even serves at this point. It could be that by eliminating people around Schneizel who have some semblance of a conscience, they can make him appear more evil. On the other hand, maybe they’re just trying to semi-randomly kill off characters for shock value.
That brings me to my next point. I might be overdue in saying this, but I’m at the point where nothing that happened this episode really got me excited. I suspect it’s at least partially because I’ve been convinced that this’ll end in a trainwreck. I say that not because director Taniguchi and his staff might not have been able to tell the story how they wanted, but because even the story they are telling is getting cut due to time. The montage in the middle of the episode was a blatant example of this, and it’s a sign that they’re going to have to skip over the details on most of the sideplots that haven’t already come to fruition. The one that is being developed is the Villetta’s apparent pregnancy, and since I’ve been waiting for more about her and Ougi, I can’t complain about that. I wonder if her baby will end up as the hope at the end of the series or something.
In any case, I’m still curious to see how this ends, regardless of if it’s good or bad. From the preview, it looks like one of the big scenes next week will be Lelouch coming face to face with the Guren, though I doubt that’s how he’ll die (assuming he even does die). Maybe C.C. will save him with the gratuitously pink Lancelot that reminds me a bit too much of a certain pink battleship. I actually didn’t mind the color so much though after seeing this amusing image after the episode ended.