Gundam 00 Second Season – 16
After having seized control of an orbital elevator, Pang Hercule addresses all the people who are stuck there and introduces himself. He claims that his only goal is to inform the world of A-LAWS’s brutality and put the issue to the people. Telling them of the Federation’s lies and atrocities, he declares that he and his men serve to protect the citizens, and their mission is to right the wrong government and troops. Back on Earth, the Federation government puts out a message that these anti-government forces are demanding the dissolution of parliament and the release of thousands of anti-government activists. The Federation, however, refuses to bow to terrorism and has already dispatched A-LAWS. Watching this on his TV, Sergei knows that what the Federation is saying is a lie. He then remembers what Pang Hercule had once said about the orbital elevator and the solar energy generation system opening up mankind’s future. Hercule had believed that much of the strife in the world was rooted in energy problems, and if those were solved, then people could concentrate on food and environmental problems. Sergei, however, had pointed out that the group of nations that possessed orbital elevators would build up their arsenals in the name of defense, and Holly noted that this could lead to a cold war. Hercule, however, had trusted in the people, the government, and the military to cooperate and gradually unite the world. These memories are interrupted by a call from Sergei’s commanding officer who has a secret mission for him.
Over at A-LAWS headquarters, Homer Katagiri worries that the anti-government movement will spread if it’s made public that the regular military forces are behind this coup. Arthur Goodman, however, reports that the installation work on the orbital ring is almost done, and he heads off into space to take command. Watching all of this unfold are Nena, Wang Liu Mei, and Hong Long in space. When Hong Long questions if this coup will change the world, Wang Liu Mei suggests that it’s the beginning of the end, and Hong Long wonders if that’s what she wants. The Ptolemaios crew meanwhile has figured out that the coup is why A-LAWS withdrew from the earlier attack. Sumeragi is hesitant to help the coup because she’s not sure why the Innovators hadn’t noticed this even though they control Veda, but she knows that to get at what the Innovators are plotting, they have to go towards the Africa tower. Plus, she thinks that Setsuna will be headed in that direction too. While the Ptolemaios is en route, A-LAWS starts to take action up in space. They first send a group of Automatons into the station, so Hercule’s men use the station’s defenses against them. This destroys a number of the robots, but several more get through, and one of them accesses the station’s surveillance system. Around this same time, a large number of Katharon units join the coup units. Hercule is then alerted to the appearance of a single blue Tieren, and he realizes that it’s being piloted by Sergei.
Still at sea are Kati’s forces, and she’s frustrated over why they haven’t been mobilized. This means that the Innovators on the ship won’t be getting involved, and Devine is irritated that he won’t be able to avenge Bring. On the deck of the ship, Andrei reveals to Louise that he knows the person behind the coup because it’s his father’s friend. Andrei remembers Hercule as very idealistic, but Louise doesn’t care about the reason for the coup. She feels that, as A-LAWS, their job is only to defeat the anti-government forces in order to gain peace, and Andrei agrees. He recalls how Hercule had helped him out back when he entered the service academy since he didn’t want his own father’s help. Hercule had told him not to hate his father because what happened was an accident, but Andrei was still angry over how his father let his mother die, and he blamed Hercule as well. Andrei had refused to follow his father’s way of life, and to prove that, he chose to join the military. Hercule had questioned if Andrei’s mother would truly be happy about that, and Andrei had asserted that she would have because she wanted peace more than anyone else. Thinking about all this now, Andrei believes that half-hearted determination will not lead to peace, and he wonders why Hercule doesn’t understand that A-LAWS’s power is necessary right now.
By now, Sergei has been escorted to Hercule, and he conveys a message from the Federation government that they refuse the demands. He then starts questioning why Hercule took innocents hostage when Hercule should have known that the Federation controlled all information, so he should have realized that his words wouldn’t reach the world. Hercule, however, claims that the people aren’t so innocent because they accepted government policies without question, leading to a corrupting of government. He believes that it was the foolishness of the people that allowed the rise of A-LAWS, and he feels that the people need to awaken, even if it’s with pain. Sergei protests against this because it’s their duty to protect the people, and he urges Hercule to surrender to save the lives of his men. Hercule doubts that A-LAWS will allow this, and he wants Sergei to return to Earth to tell his commanders that they aren’t leaving. Surprisingly, Sergei decides to stay as well because he refuses to let something happen a second time. This conversation is interrupted by the news of another wave of Automatons attacking, so Hercule sends his men to fight and to lead the civilians to the linear train. Reports soon arrive that the Automatons are attacking the civilians, and Hercule uses this as proof to Sergei of how wrong the government and military have become.
Hercule’s forces are eventually successful at halting the Automatons and at getting the people to the linear train. Sergei doesn’t understand why Hercule had intended to let the people go, so Hercule reiterates how he’s awakening them to A-LAWS’s wrongdoings, and he’s happy to sacrifice himself for this. Unfortunately, the Federation responds by broadcasting video of the civilians being slaughtered inside the station, only instead of the Automatons doing the killing, the video has been modified to look like it’s Hercule’s men doing it. Hercule doesn’t let this bother him because of all the people he released who know the truth, but Sergei doubts that the Federation has not forecasted this. Regardless, Hercule doesn’t think that 60,000 people can be silenced, especially since his allies and Katharon are waiting on the ground. Back at the base of the Africa tower, Mr. Bushido begins his battle with Setsuna, and the 00 Raiser can’t match up until Setsuna activates its Trans-Am as well. Their fight is soon interrupted though by the arrival of the Ptolemaios and the other Gundams, and that leaves Mr. Bushido no choice but to retreat. As Setsuna starts to lose consciousness from his shoulder wound, he remembers Lockon urging him to change, and he vows to do so.
Once the Ptolemaios recovers Setsuna, Sumeragi notices that the way the military has concentrated in two areas around the orbital elevator is odd, and she suspects that they’re hiding something. Based on this, she has Feldt show her the wind data of the surrounding area, and from it, she figures out that the Federation forces are deployed so that they’re out of the way in case the orbital elevator falls down. This leads her to realize that A-LAWS has another satellite weapon, and indeed, high above Earth, Arthur Goodman is in command of the Memento Mori.
Well, if you’re looking for action – and I was thanks to the cliffhanger from last week – this episode will probably disappoint. Most of it is spent focused on the coup and on hammering home the message that people shouldn’t blindly trust their government. I found it to be an interesting theme, but probably only because I’m the kind of person who enjoys reading about politics and the way democracy works. In any case, they didn’t continue with the 00 Raiser vs. Masurao battle until approximately 3/4 of the way through the episode, and the actual fight (not including the recap from last week) lasted only about a minute before Setsuna got saved and Mr. Bushido had to retreat. Nothing got settled in that short time, so I’m treating the fight as a prelude to a future, more decisive clash between them once Setsuna has recovered.
The big WTF this episode – and I don’t mean that in the best of ways – is the Memento Mori redux. Celestial Being destroyed the original Memento Mori only three episodes ago, and this kind of renders that accomplishment moot. I realize that, if you’re A-LAWS, there’s no reason not to have another one (or two or three or four more), but from a story point of view, it’s just not as interesting the second time around. I would have preferred them to introduce something new, even if it was just a different superweapon. On the other hand, the Ptolemaios won’t be destroying it the same way, so theoretically what we’ll be watching for now is how they’ll go about facing this new challenge. The preview for next week does show a shot of explosions all around it, so maybe it’ll get destroyed pretty quickly. For now though, all signs point to the collapse of the orbital elevator as previously hinted. I’m hoping Sergei will make it out of it alive. The preview also suggests that Marie will be piloting again, which can only mean the introduction of the GN Archer.