As ZAFT forces attack an Earth Alliance base, the EA side gets some reinforcements in the form of the Strike Noir, the Verde Buster, and the Blu Duel. Sven and company make quick work of the enemy mobile suits, leaving a fiery battlefield. Back at their base, their commander is on the phone talking with someone about the situation with rebel forces, the three Phantom Pain pilots and a bunch of soldiers are in a bar watching the TV, which is airing three children talking about how Naturals killed their Coordinator parents and calling for the death of Naturals and Blue Cosmos. As the news continues talking about Coordinators and terrorism, Mudie comments that her teacher told her that the only good Coordinator is a dead one. Sven remembers how interested he was in the stars when he was a child and how he wanted to be an astronomer. His father had even gotten him a telescope as a birthday present. Sven had watched programs about landing on the moon, read up on his Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein, and went to the space museums. However, an explosion had killed his parents and he was put in a special program.
The present Sven wakes up to his alarm and reports to his commander. Sven’s target is a Coordinator refugee camp training terrorists and his mission is to destroy the facilities and eliminate the terrorists. Sven asks if there is a limit to targeting only terrorists and his commander asked him back if he made a distinction between terrorists and those who were not. While flying along to the refugee camp, Sven remembers how he had been taken as a child to a facility where he was brainwashed with anti-Coordinator slogans and violent material. After he and his fellow pilots land their mobile suits, Sven gives the order to fire. As he watches the slaughter, Sven then remembers his teenage combat training and how he had gotten a certain injection. With the camp destroyed and the fires burning out, Sven is the solitary figure standing on top of the rubble.
Meanwhile, at the DSSD Troia Station in space, Selene is surrounded by scientists. She shows one of them the 401’s AI Unit and explains that the 401 will eventually be able to make judgments on its own, which opens up the possibility of unmanned planetary exploration. There is a cockpit because in the beginning there can be a pilot that the AI learns behavior from. Back on Earth, a fierce battle has erupted between an EA ship – carrying a Destroy Gundam – and a ZAFT force. Mudie in the Blu Duel destroys a pair of BuCUEs with her Stilettos, but then gets her sword arm cut off by another BuCUE. The Blu Duel also gets its left leg cut off, meaning that Mudie is now a sitting duck. A trio of Kerberos BuCUE Hounds then gang up and stab her Gundam repeatedly until she’s dead and the Blu Duel has been destroyed. Sven turns his attention to the Hounds and easily defeats all three, but it’s too late for Mudie. Although Shams is in shock and disbelief at Mudie’s death, Sven barely shows any emotion.
Afterwards, Sven passes by Sting and an unconscious Stellar inside the hallways of the ship. Shams tells him that their orders have come and this time they’re going after the DSSD space station. In contrast to Sven’s uncaring attitude, Shams wants to beat them all to death. During this time, Selene and Sol are in space testing out the 401’s Voiture Lumiere system. Sol suggests that calling it the “401” is impolite to the AI and recalls what Edmond said about looking up. Edmond had used the word Stargazer, so Selene adopts the name and enters it into the computer. With the test underway, the station radios with a confirmation that the Voiture Lumiere is accelerating the mobile suit. The man in the transmission congratulates the 401, but then corrects himself and calls it the Stargazer.
I thought this episode by itself was pretty awesome, but I’m a bit apprehensive about the overall story. I really liked the battle in the middle of the episode where Mudie died. The way the Kerberos BuCUE Hounds ganged up on her very much resembled wild dogs feasting on prey, which is probably the image they were going for. And then it was pretty cool how Sven did that back flip and tossed the Hounds into each other. Still, the problem with such a short series is that you don’t really connect with the characters much, so a death like Mudie’s doesn’t really mean anything.
This episode also featured some cameos by Azrael, Sting, and Stellar. I think Neo was in the Stellar/Sting scene too, but there wasn’t a clear shot of him except a distance one from the back of the head. In terms of timeline, this episode lands right around GSD episode 31, where Sting and Neo brought Stellar onboard the Bonaparte. In contrast, the first episode of STARGAZER occurred around GSD episode 7, after Junius Seven fell on Earth. That seems like a big jump, though I don’t remember how much actual time passed between those episodes.
But like I said, I’m a bit uneasy about the story because it seems like we haven’t gotten enough development of the characters and the story, and next episode (coming September 22nd) is already the final one. I just don’t think they can conclude in a satisfactory enough manner with only 15 more minutes. Oh well, I’ll reserve judgment until I see the final episode.
As a final note, I love listening to the ending song more and more. The single is due out next week.