It was eight years ago in the year 2009 a.t.b. that Lelouch went to see his father, the emperor of Britannia, after his mother’s death. His father doesn’t want to waste time on him, but Lelouch persisted, asking why the emperor didn’t protect his mother. When the emperor told him that it wasn’t for the weak, Lelouch had decided that he didn’t need the right to succeed the throne because he’s had enough of all this conflict and strife. In response, his father said that Lelouch was dead from when he was born and that it was he, the emperor, who had given Lelouch clothes, a home, food, and life. Towering over a now fearful Lelouch, his father had declared that Lelouch had no rights and sent him and Nanaly to Japan.
Back in the present, while Lloyd is explaining the seventh generation Knightmares to Cornelia, Suzaku is doing his homework under Cecil’s watch. In talking about school, Suzaku mentions meeting an old friend by coincidence, so Cecil tells him to treasure that person. She believes that their reunion wasn’t coincidence, but rather hitsuzen (a foreordained event/inevitable). Over at school, Kallen and Shirley are doing student council work when Shirley suddenly asks about Kallen keeping a secret. Kallen assumes the worst and pulls out her knife, but it turns out that Shirley is merely accusing her of going out with Lelouch. She tries to explain that Shirley’s got it wrong, but Shirley keeps jumping to conclusions, so Kallen has to tell her to stop her imagination from running wild. At that time, their president Millay is over in the principal’s office talking to her mother over the phone about an omiai (marriage interview).
Meanwhile, Cornelia has led a Britannia force to surround the Saitama Ghetto in preparation for an operation against the terrorists there. The TV news specifically reports that the attack is set to start in two hours because Cornelia wants to create the same circumstances that were in Shinjuku in order to lure Zero out. At home, Lelouch is well aware of the situation and is packing to go out since he feels that Cornelia is purposefully extending him an invitation. When C.C. wonders whether destroying Britannia or finding his mother’s killers is more important to him, Lelouch answers that they’re the same. He feels that the Britannia royalty are being made to fight by his father for the next emperor’s seat. C.C. points out that this does make Britannia strong since the person who remains will be the best person suited to be emperor.
Lelouch agrees, but also says that the weak lose everything in this type of Britannia world. Since C.C. thinks that that’s survival of the fittest, Lelouch mentions Nanaly and how he won’t give up on her just because she’s weak. Before Lelouch can finish his sentence, he notices that C.C. is pointing a gun at him. She claims that it’d be troublesome if he died before fulfilling his contract with her, but she’s not ready to kill him – she’ll only shoot his foot. He figures out that if he’s dead, she can’t use the GEASS, so he pulls out his own gun. C.C. thinks that he’s going to shoot her, but Lelouch instead points it at his own head. He explains that he was dead for a long time until he met her: he lived a life of not doing anything – a life of only living – which he considers the same as a slow death. As Lelouch prepares to fire on himself, C.C. tells him to wait and lowers her gun.
Cornelia eventually starts her annihilation operation in the Saitama Ghetto by having her soldiers slaughter civilians for harboring terrorists. Lelouch, who has made his way onto the battlefield disguised as a soldier, gets approached and questioned by a Sutherland, so he lures the pilot out by pretending to have confiscated something from the terrorists and then uses his GEASS power to take the mecha. From inside the Sutherland, Lelouch contacts the local rebels as Zero and gets them to carry out his plans. With his micromanagement, they score multiple hits and even take out a bridge with several Britannia units on it. Knowing that this is the same as how things happened in Shinjuku, Cornelia orders all her units to retreat, but she’s not done yet.
Back at school, Shirley is admitting to Suzaku that she didn’t start out liking Lelouch because of how insincere he seemed. But during her first year of high school, she witnessed a car accident that was the fault of the driver in the back. That driver was causing trouble for the couple he hit, and since no was helping out, Lelouch had nonchalantly gotten the man towed. He had kept the uninterested look on his face, which caused Shirley to wonder what he was thinking about. As she wanted to learn more about him, she started to like him. Suzaku takes it upon himself to call Lelouch’s phone so that Shirley can find out directly how Lelouch feels about her, but when she realizes what he’s doing, she takes the phone out of his hands and slams it down. Their ensuing struggle causes them both to fall down, with him landing on top of her.
On the battlefield, Lelouch sees that Cornelia’s troops are in retreat, so he believes that she’s lost. Cornelia, on the other hand, believes that she’s won and sends out her knight Gilford in her own Knightmare Frame. Lelouch tries to lay a trap by having one of the rebels in a Sutherland pretend to be a Britannia unit, but Cornelia orders its destruction. Gilford and his two Knightmare guards skewer the lone Sutherland, so Lelouch attempts an ambush next. He soon realizes that Cornelia is encircling with her units, so he orders the rebels to retreat. But when Lelouch tries to give out more commands, he gets no response. The rebels have become scared of Cornelia’s bodyguard forces and are giving themselves up, but she orders them all killed. Lelouch soon loses all his units and is able to see how easily Cornelia suppressed them.
To make matters worse for Lelouch, Cornelia orders all her Nightmare pilots to open their hatches and show their faces as Gilford does an inspection. Lelouch doesn’t have his Zero mask and he can’t use his GEASS power without directly seeing the enemy, leaving him with very little in terms of options. Much to his shock, however, Zero suddenly appears right as Gilford is about to inspect him. With all the attention turned away, Lelouch is able to make his escape on foot as Zero jumps off some ruins and disappears, never having uttered a single word. It is in the sewers that Lelouch comes face to face with this Zero, so he questions why Zero saved him. C.C. reveals that it was her behind the mask and reiterates that his dying would be troublesome. Lelouch claims that he wouldn’t have lost if the conditions had been equal, but she just calls him a poor loser. He vows to arrange it so that his army, people, and country won’t lose to Britannia.
If you don’t count the Zero mask being stolen by the cat last episode, this is the first time Lelouch has been really outplayed. I think that part of the appeal of his character is that although he thinks quickly and has moments of genius, Lelouch is still fallible. He underestimated Cornelia, who was prepared for a repeat of Shinjuku and acted accordingly. Part of it isn’t his fault because the rebels he was trying to control fell apart, but that still leaves the fact that he almost got completely screwed. Only C.C. showing up in the nick of time saved his ass.
On the topic of C.C., she’s growing more and more interesting. Her conversation with Lelouch in the middle of the episode shows that on several levels, she agrees with the Britannia Emperor about progress coming from fighting and competition. Her own motivations still seem to be a bit of a mystery, as was who she was talking to when she seemed to decide to go save Lelouch. That same scene had her departing from her normal playful voice and taking on a rather serious one, which I’m sure we’ll get to hear more of in the future.
I’m not entirely sure what the point of the whole SuzakuXShirley scene was. Unless Euphemia dies (which I will admit is very possible), I just don’t see them as that plausible a couple. I think Shirley’s more likely to end up alone than with Suzaku (or Lelouch). Maybe they just wanted to complicate the relationship web a little.
The preview for next week seems to show Millay and Nina being held hostage by the guys from the Japan Liberation Front. Maybe they’d like to join up with Lelouch. They certainly seem more organized than the normal rebels Lelouch has been dealing with so far.
And finally, CHEESE-kun says that Pizza Hut supports the Rebellion! I wonder if they actually have a Pizza Hut consultant or if they’re just making this stuff up…
Edit: …I see that the doujin artists are already getting on this… (Link is extremely NSFW)