On the ride to Lake Kawaguchi with Shirley and Millay, Nina becomes afraid when the train passes through a tunnel. Millay reassures her that they’re going to a peaceful place with a lot of tourists that’s not scary like the ghetto. Lelouch meanwhile has donned his Zero costume and has invited the rebels to his new hideout – a large upscale vehicle that was given by someone he calls a libertine noble. One of the men turns on the TV and sees a live news report coming from in front of the Lake Kawaguchi Convention Center Hotel. It seems that the Japan Liberation Front has taken some hostages, and footage from inside alerts Kallen to the fact that Shirley, Nina, and Millay are among those being held. The report states that the leader of this group calls himself Commander Kusakabe, an ex-Japanese soldier, though their actual leader Toudou is watching the same report back at their base and is calling Kusakabe a fool. As this situation is unfolding, Lelouch gets a call from Rival, but he ignores it.
Cornelia is also present on scene and is getting briefed on how they can’t attack by air or sea. However, there is a tunnel underneath the convention center hotel through which the Britannia forces are planning to destroy the foundation and sink the building. The problem is that the three Sutherlands they send down there get destroyed by the Liberation Front’s large gun. To complicate matters further, Cornelia knows that Euphemia is also part of the hostage group, though the terrorists still aren’t aware of this fact. During all this, C.C. is at school watching the girl who carves into the side of the school building everyday. Seemingly talking to herself, she says that she understands and that she’ll do it well next time, but that she’s not the guardian. Back at the edge of the lake, Suzaku is asking about participating in the rescue, but Lloyd makes him realize that Cornelia wouldn’t leave an operation up to an Eleven.
Lelouch meanwhile is still considering what to do as he watches Shirley’s desperate father on TV. He knows that he needs to organize to fight against Britannia and thinks that if he left the situation alone, Cornelia would act without care for the hostages. But realizing that she hasn’t yet done that, Lelouch suspects that something is up. When Ougi comes by and asks about their uniforms not being right for the Resistance, Zero declares that they are not the Resistance – they’re aiming to be allies of justice. As night approaches and the situation doesn’t change, Cecil is noting to Suzaku how some of the hostages are student council members. Suzaku, however, thinks of himself as a man of structure, so he gives precedence to logic over personal feelings. At that moment though, he sees a group of the terrorists push a hostage over the edge of the building. It seems that Kusakabe is threatening to kill a hostage every 30 minutes as long as there’s not a reply of some kind from Britannia about their demands.
Cornelia’s advisers bring her the option of getting the women and children released first, but she turns it down because any response would be acknowledging the terrorists. The situation changes however, when Cornelia gets a communication from Zero, who has stolen a TV station van. She surrounds him and is ready to kill him for Clovis’ revenge, but Lelouch poses her a simple question about whether she chooses a dead Clovis or a Euphemia who is alive. Cornelia’s shocked look confirms for Lelouch what he had suspected. He thinks that Cornelia is still the same in terms of how she doted on Euphemia when they were young. Therefore, the reason she hasn’t acted is because the tail of affection is hindering her. Playing on this, Zero declares to Cornelia that he will save Euphemia. Cornelia isn’t happy about it, but she lets him through to the convention center hotel. Lelouch wonders to himself if the Japan Liberation Front will accept him as a friend or treat him as a nuisance. Regardless, he knows that they’re lured by the temptation to meet Zero.
Cornelia meanwhile authorizes the Lancelot to launch, but Cecil recognizes that Suzaku will be acting as a decoy. Despite this, Suzaku is ready to do whatever he can to help the hostages. His job is to take the underground tunnel and destroy the foundation blocks of the hotel, sinking it. Another force will take care of the rescue and the terrorists. Part of the reason Suzaku is so determined is because he remembers how Shirley had invited him to go on the trip, and how he had turned her down because of work. At that moment, the situation inside the hotel is worsening after a scared Nina calls one of the guards an Eleven. The angry guard turns his gun on her because he considers himself to be Japanese, not an Eleven. Nina’s screaming prompts Euphemia to finally stand up and tell him to stop. Identifying herself as the third princess of Britannia, Euphemia demands to see their leader.
Meanwhile, Zero is already meeting with Kusakabe, asking what they intend to accomplish with this. When Kusakabe answers that they want people to know that the Japanese aren’t dead yet, Zero calls them antiquated and thinks that they can’t be saved. An angry Kusakabe draws his sword and attacks, but Lelouch simply opens the eye slit on his mask and uses his GEASS to command Kusakabe to die. More guards are bringing Euphemia to the room when they hear gunshots from inside and burst in to see Zero with a gun. The soldiers and Kusakabe have all killed themselves because they realized that their actions were meaningless, or so Zero claims. And after spotting Euphemia, Zero also mentions that she’s the same as ever for having volunteered herself as a hostage for the sake of the people. Below ground, Suzaku has launched his attack on the Liberation Front’s mecha and is able to dodge the cannon fire. As he approaches the enemy, he decides to use the Lancelot’s VARIS (Variable Ammunition Repulsion Impact Spitfire) rifle.
Zero is at that time mentioning to Euphemia that he heard she became the vice-governor-general, but Euphemia says that she’s not happy about it. Zero suggests that it’s because her brother Clovis is dead, killed by him, and recounts how Clovis had begged for his life with the same mouth that he ordered Elevens killed with. When Euphemia asks if that’s the reason Zero killed Clovis, Zero reveals that it wasn’t – the real reason is because Clovis was a child of the Emperor of Britannia. That reminds him that Euphemia is also one of the Emperor’s children, so he brings out his gun and prepares to shoot her. However, it is at this point that the building starts to sink because Suzaku has successfully defeated his opponent and destroyed the foundations blocks of the building. As he hovers alongside the building, Suzaku sees Zero in one of the rooms, but then Zero triggers some explosives and the entire floor blows up.
Although the Lancelot is fine, all signs would seem to point to the people who were inside the building being dead. Suzaku is frustrated that he couldn’t save everyone, but in actuality, all the hostages including Euphemia are alive and on life rafts. Zero and his group of rebels appear on another boat and Zero starts broadcasting a speech, announcing that all the hostages have been rescued and can go home. He then declares his group to be the Order of the Black, an organization which doesn’t have weapons and is everyone’s ally. According to him, the Japan Liberation Front cowardly took Britannia civilians hostage and cruelly murdered them. He and his people found this meaningless, so they punished the Liberation Front. Former governor-general Clovis was the same way in how he ordered the slaughter of unarmed Elevens, and so he was punished too. Zero does not deny the fighting, but he will absolutely not allow the one-sided killing of weak people by strong people. Thus, it’s only ok to shoot people who are prepared to be shot. Their group will appear again when people with power attack people without power, even if this enemy has a lot of power. By this point in the speech, Kallen is wondering to herself if this is the ally of justice Zero had mentioned earlier.
Zero finishes by telling the people with power to fear him and the people without power to ask for him. They, the Order of the Black, will judge the world.
Translation Note: As you can see, I decided to go with the “Order of the Black” for 「黒の騎士団」 (Kuro no Kishidan). I believe the common translation that’s been floating around is the “Black League of Knights,” but league just doesn’t seem appropriate – silly even. Knight societies are typically called Orders and I think that would work best in this case given the word and the context. Actually, “Knights of the Black” or even “Black Knights” would be accurate direct translations. My point is that this can be translated various ways, but league is not among the best choices.
Holy crap, I think this was an entire episode without a Pizza Hut reference. Either that or I was just too engrossed in the awesome story. I guess Pizza Hut doesn’t support the Rebellion this week. 🙁
But like I was saying, this episode had a great plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. Lelouch was faced with a predicament that had him facing a potential ally and a sworn enemy. I was impressed he managed to get past Cornelia without using his GEASS power thanks to some good intuition about Euphemia. I had thought that maybe the Japan Liberation Front would join him, but it seems like he looks down on them, at least based on what Kusakabe told him. Their real leader Toudou may yet leave a different impression.
They also scared me into thinking that Lelouch was going to shoot Euphemia and thus screw over all the theories about her, but fortunately that didn’t happen. I would have hated him if he did. And how the heck did Cornelia go from this to how she is now? That’s probably something more you can blame on the Emperor of Britannia’s influence.
Unfortunately next week appears to be a recap episode. Maybe they’ll add in a few new things, but we’ll see what happens.