As the battle rages on, Kallen uses the Crimson Lotus’ arm to destroy Kewell’s Sutherland before the pilot can escape. However, several of the Black Knights who are on foot are wounded or killed by enemy fire, and Lelouch thinks to himself that the ones who survive will become soldiers. In the Britannia control room, Euphemia notices that there’s something coming up towards Cornelia’s group. Those two dots on her map represent the two vehicles of the Japan Liberation Front forces – led by Toudou – who are going after Cornelia. Invoking what happened seven years ago, the group launches an attack that takes out several of Cornelia’s Sutherlands. While Guilford and the others hold off the attackers, Cornelia breaks through their enemy and gets away. Zero’s unit is pinned down by Britannian fire when he gets news of the Japan Liberation Front. He wonders if they figured out his target and are going to help him by keeping Cornelia’s bodyguards busy. At that time, Toudou is contacting headquarters and telling them to invest all their forces to keep the main Britannia army confined. Back at the Britannia field base, Euphemia’s advisers want to enter the base into battle to help Cornelia. Although she is conflicted with the desire to save her sister, Euphemia refuses to do this because of Cornelia’s earlier order for her to not move no matter what. Fortunately, she gets a message from Lloyd and Suzaku asking for special permission to launch. Seeing Suzaku silently mouth he nickname “Euphie,” Euphemia grants them the go ahead.
As he’s locked in battle with Guilford and the rest of Cornelia’s troops, Toudou tells his men that if Zero is the kind of guy he expects Zero to be, then Zero would be doing something about Cornelia. Thus, they can do nothing but trust in Zero. At that moment, Guilford is also talking to Villetta about Zero, who appears to have changed course. She shows him where Zero is heading, causing Guilford to realize that this is really bad because that’s where Cornelia is currently. But when Guilford contacts Cornelia to tell her, he finds out that Cornelia has already met up with the Crimson Lotus. What they don’t know is that Suzaku is preparing to launch in the Lancelot, though Lloyd messages him first and asks why he joined the military if he disliked people dying. Suzaku’s answer is that he’s in the military because he doesn’t want to die. Lloyd thinks that this contradiction will someday get Suzaku killed, but then apologizes when Cecile threatens him for saying that. As Suzaku is launching, Cornelia is meanwhile finding herself outmatched by both the Crimson Lotus and Zero, the latter of whom declares that it’s already checkmate. Cornelia knows that if she can defeat the Crimson Lotus, then she will open a means of escape. However, when she tries to attack the Crimson Lotus, its movements are too fast for her gun. When Cornelia turns to her lance, Kallen responds with the claw arm’s radiant surge ability, forcing Cornelia to eject her Gloucester’s right arm because of the damage. Cornelia then comes under fire from Zero’s Knightmare, destroying her gun and her other arm.
The rest of the Britannia forces are also faring poorly. Guilford has been herded together with the rest of his force by Toudou, though he’s still more concerned about Cornelia. She sends him a message, telling him to go assist Euphemia with Darlton and promising not to surrender – she’ll fight to the very end as an imperial princess. With that, Cornelia makes a charge at the Crimson Lotus with her armless Gloucester, but before she can make it, something bursts through the rocky wall beside them: the Lancelot. While Cornelia is surprised to see the Knightmare and wonders who gave him permission, Guilford is relieved that the Lancelot showed up. Remembering his previous encounter with the Lancelot, Lelouch tries to shoot at Cornelia, but Suzaku shields her. Lelouch then orders Kallen to destroy the white Knightmare, and so the two mecha start fighting in a match of lightning fast speed. Kallen is able to dodge most of Suzaku’s attacks, though she does use her claw arm to stop and destroy one of his swords. In fact, her claw arm’s radiant surge can even stop one of Suzaku’s bullets. Unfortunately, the consequence of doing this is that the ground under the Crimson Lotus crumbles, causing it to go tumbling down the side of a cliff. The fall damages the Crimson Lotus’ claw arm and forces Lelouch to order a retreat because he realizes this would otherwise become a war of attrition. Suzaku then goes to check up on Cornelia, but she orders him to chase after Zero instead.
Escorting Kallen away, Shinichirou comments on how they used the Japan Liberation Front as a decoy, but ended up only running away. Kallen doesn’t like that kind of talk and Kaname agrees. He explains that humans are not pawns in a game and he feels Zero doesn’t think about this. Regardless, he knows that Zero’s anger towards Britannia is real, and a man who knows such anger also knows sadness. While they’ve been talking, Suzaku has hunted down Zero’s Knightmare and forced Zero to eject. Not knowing that Zero is Lelouch, Suzaku reports back that he’s found Zero and will capture him. Thinking to himself, Suzaku feels that Zero has helped a lot of people, but he also feels that Zero’s way of doing things is wrong. He points the Lancelot’s gun at Zero, but what occurs next surprises both Suzaku and Lelouch: C.C. appears. As she tells Suzaku to stop and to not make a move on Zero, C.C. walks up and touches the Lancelot. When Lelouch questions what she’s doing, C.C. explains that his death would be troublesome. And although this is indirect contact, she thinks this is worth a try. What C.C. tries sends Suzaku through the same experience Lelouch went through when he got his GEASS power. However, Suzaku is met up with an image of his now-dead father and becomes fearful of it. Lelouch at first thinks that she gave the Lancelot pilot GEASS, but she reassures that she’s only showing Suzaku images to shock him. She then tells Lelouch to run away, but he asks what she’ll do and doesn’t want to be indebted to her. As he says this, he touches her shoulder, starting a chain reaction in both her and him.
Lelouch begins to see many images, including a mob throwing rocks at a church that’s adorned with the same mark that’s on C.C.’s forehead and a nun with that marking too. This leads to a shot of a red shrine gate marked Kururugi Jinja (Kururugi Shrine) and then a scene of C.C. naked in a body of water, touching the scar that is shaped like the marking on her forehead and stretches from her left breast down to her stomach. Clutching her chest in pain and beginning to cry, C.C. tells him to stop and to not go inside of her, but it’s too late – she feels that she’s been opened. When Suzaku suddenly yells that he couldn’t do anything but that, both he and Lelouch are taken to the same plane where there is screaming all over the place and featureless people all walking one direction. Suzaku gives a final scream, knocking both C.C. and Lelouch out of the vision, and then proceeds to start firing wildly with the Lancelot. In trying to protect Lelouch and get him to run away, C.C. gets heavily injured by flying rocks. Meanwhile, the battle between the Japan Liberation Front and the Britannia forces is winding down. Guilford manages to get away from the enemy and heads for Cornelia’s position, but she surprises him by ordering a retreat. She sees no reason to stake the lives of her men any further and admits to herself that they lost this time. The Black Knights end up celebrating the victory, though Kallen remains very concerned about what happened to Zero, afraid that he might have been captured.
Zero has actually taken the injured C.C. to a nearby cave and realizes that she’s not human because her regeneration speed isn’t normal. He remembers how she got shot in the head when they first met in Shinjuku and thinks that she most not be connected to Britannia since Clovis was carrying out his research in private. Lelouch notes that her vitals are the same a human and though he plans to investigate her blood sample later, he wonders if he should photograph her wounds. C.C. suddenly starts saying something in her sleep, so Lelouch brings himself closer to hear her. She surprises him with whatever she said and then tells someone that they finally called her by her name. Meanwhile, Cornelia, Guilford, and Suzaku have all returned to base, but Suzaku remains in a state of shock inside the Lancelot’s cockpit even when Lloyd, Cecile, and Euphemia come to check up on him. Back at the cave, Lelouch drops the handkerchief with C.C.’s blood into a puddle of water and tells the now-awake girl that he removed the fragment she got hit by and washed the wound. C.C., however, claims that it wasn’t necessary and feels that Lelouch always sticks his pride in trivial places. Lelouch then reveals that he knows her name, causing C.C. to comment on how his eavesdropping hobby is bad. Ignoring what she said, Lelouch continues on, saying that it’s a good name and is much more human than C.C. At first she calls that stupid, but she soon starts crying as she admits that she forgot everything.
Lelouch feels that this is a good chance to say something to her for saving him and giving him GEASS, and that something is Arigatou (thank you). C.C. remembers that this is the first time that he’s expressed his gratitude to her and asks for him to return the favor to her by calling her name again. Although she only wants him to say it once, she wants him to do it with kindness and with all his heart into it. Lelouch grants her request, but C.C. tells him afterwards that his gentleness was insufficient, that he said it with a pitiful heart, that his pronunciation was poor, and that above all, his warmth was lacking. In response, Lelouch calls her a selfish woman, and C.C. agrees because she is C.C. Around this time, in the town below where the battle took place, a weary Jeremiah walks in front of a truck carrying the scientists who were studying C.C. Crying out to Zero, Jeremiah claims that he’s not Orange and then collapses on the road. Sometime later, Kallen arrives at the cave after Zero called her there. She is initially concerned about him, but then notices C.C. standing to the side and questions who she is. Zero tells her not to worry because C.C. is his precious partner. Turning around to address her, Lelouch tells C.C. that he doesn’t know why the snow is white. However, he feels that white snow is beautiful, and so he doesn’t hate it.
Well that was crazy awesome – a thrill ride all the way through. In terms of the battles, I was actually a little surprised at how well Kallen was doing in the fight against Suzaku. If she hadn’t fallen off the cliff and damaged the claw arm, she probably could have won that battle with the way it was going. And Kallen definitely had Cornelia beat if it wasn’t for Suzaku’s entrance. It was amusing to see Cornelia’s Knightmare without any arms since it reminded me a little of the Black Knight from Monty Python. Surprisingly enough though, almost everyone survived except for Kewell who died in the first few minutes of the episode. That even includes Jeremiah, whose sanity is questionable, but whose appearance again reinforces the Mai-HiME/Otome principle.
Actually, although the first half of the episode had the best action and the funniest moments (courtesy of Lloyd and Cecile), it was the latter half of the episode that ended up being more interesting. The flashback caused when Lelouch touched C.C.’s shoulder had a lot of juicy bits, including the shot of the Kururugi Shrine that would seem to imply another Suzaku connection. That sequence was filled with the red bird-shaped symbol that’s also found on C.C.’s forehead and in Lelouch’s eye whenever he uses GEASS. The church scene seems to say that it has religious significance, but there’s still a lot more for us to find out.
The latter half also featured some of the strongest LelouchXC.C. moments to date. Not only did he get a peek into her past, he also learned her real name. That alone was the most frustrating part of the episode because they don’t tell us what that name is and instead blanked out the audio or covered it up with water drop noises when its said. I suspect the name has something to do with the why-snow-is-white topic that came up last episode when they were talking about her name and then at the end of this one after they went through all the name stuff. That would also give Lelouch’s last line even more meaning.
It’s also worthy to note that Kallen seemed to have warmed up quite nicely to Zero. She had been so worried about him and had addressed him so happily when she first entered the cave, but then immediately changed the tone of her voice when she saw another girl. Kallen’s expression didn’t get any better after Lelouch said all those things to C.C. either. I wouldn’t call it jealousy just yet, but this does seem to develop a little relationship triangle between all of them.
In conclusion, this was a great episode to end the year on, and I can’t wait to see where they take the story in 2007. As a reminder, there’s no CODE GEASS next week. The show returns with Episode 12 on January 4th. Who knows, maybe that’s when the new OP and ED will premiere…