On the phone with Zero, Diethard reports that the training of the Crimson Lotus is going according to plan after the re-tuning. They’re now waiting for the arrival of the development team and Laksharta. The organization is now at 92% with members divided into fourteen levels. As per Zero’s instructions, their people have been sent to warehouses owned by Britannians, and there are as many as 564 places in the Kanto region with their personnel dispersed. 32 bases have been discovered and there are 11 dummies. Although 42 people have been arrested, they cut off the information to level eight and higher personnel. And with the backing of Kyoto, cases where the general public tips off the army or police are gone. After hearing Diethard’s final note that they’re still searching for Toudou, Lelouch hangs up the phone. He is at the airport with a disguised C.C., and she’s heading off to be the messenger to the Chinese Federation. As he returns home, Lelouch thinks of a scene from his past where he was with Suzaku and was carrying Nunnally through a field of dead people. Suzaku had stopped at the sight of all the bodies, but Lelouch told him to keep walking. When Nunnally had then noticed a strange smell, Lelouch had told her that they were near a landfill. Since Suzaku hadn’t continued walking and had instead started crying, Nunnally tried to comfort him by saying that tears are good for a person’s temperature. Back in his room, Lelouch promises to himself that he’ll overcome it.
The next morning, Suzaku catches up with Lelouch on the way to class and warns him that not coming to school will result in him being held back a year. Of course, Suzaku himself has also been busy because the Black Knights have been so active. Lelouch then invites Suzaku over to eat because Nunnally is lonely, but their conversation gets interrupted by the arrival of Rivalz. He’s in a panic because he found out that Milly had a marriage interview and is angry that Lelouch didn’t tell him it was today. In fact, Milly has already arrived at her marriage interview, and it’s with none other than Lloyd. He suggests that they get married, but when both Cecile and Milly react with surprise, he decides to put it on hold. Meanwhile, at home, Nunnally hears someone enter her room, but it’s someone who starts clapping: Mao. By the time Lelouch comes back to tell her about Suzaku, she’s already gone. Mao left only a picture of her bound and gagged surrounded by a half-circle of origami cranes. Right as Lelouch is discovering the photo, the telephone rings, and it’s Nunnally on the other end. She’s only able to tell him that she doesn’t know where she is and that she can’t move before Mao takes over the phone. Mao calls Lelouch careless and wonders if Lelouch thought he was dead. Lelouch tries to tell Mao that C.C. isn’t here right now, but it turns out that that’s the reason Mao came. Having an opponent on whom GEASS doesn’t work is troublesome, so he’s putting off his stuff with C.C. to deal with Lelouch.
As Lelouch starts searching the school for them, Mao tells him that he has a time limit of 5 hours. This is a game between the two of them, so Lelouch isn’t allowed to get the police involved. Mao also didn’t like being shot, but he does find Britannian medicine amazing. Before he hangs up, Mao says that it’s because Lelouch was not careful enough in the final stage that Nunnally is now in trouble. Afterwards, Nunnally tells Mao that she won’t forgive him if he makes her brother feel sad. Over in the student council room, Suzaku learns from Rivalz that Lelouch and Shirley are having a fight. Kallen believes that they should just leave it alone since she thinks of it as a fight between a married couple. Concerning Lelouch and relationships, Rivalz thinks that he has only the knowledge and can’t put it into practice – Lelouch doesn’t have enough experience. A breathless Lelouch soon comes into the room, but it’s obvious to them that he has something else on his mind. Suzaku decides to follow him and catches him on the stairwell with the photo of Nunnally bound up, making Suzaku realize that something happened to her. Even with Suzaku’s, Lelouch doesn’t have many clues to go on until he remembers the sound of water rushing from the phone call. Realizing that it could be the underground water circulation system, the two head for the elevator. While all this is going on, Kaname returns home to Villetta cooking for him. He wonders if she went out to do some shopping, but Villetta was just using ingredients from around the house. She still hasn’t regained any of her memories, and Kaname verifies that she’s been at home the entire time by checking the camera recordings on his laptop.
At the elevator, Suzaku comments on how it’s unusual for Lelouch not to have noticed the water sound sooner. Lelouch is too engrossed with the lock system on the elevator to reply and has no choice but to break it. At the bottom level, Suzaku uses a mirror to see a machine gun attached to a surveillance camera. He knows that this system has a short 0.05 time lag, which makes Lelouch think that they’ll have to go back up to turn off the system. However, Suzaku bolts out of the elevator and rushes the camera. He runs faster than the system can target him and manages to leap off the wall and kick the camera. With that out of the way, the two proceed to where Nunnally is being held, but Suzaku notices a bomb hung above her head. Lelouch realizes that it’s a pendulum bomb set to go off if some other force is added to it. Suzaku knows that radius of the blast is over 500 meters, which Lelouch deduces to mean that Mao is outside of his mind-reading GEASS range. They can only cut the line coming from the detonator and they have to do it while the thing is swinging. Lelouch doesn’t think that this is something a person can do, but Suzaku says he’ll do it. He believes that Lelouch is more adept with intelligence and he’s just a soldier.
Meanwhile, Cornelia and Euphemia are relaxing together in a big garden, and Cornelia notes that it’s been a long while since they’ve had some time like this because of all the unexpected things that happened after they came to Area 11. She then touches Euphemia’s waist, prompting the princess to squeal, and comments on how Euphemia is getting fat doing desk work. Euphemia changes the subject to how this garden resembles the one that was at Marianne’s villa, causing Cornelia to remember how Clovis only fought with Lelouch back then. Euphemia thinks that it’s because they were rivals, but then remembers that Clovis drew the picture of Lelouch and his family. Cornelia feels that they have to hurry in suppressing this area and capturing Zero so that they can exonerate themselves to Clovis, Lelouch, and Nunnally since this is the world where those three siblings scattered their lives.
Having left Suzaku underground with Nunnally, Lelouch finds Mao waiting for him in the cathedral with a game of chess and a balance ready. The balance has a red zone that, if reached, will cause the underground bomb to explode. By taking Lelouch’s black chess pieces and placing them on his side of the balance, Mao is putting Nunnally closer and closer to death. In other words, Lelouch needs to win to save his sister. As they start the game, Mao comments on how Lelouch isn’t the type who can have nothing in his head, and so he doesn’t think Lelouch can win. Mao starts to get more and more of the black pieces, and Lelouch starts panicking as the balance nears the red zone. Under the pressure of Mao’s mind games and the prospect of losing his sister, Lelouch finally gives up and declares that he’s lost. Mao is delighted to be able to hear that from Lelouch, but he isn’t about to stop and tosses one more black piece onto the balance. Lelouch screams for him to stop, but it’s too late…or so they both think. When Mao checks the surveillance camera, he is surprised to find Nunnally still in one piece. Suddenly, Suzaku bursts through the window, dodges Mao’s bullets, and smacks Mao in the face. After introducing himself, Suzaku is ready to take Mao into custody for disturbing public peace, but Mao is still shocked that the bomb was dismantled because it required a match in speed with the pendulum. Suzaku explains that Lelouch told him which line to cut, and he was supposed to come rushing in when he heard a scream. Lelouch doesn’t remember any of this, but then realizes what happened. Using his thoughts to tell Mao, Lelouch explains that he had given Suzaku directions and then made himself forget with his own GEASS powers in order to fool Mao.
Still in disbelief, Mao asks what Lelouch would have done if Suzaku failed, and Lelouch concedes that this is indeed a strategy that could not have been taken if he didn’t trust Suzaku. In fact, Suzaku has even called in Sayoko to untie Nunnally. When he finally gets over it, Mao starts struggling with Suzaku and refers to him as someone who killed his father. Pushing the topic, Mao confronts Suzaku with how he killed his biological father seven years ago. Suzaku had believed that stopping his father – who called for resistance to the bitter end – would end the war. Suzaku tries to deny it, but Mao calls it a murder. Mao then thinks that Suzaku should be glad that the secret it out since he had been lying to everyone around him. Lelouch realizes that this means the reports that Prime Minister Kururugi’s suicide were all big lies. Mao then claims that Suzaku wanted to save people, but it was really his own mind that wanted to be saved – he wanted to die sacrificing himself for that. As Suzaku starts screaming, Mao says that Suzaku’s good intentions were only for self-satisfaction and calls Suzaku a spoiled child who wanted only punishment. Having heard enough, Lelouch uses his GEASS power on Mao to make him shut up. Unable to speak, Mao stumbles towards the door and finds C.C. waiting for him outside the cathedral. She says that she liked him, and as he approaches her, she tells him to go ahead and wait in the World of C. With that, she shoots Mao in the neck, and the GEASS symbol in his eye disappears as he crumples to the ground. The threat is over, but Suzaku is still on his knees in shock.
I’m not really going to talk much about Mao coming back because I had been expecting it to happen. The only thing I learned from that is that Britannian medicine able to bring people back from that many gunshot wounds. What I didn’t expect to see was Suzaku being such a superman with the way he outran a computer controlled machine gun and the way he did wall runs. Calling him a superman may be exaggerating it a bit, but this episode does make the distinction between the two main protagonists even clearer: Lelouch has the know-how and Suzaku has what it takes to get things done. They’d make quite a dynamic duo, but the fact is that they’re currently on opposites sides of the conflict. The only place they can work together as themselves is at school, and it ultimately led to Mao’s downfall. Speaking of which, I found it interesting that C.C. stayed outside the cathedral and never came in. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but there was that flashback of the nun back in episode 11, so this might mean something.
We also got a lot more of Suzaku’s past this episode, most of it courtesy of Mao. As the first episode of the GEASS picture drama showed, the Suzaku back then was very different from the Suzaku now, so Mao calling him a spoiled kid isn’t really a stretch of the imagination. It would seem that Suzaku did indeed kill his father, and it’s been haunting him ever since. Lelouch now knows too, and although I would like to think that he would help Suzaku get over it, I just can’t see him doing it without some major motivation.
Cornelia showed a different side of herself this week – a side we’ve seen mostly in glimpses up until now. She had a rather playful and then wistful quality to her, which made her a lot more likable than usual. I still think she’s going to die, but I probably won’t hate her character when she does. Heck, I’m surprised that she lasted this long – I had expected her to die a long time ago and Lelouch to refocus his sights on Schneizel.
The big LOL moment for me was actually seeing that Milly’s marriage interview was with Lloyd. I hadn’t even considered him as a candidate, so that came as a complete surprise. I dunno if they’re going to end up getting married or not, but I’m still rooting for CecileXLloyd. On the subject of relationships, I again found it odd that they spent a little time talking about Lelouch and Shirley again. It keeps making me think that we’ll be seeing more of Shirley.
The preview for next week shows that Laksharta arrives, Kallen gets her new uniform, and someone looks to be getting a new Knightmare – the sword makes me think it’ll be Toudou’s. And remember folks, Pizza Hut supports the Rebellion. It’s only a coincidence that I ordered Pizza Hut for dinner tonight…