With Euphemia calling for the deaths of all Japanese, Zero mobilizes the Black Knights. Led by the Crimson Lotus and Toudou’s Gekka, the Black Knight forces have no problem taking out the Britannian Knightmares and are even cheered on by the Japanese population. Kallen stops a particular Gloucester that is shooting at people and is surprised to find out that Euphemia is its pilot. Euphemia recognizes Kallen’s voice as the person from the island, but before Kallen can do anything, Zero arrives on the Gawain to stop her. After Gawain’s finger weapons shred the Gloucester so that only the cockpit remains, Euphemia emerges from the wreck with killing still on her mind. She grabs a gun and starts shooting at the Gawain, but soon runs out of ammunition. While she’s looking for more and reloading, Lelouch puts on his helmet and goes out to face her. At that moment, Suzaku is searching for Euphemia in the chaos and finally catches sight of her, but he then sees Zero pull the trigger and shoots her. As she falls to the ground, Euphemia questions in her mind why Lelouch did that. Lelouch, on the other hand, says goodbye to her and also admits that she was probably his first love. The sight of this enrages Suzaku so much that he charges the Lancelot towards them, is able to avoid all of C.C.’s Gawain cannon fire, and kicks the Gawain onto the ground. Then, in one swoop, the Lancelot grabs Euphemia’s body, knocks the Crimson Lotus down, and flies up towards the just-arrived Avalon. With blood all over him, Suzaku takes Euphemia onboard the ship and asks Cecile and Lloyd to please save her.
Lounging in Diethard’s control room, Laksharta listens to the man talking about how he’ll show this footage after some editing to the whole world through the Internet. Diethard feels that it’ll be easy for people to understand which is justice. This causes Laksharta to comment on how he really doesn’t have any feelings of loyalty towards Britannia. Diethard doesn’t want to serve a Britannia that he considers a finished subject matter, and he then questions why Laksharta is helping the Black Knights. She explains that she only wanted data, but she would feel bad abandoning them and finds Zero an interesting man. Back onboard the Avalon, the outlook doesn’t look great for Euphemia. When she wakes up, Cecile and Lloyd give Suzaku some time to talk with her alone, and the first thing he asks is why she gave those orders. Euphemia doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about and her eyes instead light up red again as she identifies him as Japanese. She struggles with the control GEASS has over her and eventually opens her eyes again to ask what happened with the ceremony and Japan. It is at this point that Suzaku realizes that she doesn’t remember anything. Euphemia asks if the Japanese people are happy, not knowing that at that very moment, they are cursing her name as Zero gives a speech about how Euphemia is a symbol of Britannian hypocrisy. Zero continues on to declare independence from Britannia, but he’s not going to be reviving the old Japan. Instead, he’s creating a new Japan where all races, histories, and principles are accepted and where the strong won’t oppress the weak. The name of this country is the United States of Japan.
Euphemia then asks Suzaku if she did well, and, unable to tell her the truth, he instead says that it was a huge success and that everyone was very pleased. She is glad to hear this, but then she comments on how it’s strange that she can’t see Suzaku’s face. Realizing what’s happening, Suzaku grasps her hand tightly, and when she talks about going to school, he tearfully says that they can still go to Ashford together where there is happy student council. With tears in her eyes too, Euphemia starts to say that she was happy to have met him, but she stops short of finishing, and the nearby heart monitor flatlines. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of his speech, Zero returns to a room where C.C. is waiting. She asks him if he intends to attack the Tokyo Settlement and he confirms that he does because this is their best chance. Taking off his helmet, he looks away so that his perma-GEASS left eye isn’t facing her, but she informs him that it has no effect on her. Lelouch then gets a phone call from Nunnally wanting to see Euphemia again because Milly had said that they could redo the school festival that got interrupted. Nunnally doesn’t know what happened with Euphemia because the radio broadcast had ended, and Lelouch doesn’t tell her. He instead says that he’ll return tomorrow, and they can discuss it then. After he hangs up, C.C. asks Lelouch if anything else changed aside from him not being able to switch on and off his GEASS. Lelouch reveals that Euphemia tried to resist the GEASS order, so he thought that its power might have diminished. However, he reasons that it was probably to be expected since it was not an allowable thing for her. Hearing this, C.C.walks over and holds him in her arms, saying that they contracted, so only she will stand by him.
With the Zero’s forces growing to over tens of thousands strong as they approach Tokyo, the Britannian military officers are worried, but Guilford refuses to move without Cornelia’s orders. It seems that she has shut herself in Euphemia’s room, shocked at what happened, though it’s a quiet kind of shocked unlike Nina over at Ashford Academy. Onboard the Black Knights’ commandeered command vessel, C.C. is talking to someone again even though she’s alone in the hallway. This time, she talks about how happy she is and how she had forgotten how to be kind. She then identifies the person she’s talking to: Marianne. Ougi is meanwhile on the phone with Villetta, but since he doesn’t know her real identity, he calls her Chigusa and tells her that he has something important to tell her when he gets home. She’s really happy because this is the first time he’s called her by that name, and she says that she’ll be waiting for him. However, a group of men then break down the door and accuse her of being a spy. At Ashford, Rivalz, Nunnally, and Shirley are listening to the news broadcast, and it causes Nunnally to wonder if this place will become a battlefield too. Rivalz tries to reassure her by saying that Cornelia’s forces are here and then changes the subject to how Lelouch hasn’t come back yet. Shirley is surprised to hear that name, and Rivalz uses the chance to tell her to call him Lelou and to reconcile with him. Shirley, however, didn’t realize that she called Lelouch by that name. Milly has actually gone to tell Nina to come back to the school because the rebels are approaching Tokyo. Saying that she knows Zero is coming, Nina continues working on the Ganymede from the festival and vows to avenge Euphemia.
As he keeps vigil over Euphemia’s body onboard the Avalon, Suzaku questions why she did those things. Suddenly, a voice volunteers to tell him why, and Suzaku turns around to find a young, long-haired boy standing behind him. This boy knows who Suzaku is and identifies himself as V.V. Down in the city below, Cornelia has finally got herself back together and is giving out orders again. Zero is at that moment telling his men that defeating Cornelia will win this for them. After ordering the army to stand by in accordance to the strategic plan, he leaves command of this vessel to Diethard. As he heads to exit the bridge, Zero runs into Kaguya, and she immediately starts talking about how glad she is to have made it in time. Kaguya explains that she’s been his fan ever since his debut, and she came so that she could see her husband fight. She feels that Zero will need a wife sooner or later if he wins this battle because he’ll need someone to compensate in the circumstance that he can’t show his face. Kaguya also thinks that he’ll win because she’s the goddess of victory. Zero, however, tells her that he’s already contracted to the devil – it’s already too late for him to get along with a god. Around this time, in General Bartley’s laboratory, Jeremiah’s capsule suddenly bursts from a rise in internal pressure. With his body half covered in metal, Jeremiah gets on his feet and greets everyone good morning.
Flying out in the Gawain, Zero introduces himself to the Britannia side and intends to start at midnight (which is less than 3 minutes away). C.C. tells him that they can still go back because as things stand, it won’t just be Area 11 – the entire world will get stained with Lelouch’s battle. Lelouch says that he understands and starts to explain, but he gets interrupted by his cell phone ringing. He is shocked to see that Euphemia is calling, but it turns out just to be Suzaku using her phone. Suzaku starts by asking if Lelouch is at school, and Lelouch truthfully replies that he’s not, though he says that he’ll be going back soon. The reason Suzaku is calling is because he doesn’t want Lelouch and the others to look up into the sky. He then asks if Lelouch has someone he hates so much that he wants to kill, and Lelouch admits that he does. Suzaku explains his feelings about how not fighting according to the rules amounts to just murder, but he admits to being controlled by hatred now. He is going to fight to try to kill someone, so he’s going to murder in the skies above Tokyo where everyone is. Knowing that Suzaku is filled with hatred because of Euphemia’s death, Lelouch tells him that it’s okay. Lelouch also admits that he’s already personally decided not to turn around, and Suzaku figures out that it’s for Nunnally’s sake. With midnight rapidly approaching, Lelouch tells Suzaku that they’re friends, and Suzaku confirms that they’ve always been friends since seven years ago. The two hang up the phone at almost exactly midnight, and at that very moment, the ground under the Tokyo settlement collapses.
Starting to laugh, Lelouch says that his hands are already dirty, so he doesn’t care if he has to face Suzaku. In fact, he welcomes it because they are friends. As the buildings of Tokyo are falling in front of him, Lelouch says that destruction is necessary before creation. He thinks that it’s okay to get rid of your heart if it gets in the way and feels that he can’t do anything but move forward now.
Well, I thought that this was probably one of, if not THE, best episode so far (I’ve probably said that before, but that’s how good this show keeps being). It’s that mix of action and near-constant twists and turns that kept me excited through the entire episode.
As expected, Euphemia died, and she was indeed killed by Lelouch as some of the spoilers had previously said. I actually half thought that she would suddenly try to choke Suzaku or something when he was at her bedside because he was Japanese, but it was instead a very touching scene since Suzaku let her die thinking that the Japanese were happy. I liked the song they played there, and I felt really sad when she died. They did a great job contrasting that scene with Zero’s speech and the crowd chanting.
Suzaku of course took her death rather hard, and V.V. (who is male if there were any doubts) appeared in the perfect moment to take advantage of him. It’s not clear what V.V. revealed to Suzaku, but I got the distinct feeling that Suzaku knew who Lelouch really was by the time he called Lelouch before the destruction in Tokyo began. There was something very creepy and cold about the way Suzaku asked if Lelouch was at school, and there’s also the fact that Suzaku chose to use Euphemia’s phone. The rest of the conversation didn’t quite seem to reflect Suzaku knowing, but maybe Suzaku just wasn’t letting on.
And then there’s the subject of C.C. communicating with Marianne. Theoretically, either Marianne is alive or C.C. and people like her can talk with the dead. The latter seems more plausible because, as many people have pointed out, the Emperor back in the very beginning of episode six mentioned that he had talked to Clovis even though Clovis was already dead by that point. That being said, I can only imagine how Lelouch would react if Marianne were indeed alive (or if he could just see her again in some way).
There’s a lot of miscellaneous character highlights this episode too, all of which will carry over to the next episodes. First, it seems pretty evident that Nina is going to try to join the battle in some way using a modified Ganymede to avenge Euphemia. The question is if she’s going to use her nuclear/Uranium-235 knowledge. She’s not very emotionally stable, so anything could happen. Then there’s Villetta, who it looks like is going to be the victim of an angry mob. I doubt she’s going to die, but this may lead to her getting her memory back in some way.
Kaguya meanwhile was almost sickingly cute. I say almost because I do like her character. I hadn’t realized how small she was until she was standing right next to Zero. She’s got to play a bigger role than just being the girl who wants to be Zero’s wife, but it’s unclear to me what that will be. And finally, there’s Jeremiah. He has now more or less been activated, so I expect to see him fairly soon. I assume he’ll return to the battlefield in some more-powerful-than-before form, but I also think that he’ll have to be involved with Villetta again somehow.
Now that episode 23 is over, the wait begins. The preview at the end of this episode wasn’t really a preview, but rather a notice that confirmed that episodes 24 and 25 won’t be airing until sometime during the summer. It was basically what had been revealed earlier on the MBS GEASS site. I’m looking forward to an epic conclusion and am hoping that episodes 24 and 25 don’t end in a huge cliffhanger for the second series. We’ll have to wait and find out…