Eight years ago, in the Kurdis Republic, Ali Al Sarshes had told a group of children that they were devoting themselves to God to participate in this holy war, and he directed them to kill their families. He had congratulated them afterwards on being accepted by God and on becoming warriors for this war. Back in the present, Setsuna recognizes Ali’s voice, and the movements of the enemy remind him of a time he had a knife-fight against him. Setsuna had lost that fight, and as the Exia now locks blades with the opposing mobile suit, he remembers how his mother had begged him to stop right before he shot her. This leads to Setsuna momentarily losing it and pushing the Exia to the point where its core lights up and it is able to cut through Ali’s blade. However, Setsuna then uses the light on the Exia’s head to indicate that he wants to get out of the cockpit. It surprises everyone, including the other Gundam pilots and Sumeragi, when Setsuna emerges, though Ali isn’t able to recognize Setsuna with his flight suit on and can only tell that he’s a kid.
Amused by this, Ali gets out of his cockpit too and takes off his helmet, in the process confirming his identity to Setsuna. Since he recognizes that face, Setsuna immediately draws his gun, but Ali is quick to pull his own out too, and the two almost shoot each other if not for a third party interfering with a rifle blast between them. That turns out to be courtesy of Lockon in the Dynames, and while he fails to actually hit Ali’s mobile suit, it does drive Ali off. Lockon then tries to question Setsuna about what just happened, but he gets cut off by Sumeragi who tells them to continue with the mission for now. Elsewhere on the battlefield, Tieria has the Virtue employ some compressed particles around himself as a sort of defensive shield while he powers up the GN Bazooka. The Kyrios meanwhile blasts more enemy aircraft out of the sky, and casualty reports are coming in to Moralia’s command headquarters. From what they know, the Gundams have succeeded in shooting down 32 mobile suits and have seriously damaged another 26, and that doesn’t include the 15 more that the AEU has lost. The Moralia commander is shocked to hear that they’ve lost over half their forces in two hours, and things for him get worse when he learns that the PMC intends to retreat now.
Over at the PMC headquarters, the leaders find out that they’ve lost sight of the Gundams and that they can’t communicate with Ali Al Sarshes because of the particle interference from the Gundams. At that moment, the Gundams are in a canyon headed for their next objective. While en route, Setsuna wonders why Ali is here and if he belongs to the PMC because he had nowhere to go. If that is the case, Setsuna questions where Ali’s God went. While Setsuna is thinking about this, Tieria opens a communication with him to warn that if he makes any more stupid moves on his own, then Tieria will shoot him in the back in order to protect the secret of the Gundam. Ali meanwhile returns to his group and is greeted with admiration from his subordinates because of how he was able to go toe-to-toe with the Gundam. He privately wonders who the enemy pilot was and if that pilot knew him, and although the Exia’s swordplay reminds him of his experience in the Kurdis Republic, he dismisses the idea because he feels he’s reading too much into it.
When the Gundams arrive at their next objective, Moralia headquarters, they quickly take care of all the defenders. The Moralia commander is dumbfounded over how his entire force was wiped out in five minutes, and he then receives a message from the country’s prime minister. The Gundam Meisters soon see a white signal flare indicating surrender, and thus ending their mission. Over at Wang Liu Mei’s place, Sumeragi comments on the unexpected happening during the mission, so Wang Liu Mei points out that the change went according to Veda’s calculations. Sumeragi admits that she didn’t want things to go like those calculations, though she doesn’t answer when Wang Liu Mei asks her why. Instead, she wonders if Wang Liu Mei knows how many victims resulted from this mission and cites 500 based on her own forecast. Wang Liu Mei questions if Sumeragi hadn’t joined Celestial Being with this understanding, so Sumeragi says that she did.
At the MSWAD base, Graham thinks that the AEU lost, but Billy isn’t so sure. Billy notes that although it’s painful for the AEU to lose 20 or more mobile suits, this gives them public support to pursue a military buildup. And because they had helped Moralia, the AEU’s relationship with the PMC will become closer too. Leif Eifman then comments on how, no matter what kind of flashy victories Celestial Being gets, its destiny is to be excluded from the world; he feels that Celestial Being is walking a path of ruin. A short while later, Saji and Louise are listening to a news report of how it only took five hours for Moralia to unconditionally surrender and watch some coverage on the civilian toll. The two are feeling conflicted because the same Celestial Being that caused this had also saved them. Back at the PMC Base, Ali Al Sarshes is getting questioned by a superior about why his was the only group that didn’t take any losses. He answers that it’s because their commander was excellent, and more importantly, he’s heard about some welcome news.
Having returned to their island hideout, Lockon punches Setsuna for almost revealing his identity. He questions why Setsuna exposed himself to the enemy, but Setsuna refuses to explain anything. Tieria doesn’t mind if Setsuna doesn’t want to say, however he points a gun at Setsuna for being a danger to them. Setsuna responds by pulling out his own gun and asserting that he won’t give up the Exia. To diffuse the situation, Allelujah points out that Veda selected them all, and thus there must be some reason Setsuna was chosen to be a Gundam Meister. Though Tieria lowers his gun, he wants Setsuna to show them that reason, so Setsuna says that his existence itself is the reason. Still at Wang Liu Mei’s place, Sumeragi gets an urgent call from Wang Liu Mei about terror attacks around the world. One of these attacks occurs right in front of Saji and Louise in Tokyo when a bus explodes, though the two of them are fortunately unhurt. On the island hideout, Ian Vasty informs the pilots of the seven coordinated terrorist attacks across the world.
According to Ian, the attacks occurred at transportation hubs and commercial areas, they were carried out with timed bombs, and at least 100 people are dead. The group then gets a call from Wang Liu Mei who wants to inform them about a message that was just released by the culprits. They want Celestial Being to cease its armed interventions, and as long as Celestial Being doesn’t disarm, the terrorists will respond with indiscriminate retribution. Wang Liu Mei doesn’t know what organization put out this message, but for now the Meisters are told to wait for orders where they are. Tieria, however, doesn’t feel that the threat of indiscriminate killings will stop their activities. He doesn’t care about the civilian toll because he thinks this kind of thing should have been forecasted in their plan. Lockon’s hostility towards this idea causes Tieria to question if Lockon hates terrorism that much, and Tieria suggests that people also see Celestial Being as fine terrorists. Setsuna then points that this organization created strife in the form of terrorism, and so they, as Celestial Being and Gundam Meisters, are going to intervene.
There was a lot less political stuff and more Gundam battles this week compared to last week, and combined with the Setsuna character development, I was pretty happy with the direction the episode was taking. I can see the traumatic event of killing his parents (even though he looked rather unforgiving as he was doing so) would shape how he’s a little unstable now, though there’s probably even more about him we don’t know yet. It also seems that the woman that Setsuna killed in his past (probably his mother) called him by his real name right before he shot her – something like Sora or Soran.
This episode also did quite a lot to expose the rift developing between the Gundam Meisters. Tieria shows how cold and calculating he is by basically saying that he’s okay with people being killed indiscriminately because of their actions. That plus the fact that Tieria both threatened to shoot Setsuna in the back and pulled a gun on Setsuna because he thinks Setsuna is dangerous – well, he isn’t exactly any points. Having said that, Tieria’s way of thinking is probably right if Celestial Being’s goal is only to stop war, and the means and consequences don’t matter. That kind of thinking can easily make him or the rest of the Celestial Being organization into the bad guys, and I imagine this will continue to be a theme/point of contention throughout the series.
As a side note, I think Saji and Louise are in the wrong place at the wrong time a bit too much. That’s going to get one of them killed someday. Anyway, next week looks to be the meeting of Setsuna and Marina, and if the OP and preview for next episode are any indicator, those two’s fates are deeply intertwined.