In the past, Rolo had assassinated many powerful figures using his Geass power, and when he was given his current role, he had accepted Lelouch as his older brother. As he now holds a gun to Lelouch’s head, Rolo reveals that he was instructed to kill Lelouch if Lelouch’s memories returned or if Zero was resurrected. To Rolo’s surprise, Lelouch points out a nearby clock and observes that it doesn’t match the internal count he’s been keeping since Rolo appeared. He then activates a security camera recording from a moment ago and watches as Rolo froze him in place, confirming his suspicions that it’s not actually time that Rolo stops – it’s the victim’s sensation of time. With this in mind, Lelouch tries to convince Rolo that killing him means that Rolo won’t be able to accomplish his mission of capturing C.C. He offers to bring C.C. out tomorrow and promises that he won’t lie to Rolo. Meanwhile, at the Chinese Consulate-General, Kallen is talking with C.C. about what’s going on since she already suspects that Zero had used his Geass on Gaohai. Li Xingke then enters the room alone and tells the two that Gaohai is scheduled to die. Under threat by Li Xingke, C.C. agrees to let it look like Gaohai died fighting them.
Having bought some time with regard to Rolo, Lelouch goes with Rivalz to the police station get Rivalz’s motorcycle back. While he’s doing this, he thinks about Rolo’s loyalties and what he should do about Toudou and the others’ impending execution. He realizes that even if he killed Rolo, the Secret Intelligence Agency would know that his memory is back, and that would mean bad things for Nunnally. Thus, until he can save Nunnally, he has to continue pretending to be a student. As for now, Lelouch has to come up with a plan that both saves the Black Knights and gets rid of Rolo. During this time, Rolo returns to the secret base underneath the school and overhears the members of the Secret Intelligence Agency protesting with Villetta about how he killed another one of them. When he hears them say that they feel that they can’t have a team with someone who kills allies, Rolo walks away thinking that the mission is what’s important, not the team. Back outside the Chinese Consulate-General, Guilford is telling his men that it’s fine if Zero doesn’t show up on the following day. He believes that if this Zero can’t produce miracles, then he won’t win the people’s support, though for Cornelia’s sake, Guilford personally still wants Zero to appear.
Inside the Chinese Consulate-General, Li Xingke confronts Gaohai about having recognized the United States of Japan without confirming it with the Forbidden City. When he finds out that Gaohai cares more about Zero than their young Empress, Li Xingke executes Gaohai as a traitor. The following day, Guilford’s forces, the media, some Japanese onlookers, and the captured Black Knights all are waiting for Zero to arrive. Before things can get going, Lelouch dresses us as a Britannian soldier and pretends to have secret instructions for one of the Glaston Knights who is in a sniper position on a nearby rooftop. At the same time, Rolo knocks out one of the Britannian pilots, secretly boards the yellow Vincent, and pilots it out to where Guilford’s main force is waiting. He privately vows to kill Lelouch if Lelouch doesn’t fulfill his promise. When it comes time for the execution and Zero still hasn’t appeared, Guilford announces to all the Japanese onlookers that the Zero that they believed in is a fraud that ran away from this fair match. Before his men can execute the prisoners though, Zero suddenly appears on his Burai.
Since Guilford wants to duel in their Knightmares, Zero gets him to agree to a 1-on-1 fight where they each have only one weapon. Guilford chooses his Gloucester’s Lance, and to everyone’s surprise, Zero chooses the large shield of a nearby police Knightmare. Before they start fighting though, he questions Guilford about what he’d do if there were an evil that justice cannot prevail over. Zero presents two options – tainting one’s hands with evil in order to defeat evil or yielding to the evil – but Guilford’s response is that his justice is under Cornelia. Zero’s own answer is that he’d become evil to crush the greater evil, and him broadcasting this to everyone triggers the Geass effect on the man in the Britannian floor elevator control room. This man proceeds to release the locks on the floor elevator, causing the platform that Guilford’s forces are standing on to rise up on one end and thus creating a steep incline. As all the Britannian Knightmares are losing their footing, Lelouch orders Kallen to enter the battle, and she leads her forces to rescue the prisoners. He then uses the shield from earlier as a snowboard in order to ride the incline like a wave, and his Burai flies past all of the Britannian forces, including Guilford’s Gloucester.
While the Black Knights ground forces are freeing their allies, Kallen takes out one of the Glaston Knights and earns the ire of the others. Unfortunately for them, they can’t shoot her because they’re now on the Chinese Federation’s extraterritorial zone. The one person who is now doing something is Rolo who is now chasing after Lelouch’s Burai in the Vincent. Realizing that Lelouch lied to him, Rolo blows off the left side of the Burai, but before he can do anything else, the Glaston Knight from the rooftop sniper position fires down at them. The bullet is headed straight for the Vincent, and since Rolo can’t use his Geass on a physical object like this, it looks like he’s going to take a direct hit. To Rolo’s surprise, Lelouch pilots his Burai into the line of fire and lets the bullet knock off the right side of the Burai. When Rolo wonders why Lelouch saved him, Lelouch says that it’s because Rolo is his little brother, even if those memories were planted. He claims that the time they spent together wasn’t a lie, and all this has a profound emotional effect on Rolo, especially when he remembers how Lelouch gave him the locket as a birthday present. That is why, when Guilford throws his Gloucester’s lance like a javelin, Rolo has the Vincent catch it in order to protect Lelouch. This causes Guilford to accuse the Vincent’s pilot of being a friend of Zero’s, and that throws Rolo into a lot of internal turmoil over what he’s doing.
Rolo’s phone then rings with a call from Lelouch who is patching in a call from Villetta. She had been watching what was happening from the secret base underneath Ashford and had thought that Rolo and Lelouch were out at a theater. Lelouch of course lies to Villetta, and Rolo keeps silent because he knows that he can’t let the Secret Intelligence Agency find out about this. Knowing that Rolo is listening, Lelouch tells Villetta that he won’t get Rolo involved with anything dangerous any more, and he claims that Rolo isn’t suited for a world filled with murderers. As for the rest of the battle, Li Xingke gets the Britannian forces to withdraw from Chinese territory, and in the aftermath, Ougi and the others are reunited with Kallen. They then turn their attention to the Vincent that Kallen still calls an enemy unit, but C.C. disagrees with that assessment because it had protected Zero. Since Rolo is still conflicted over what to do, Lelouch tells him that he belongs here instead of with Britannia. What Rolo doesn’t know is that Lelouch had earlier used his Geass on the rooftop Glaston Knight to get him to fire at the Knightmare chasing Zero. Lelouch had given strict orders to destroy that other Knightmare if Zero escaped and to just standby if Zero didn’t. Having now gotten Rolo onto his side, Lelouch relishes the thought of using him and then throwing him away like a tattered rag.
That night, Suzaku arrives at Ashford Academy.
After having watched this, I still can’t believe how Lelouch pulled off freeing his allies, converting Rolo to his side (not quite just yet but pretty close), and giving Guilford fits. Much of it was a combination of genius, good timing, luck, and a little redux from the Black Rebellion (and perhaps a bit of Eureka Seven with the way Lelouch’s Burai rode that shield like a snowboard). I think the moral here is that you don’t ever want to go up against him or trust him to keep his word, especially when he has time to plan things out. What I really liked seeing though was Lelouch treating Rolo like he would Nunnally in order to manipulate him. I had pointed out to a friend earlier this week the key line in first series (episode three) where Lelouch had promised that he wouldn’t lie to Nunnally. So you can imagine how cool it was to see him use the exact same line to Rolo in this episode. Rolo’s mistake was to not just shoot Lelouch in the head when he had the chance and go after C.C. on his own in some other way. It’ll probably be a decision that’ll cost Rolo his life, assuming that Lelouch ultimately succeeds in getting his way.
Of the other things that happened in this episode, it was interesting to see that Villetta still might have feelings for Ougi since she looked visibly relieved (even happy) after he was freed. With the shot from the OP of them together in mind, I’ve been waiting to see some signs the revival of this subplot, and this is as good as any. The question now is how the two meet again – I would guess a chance encounter. I also liked how the episode ends rather emphatically with Suzaku’s reappearance. What I don’t get is how exactly he and Lelouch are able to be in the same room together without trying to kill each other. Do they agree not to fight in school for the sake of their friends or something? Looks like we’ll find out next week, as well as see some more Zino and Anya.