After having been saved by Kallen, Lelouch wakes up back in his own room at Ashford and finds Rolo at his bedside. Rolo notes that Lelouch seemed to be having a nightmare and wonders if something happened yesterday, but Lelouch denies that anything had. When Lelouch asks if he had said anything, Rolo recalls how Lelouch had uttered Nunnally’s name while sleeping, however he tells none of this to Lelouch. Regardless, Lelouch spends the rest of the day thinking about how Zero is in the way of the world that Nunnally wishes for, and he knows that she’ll be safe with the Britannia forces and Suzaku. The other members of the student council are preparing for their class trip and notice that Lelouch isn’t looking very energetic, but their conversation is cut short by an announcement that the new Governor-General is about to make her inaugural speech. In it, Nunnally asks for everyone’s cooperation and announces her desire to rebuild the Japanese Special Administrative Region. In such a place, the Numbers and the Britannians would be treated equally, and the Elevens would once again be called Japanese. Nunnally acknowledges that the previous attempt ended poorly, but she feels that the goals for an equal and gentle world weren’t wrong, and she specifically addresses the Black Knights to ask for their participation. After the speech, Suzaku expresses his surprise to her over what she’s doing. When she wonders if what Euphemia tried to do was right, Suzaku asserts it wasn’t Euphemia who was wrong.
Lelouch had walked out partway through the speech and thinks to himself about how Zero isn’t needed anymore. While on the train, he gets a call from Kallen, but he doesn’t answer and instead throws his phone out the window. Meanwhile, on the Black Knights’ submarine, Ougi and Tamaki are discussing how no Japanese will participate in the Japanese Special Administrative Region because they still remember the massacre that happened last time. Tamaki favors fighting a decisive battle with Britannia, but Ougi points out that the only Knightmare they have currently is the Guren. Kaguya then comes by to ask why Zero isn’t around and reveals that she never got a single letter from him while she was in the Chinese Federation. When Tamaki suggests that Zero was being unfaithful, Kallen tries dismiss the idea, but Kaguya actually doesn’t mind and cites the proverb of how heroes like fooling around. This leads C.C. to comment on how Kaguya is older than she looks, and Kaguya goes over to thank C.C. for being there when she wasn’t. Kaguya then joins Kallen’s hand with C.C.’s and her own because all three of them support Zero, and she dubs them the three court ladies.
By nightfall, Lelouch is still riding around on a train, and after having caught up with him, Rolo uses his Geass power to get to the front of the train and activates video of Nunnally’s earlier speech. Seeing this video broadcast throughout the train shocks Lelouch into getting off at the next station, but he can’t avoid seeing Nunnally because her image is now plastered everywhere. He eventually runs into an alley where he finds a group of thugs led by a Britannian noble selling the drug Refrain. In his disgust towards them, Lelouch uses his Geass power to make them do random inane things like howling and push-ups, and he laughs crazily afterwards. Back on the submarine, C.C. is talking with Marianne about how she doesn’t care if Lelouch doesn’t return as long as he alive. She thinks that it’d be easy if it were just him quitting as Zero, but she also knows the way things are going will lead to the end of the Black Knights. The following day is the day of the class trip, but Lelouch doesn’t show up. Instead, he is at a construction site in the Shinjuku Redevelopment Zone about to inject himself with Refrain. Kallen finds him there, and whens he realizes what he has in his hands, she takes it away from him. She then tries to talk some sense into him, but Lelouch wants her to comfort him and leans in to kiss her. Kallen slaps him right before their lips meet and reminds him that he’s Zero, so he has the responsibility of showing them their dreams. She thus wants him to deceive until the very end and play his role as Zero.
Kallen ends up running off in tears, and though Lelouch thinks about going after her, he’s stopped by the appearance of Rolo. Rolo suggests that, with Zero, the Black Knights, and Nunnally being so painful, Zero should disappear. This would lead to peace in Area 11, and Lelouch could return to being just a student and be happy. Rolo then reassures Lelouch that he’ll always be there for him. Meanwhile, Nunnally is having a video-conference with the Emperor of Britannia. She tells him that her brother will see her in this position even though he’s missing right now, so she wants to make choices that aren’t shameful. By now, Kallen has returned to the Black Knights’ submarine and has Zero’s mask in her hands when C.C. walks into the room. C.C. notes that the mask is heavy and explains that wearer has to have the resolve to bear the burden of the entire world. Their conversation is interrupted when their ship is suddenly hailed by the Britannian navy – led by Suzaku – for not following the sea route that they originally reported. Suzaku decides to give them ten minutes to disarm and line up on the deck. During this time, Lelouch returns to the school with Rolo and sees fireworks being shot from one of the rooftops. He discovers that the people shooting off the fireworks are none other than Milly, Shirley, and Rivalz who had decided not to go on the trip without him. They feel that a trip is not about where you go, but who you go with.
Lelouch then notices that Shirley is holding a paper crane, so she explains that that it can fulfill wishes, though she can’t remember who she learned that from. When Lelouch asks her what she wished for, Shirley reveals that she wanted everyone here to launch fireworks together. This reminds Lelouch of his old friends and of how he had once talked with Suzaku and Nunnally – back when they were young – about what happiness would be like if it had a shape. Suzaku had said that it’d be like glass because it’s something that you usually don’t notice but is definitely there. Recalling how Nunnally was the one who had made paper cranes and had wished for a gentle world, Lelouch feels that they are close to that, even if it’s been dirtied by fake memories. All this thinking leads him to suggest to everyone that they launch fireworks again sometime, and he realizes that his fighting isn’t only for Nunnally anymore. He thus tracks down the Black Knight submarine which is now being attacked by Suzaku’s forces and starts giving them directions right as things are looking bad. really Lelouch has the submarine fire torpedoes timed to explode in 40 seconds at a spot where there are no enemies, and this notifies the Britannian forces of the submarine’s position. The torpedoes land in the dirt around a giant underwater tank of methane hydrate, and the ensuing explosion of bubbles capsizes the Britannian fleet.
With this done, Lelouch dons his Zero costume and has Rolo’s Vincent carry him out towards the Britannian forces. He stops Suzaku from immediately shooting him by saying that it’d go against the orders of their ruler, and he then announces that he’s accepting Nunnally’s offer. This surprises everyone, including the members of the Black Knights who think this is like surrendering, but Zero nonetheless orders everyone to take part in the Japanese Special Administrative Region.
Out of all the episodes so far, this is probably the one with the least amount of plot twists since it dealt almost entirely with Lelouch coming to terms with how Zero is in the way of Nunnally’s plans. Given the high bar that CODE GEASS has been setting week after week, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that more didn’t happen. For one, I kept thinking that Rolo might do something drastic against Lelouch after he heard Lelouch say Nunnally’s name in his sleep, but he actually acted fairly calmly in calling for Lelouch to be happy. Admittedly, he was also being manipulative in the way he said that he’d always be there for his brother, however I doubt that he gained any meaningful advantage from doing things that way because I don’t think Lelouch can be manipulated in the same way he manipulated Rolo. It’ll be interesting to see what eventually happens between the two of them, but for now, it wasn’t much.
Even the ending where Zero orders everyone in the Black Knights to participate in the Japanese Special Administrative Region wasn’t all that surprising given all that talk about happiness and a gentler world. Of course, it is unlikely that this turns out the same way as it did in the first series with Euphemia, but there’s still the sense of here-we-go-again that comes with it. And while I’m confident the writers have great things in store, I have a hard time at this point seeing how doing this changes the story in a significant way. If they achieve true peace, then that might as well be the end of the series. If something goes wrong, then the fight continues and there was little point to attempting the Japanese Special Administrative Region stuff again. If something goes wrong and Nunnally dies, then the fight continues and Lelouch is super-pissed-off. I’m sure there are scenarios I’m not considering – and that’s what I’m hoping for – but the more obvious ones don’t sound too great in relation to the overall plot. Regardless, the preview already hints that things won’t go according to plan and that the Chinese Federation might get involved, so despite how I feel about this episode, I’m still very curious to see what happens next.