Suzaku is surprised to hear that Zero is going to cooperate on the Special Administration Zone idea, and though he still feels that Zero is still accountable for his crimes, he has no choice but to accept this for now. Aboard the Black Knights submarine, the leaders are wondering what Zero is thinking by doing this, and he surprises them by questioning what they’ll do after all the fighting. Toudou thinks that Zero intends to change Britannia from within, but Zero simply responds by asking what it means to be Japanese. In the days that follow, Suzaku tells his friends at Ashford that he’s going to be absent from school because he’s going to be busy. When Shirley raises the topic of helping Kallen, Lelouch notes that friends and family are as important as world peace and suggests that Suzaku talk with Nunnally about it. This leads to Lelouch explaining to his friends how he had spoken with the new Governor-General on the night of the party, and that in turn makes Suzaku think about Lelouch’s memory because if Lelouch had his memory back, then Suzaku would want him to answer why he killed Euphemia. A short while later, an attempt is made on Suzaku’s life for being a traitor, and Suzaku survives thanks to the Geass order to live that still remains with him. This connects with what he was just thinking about because the same Lelouch that ordered him to live could have found a way around killing Euphemia.
During this time, Lelouch talks with Diethard who is currently in the Chinese Federation, and Diethard reveals that Sayoko is on her way. After Lelouch hangs up the phone, he vows to Rolo to protect the school and their daily lives, and Rolo feels that they share the same fate. Villetta then reports in to Lelouch, and since she still refers to him as Zero, he insists that she call him by his real name. Once she does, he asks her if she wants to see Ougi. Meanwhile, Schneizel and Kanon arrive at Britannia’s Dallas laboratory where Nina is working, and she reports that they’re in the middle of their experiment. Nina makes it a point to say that Schneizel helping her won’t be for naught, and she remembers how the nuclear weapon had failed to go off when she pressed the detonator back during the Black Rebellion. Despite the failures however, she is confident enough to ask Schneizel to wait a little longer. Schneizel understands that Nina did everything for Euphemia’s sake, and though Euphemia left an unhappy mark on history, he wants to believe in her. Back at Ashford, Suzaku is with Anya when he receives the paperwork to order the execution of the Eleven who tried to kill him. When Suzaku doesn’t immediately sign it, Anya does it for him and then wonders if he’s masochistic. She points out that he volunteered for Area 11 even though he knows that he’s hated here, and she thinks of Japan as the defendant’s seat where jealousy and hatred can kill him. Suzaku doesn’t mind because he knows that there was someone in the past – Euphemia – who understood him, and he still considers himself to originally have been a sinner.
The two are then called to a video conference with Zero, Lloyd, and Nunnally’s aide Miss Lohmeyer. Lloyd begins by asking if the current Zero is the same person as the previous one, so Zero asserts that the real Zero is not measured based on what’s inside, but rather by his actions. He then claims that he has a million people ready to be mobilized for the Special Administration Zone, but he has a condition for their participation: he wants the Britannians to let him go by exiling him. Suzaku and the others conclude that this means he intends to abandon the Black Knights in order to protect himself, and Miss Lohmeyer notes that the law says the Governor-General can order this. The others are open to the idea because they feel that the terrorists would break up if the leader runs away, but Suzaku has a hard time with the concept of letting a criminal go. Later that night, he meets Nunnally at the Fuji Mausoleum to tell her about the exile, and Nunnally acknowledges that she can’t forgive all of Zero’s crimes on her own responsibility. The two of them then place a candle in the nearby pool for Euphemia, and Suzaku notices that there’s already one in there for her. When he tells her about it, Nunnally is glad to hear that there’s someone else other than them who mourns Euphemia’s death.
The following day, a crowd of one million Elevens gather at a seaside site in the Shizuoka Ghetto. Zino knows that the crowds may riot if Zero betrays them, and he’s ready to purge them if they do, but he also understands that the military can’t make the first move. Li Xingke and his aide Zhou Xianglin are at this moment flying over the event, and though he tells her that he has to return to the Chinese Federation if the new Consul General is decided upon, he sees what’s currently going on as a good opportunity. He then coughs up a bit of blood, but he tells her not to worry because he only needs a little longer. Back on the ground, Nunnally gives a brief speech welcoming the Elevens before Miss Lohmeyer informs everyone that they will have their crimes reduced for participating. The Britannian side is, however, unable to forgive the leader who was behind Carares’ murder, so they’re exiling just Zero. This gets the crowd abuzz, and Zero then appears on the projection screens to thank the Britannians for this. Suzaku won’t settle for this though, and he gets on stage to demand that Zero appear in person. Zero instead asks Suzaku what it means to be Japanese and to be a nation, and Suzaku knows that it’s not just having the same language or land – it’s the heart. Zero agrees with this and asserts that having a heart rooted in culture means that the a person is Japanese wherever he lives.
Right as Suzaku questions what this has to do with Zero running away, all the Black Knight operatives in the crowd activate a smoke screen that covers all one million people. This puts the Britannian forces on alert, but Suzaku stops them from doing anything rash. When the smoke clears, Suzaku is shocked to see that every single person (and animal) in the crowd has donned a Zero costume and is even more shocked when Zero tells all of the other Zeros to accept their exiles as Nunnally had ordered. Miss Lohmeyer doesn’t think that it’s possible to move one million people, but she then gets word from the port authority and realizes that Zero intends to use the giant sea ice ship that the Chinese Federation had applied for. In order to find the real Zero, Villetta points her gun at a group of the Zeros to get them to take off their masks, but before a fight can break out, Ougi steps in and reminds everyone that they’re not here to fight. Though Villetta recognizes his voice, Ougi still claims that he’s Zero. Back on the main stage, Miss Lohmeyer decides that they should make an example of these million people if they’re going to lose them anyway, but Suzaku stops her and tries to get Zero to order everyone to remove their masks because he doesn’t want a lot of people to die again.
While Suzaku remains conflicted about what to do, Lelouch thinks to himself that Area 11 would be peaceful without the Black Knights, so Nunnally’s hands won’t have to be dirtied. Suzaku finally makes up his mind after getting flashbacks of Euphemia killing everyone and remembering that both she and Nunnally were going to forgive Zero. He thus lets the exile go forward and justifies it by saying that going back on their promise would cause their other citizens to stop believing them. This leads to an argument between him and Miss Lohmeyer that culminates in Suzaku trying to get Zero to promise to save everyone. Zero questions if Suzaku can save the Japanese who remain in Area 11, and when Suzaku says that this is the reason he became a soldier, Zero agrees to the promise. The real Zero then appears on the sea ice ship – taking off his mask and showing his real identity to Sayoko in the process – to tell everyone to head towards freedom, and this begins a mass exodus towards the ship. As part of this, Ougi bids Villetta farewell but still addresses her as Britannian because he’s pretending that he doesn’t know her. Watching from above, Lloyd comments on how no one will thank Suzaku for saving a million people, and Cecile suspects that Suzaku already knows this. Standing on the now empty stage, Suzaku realizes that this entire operation was centered around the belief that he couldn’t give the order to fire, and this means to him that Zero is someone who knows him well. On board the ship, Lelouch acknowledges to himself that he knows his worst enemy very well, but he nevertheless thanks Suzaku for this and hopes that Suzaku doesn’t forget the promise.
I guess this is what you’d call having your cake and eating it too. Theoretically, Zero not only has the freedom to do whatever he wants now, he can also reasonably expect that Nunnally and the remaining Japanese will be kept safe thanks to Suzaku. I’m sure some part of that won’t work out (especially since Suzaku won’t just sit around and since the Nunnally angle is probably too good to pass up in the long term), but for now I have to say that it was pretty cool seeing every person (and at least one dog) put on Zero garb for a very “I am Spartacus” type scene.
As for the Villetta and Ougi stuff this week, it was interesting in the sense that you can see Villetta being conflicted between her position and Ougi, but I was a little disappointed that the two only briefly acknowledged each other. Unless Villetta chases after the Black Knights, it would appear that that particular subplot will be out the spotlight for a while. The Nina moments on the other hand are more interesting because it shows that she’s working on another nuclear weapon and doesn’t want to disappoint Schneizel since he’s more or less convinced her that what she’s doing is for Euphemia’s sake and that he’s motivated by this as well. That means that Schneizel will likely get his hands on a nuke before all this is over, and who knows what he plans to do with that – maybe he’ll even make a power play for the throne.
The other thing I think is worth pointing out is that the Geass effect on Suzaku (the one to live) is still active. I suspect that there’s a pretty good chance that that’ll come into play again sometime in the future, or else they wouldn’t have reminded us of it so prominently here. It won’t happen next week though because, as I mentioned a few days ago, there’s no new episode on June 1st. The preview shows that there will instead be an Akiba special featuring comedian Arino Shinya, idol Natsukawa Jun, comedy duo Sandwichman, comedy duo America Zarigani, and new voice actress Miyake Hitomi (who is making her debut voicing a character named Meeya I. Hillmick that is supposedly going to be appearing in episode 12). I’d obviously rather see what was regularly scheduled, but I’m still curious about what’ll come out of this – it’ll probably be more interesting than just a recap episode in any case.