Though Lelouch is frustrated that Gino and Anya have become part of the student council, he’s even more shocked to find out about the kiss with Shirley. Sayoko had also taken seriously his instructions to manage his personal relationships and has filled his schedule with dates and promises to go out with other girls. Lelouch has no choice but to follow this schedule, from dates with girls in the morning to attending a Black Knights trade agreement ceremony in Shanghai in the afternoon to more dates at night. When he arrives back at Ashford for what’s supposed to be a rendezvous with Shirley, Lelouch tries to sneak past her and gets confronted instead by Anya who wants to know if the picture she has of him when he was young is really him. Lelouch claims that it’s a case of mistaken identity, but before he can say any more, he’s found by both Gino and by a large group of girls. In trying to run away from them, he bumps into a furious Shirley, and he’s saved from her wrath only after Milly suddenly appears to announce that she’s decided to hold a Cupid’s Day for her graduation event. On that day, everyone will wear special hats, and when a girl takes a boy’s hat and puts it own, the two will be forced to become lovers by Milly’s decree.
Meanwhile, at the Britannia imperial capital of Pendragon, the Knight of One Bismark tells Schneizel, Odysseus, Guinevere, and Carine about the Emperor agreeing to the declaration of war on the Chinese Federation. Carine is all for this, and Guinevere suggests that it’s all because it’s unforgivable for Odysseus to be humiliated like that even though Odysseus himself doesn’t mind and is concerned more about the continued war with the EU and peace in Area 11. When Carine doesn’t care about what happens with Nunnally, Odysseus scolds her about getting along since the two girls are similar in age. Guinevere feels that if Cornelia were alive and well, then this would be easily settled, but they haven’t heard anything about her. In her place, Schneizel steps up and takes command, and he feels that hostilities are unneeded because of the bad situation the Chinese Federation is currently in. With just a show of force and negotiations, he thinks that they can obtain half of the territory. Bismark personally views war as no more than a means of diplomacy, except more inefficient, and when he later reports this to the Emperor, the Emperor agrees, saying that it’s something fools do.
Back in Area 11, Gino tries to convince Suzaku to come to Milly’s graduation event, and though Suzaku wants to, he’s aiding the Governor General and has to attend a meeting. To Suzaku’s surprise, Guilford advises him to call Milly later, and Lloyd then changes the subject to the topic at hand – the Guren. The pilot of the Guren is at that moment locked up in a prison, and she’s shocked when Nunnally suddenly shows up to see her. Lelouch meanwhile decides that Cupid’s Day is an event that’ll let him settle things with all the girls in one go. He wants Villetta to take his hat, but Villetta thinks that this is just inviting people to misunderstand, and she suggests Shirley instead. Lelouch, however, doesn’t want to get Shirley involved any further. Unfortunately for him, Milly chooses to make things interesting by announcing to the entire school that whoever brings her Lelouch’s hat will get their club budget increased ten-fold. Everyone thus makes a rush for Lelouch as soon as the even starts, and he luckily has Rolo watching his back – Rolo activates his Geass power briefly over the entire school in order to help hide Lelouch.
While all this has been going on, Cornelia has been single-handedly assaulting the secret desert location where Bartley is. She jumps him right as he and his men are discussing how they might become part of the worst crime in history if their hypothesis is correct. To Cornelia’s surprise, Bartley reveals that the Emperor sent him here, and he thinks that the world is on a path of destruction with the way things are going. Back at Ashford, Lelouch safely makes his way to the library, and based on his observations, he’s no longer worried about the intentions of Gino and Anya. After he’s forced to use his Geass power on one girl who manages to take his hat, Lelouch switches places with the disguised Sayoko, and she enters the fray against everyone chasing him. Sayoko proves adept at avoiding them, especially with Lelouch directing her versus Milly directs everyone else, but things quickly get out of hand. Anya even boards the Mordred to find Lelouch, and her doing so alerts Suzaku and the authorities at Britannian headquarters who have no idea what’s really going on. This also prompts Lelouch to accelerate his plans, and so he directs Sayoko to meet him back at the library. She can’t make it to the secret entrance though because Shirley is nearby, and to complicate things further, the Mordred crashes through the library wall right as Lelouch emerges from the secret elevator. Seeing that the Mordred is reaching for Shirley, Lelouch grabs her and falls with her down the nearby set of stairs. Villetta meanwhile manages to get Anya off their back by asserting that this is the Secret Intelligence Agency’s theater of operations.
Since she now has a moment alone with him, Shirley asks Lelouch why she kissed him and calls him a liar when he claims that it was because he likes her. Without thinking, Lelouch insists that he is serious, but he has a hard time coming up with a reason, so Shirley teases him with the idea of doing more than just a kiss with her. Lelouch saying that they can’t causes Shirley to realize that the old Lelouch is back, and that relieves her because she had felt that he hadn’t been himself recently. She agrees to forgive him, but in exchange, she wants him to close his eyes. Instead of kissing him though, she pulls on his cheeks and exchanges their hats, saying that she’ll make him fall in love with her someday. The two then emerge from the library wearing each others hats, and when Milly sees them, she thinks that Lelouch finally understands. She had gotten tired of the lack of progress in their relationship, so this was all for them. Shirley ends up thanking Milly, and this sets off a wave of appreciation from the entire student body. Even Suzaku – who had responded to what he thought was an emergency – lands the Lancelot and congratulates her on graduating. In the aftermath, Milly takes a job as a TV weather-woman and cancels her engagement with Lloyd. She wants Nina to see her in particular because she feels that she’s being more sincere to herself now.
Sometime later, Shirley is walking through the streets of the city when she is suddenly stopped in her tracks by a blue wave. It originated from the eye on the mask on Jeremiah’s face, and V.V. calls it the destroyer of all Geass – the Geass Canceller. Its effect causes Shirley to suddenly remember everything she had forgotten, including the fact that Lelouch is the Zero that killed her father.
For a show that’s normally fairly serious, this episode actually ended up being pretty funny with all the galloping horses and everyone overreacting to the Mordred. That alone wasn’t enough for me to say that having another Ashford-focused episode was worth it though, and given that we’re now about halfway through the series, I still think they would have been better off advancing the main story instead of the Shirley and Milly subplots. That statement of course hinges on the assumption that Lelouch and Shirley’s relationship won’t have a major impact on the main story, and it’s very possible that it could.
In any case, the main story did move forward a bit with the scenes of Bismark and the royals, Kallen being paid a visit by Nunnally, and Cornelia’s reappearance. Cornelia is especially interesting because it feels like she’s gone rogue, and given her new image (she looks a lot better with that hairstyle and without the purple lipstick), I think that there’s a possibility that she could ally with Zero or at least become a protagonist instead of an antagonist. What Bartley said about the path of destruction and being part of the worst crime in history is also notable in the ominous sort of way, though it remains to be seen what he actually meant.
The end-of-episode cliffhanger this week was another good one, this time involving with Jeremiah’s new ability and Shirley’s regained memories. The Geass Canceller raises a lot of questions about how it works and how it interacts with the rules of Lelouch’s Geass. Specifically, if it can get rid of the Geass effect in Shirley, then does that mean that Lelouch can re-Geass her now? And since V.V. says that it can destroy all Geass, then does that mean that it can take away Lelouch’s power permanently? I also get the distinct feeling that Jeremiah could end up being something like a Mao character. It was around this time that Mao showed up in the first series, and Mao was involved with the Shirley side-plot just like Jeremiah is now, so I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to compare the two, especially if Jeremiah remains an annoyance rather than a serious threat. The preview for next week seems to imply that Jeremiah will lose yet again, but who knows what else can happen, especially now that Shirley’s memories are back in play.