Haunted by the memories of how she shot Villetta and how Lelouch is Zero, Shirley wonders what’s real and what’s fake in regard to her friends’ identities. This prompts her to call Suzaku out for a meeting, but when she first sees him, she almost runs away until he stops her. By chance, the two then run into Lelouch who had been out making some preparations for a special train. Back at Ashford, Villetta finds Rolo alone and gets the chance to question why he betrayed them, but before he can really respond, the alarms inside the secret base go off. The reason is that Jeremiah has arrived on the school grounds looking for Lelouch and has attacked some of the guards. Sayoko tries to stop him, but she has a hard time hitting him because of his metallic body. Meanwhile, at the Geass ruins, Bartley is telling Cornelia that the people who brought him there want to kill the gods. Cornelia doesn’t believe that gods exist, and to her surprise, V.V. suddenly appears behind them and agrees that there aren’t any goddesses with wings or old men with beards. Cornelia reacts by tossing a knife at V.V.’s forehead because she doesn’t know what Geass he uses, however V.V. remains relatively unfazed and asserts that his kind swore to kill the gods who pit people against each other.
The fight back at Ashford between Sayoko and Jeremiah continues until Rolo arrives and uses his Geass. Unfortunately, Jeremiah counters with his Geass Canceller, knocks out Sayoko, and then forces Rolo onto the ground. What finally gets Jeremiah to leave is Villetta coming and telling him where Lelouch went, though Rolo isn’t happy that she wants Jeremiah to free her too. Afterwards however, Villetta tries to redeem herself in Rolo’s eyes by telling him to contact Lelouch and work with him to attack Jeremiah from two sides. At that moment, Shirley is with both Suzaku and Lelouch and is conflicted about what to say because she feels that she has to tell Suzaku about Lelouch being Zero. She starts second guessing herself though by wondering if Suzaku and Lelouch are actually accomplices, and she gets so afraid of them that she climbs onto the ledge of the building they’re on in order to get away from the two. When Shirley loses her footing and falls off the ledge, Lelouch manages to grab her arm, and Suzaku grabs Lelouch’s leg. Shirley at first wants Lelouch to let go, but he refuses because he doesn’t want to lose anyone else and convinces her to let them pull her back up.
Once the three are back safely on the rooftop, Shirley points out that what just happened is similar to what happened back when Lelouch and Suzaku tried to catch Arthur. This causes the two guys to start to speak like old friends about the incident, however Suzaku quickly stops himself from smiling because he remembers that Lelouch was the one who killed Euphemia. Lelouch then gets a phone call from Rolo informing him that Jeremiah is coming to kill him, but Lelouch has a hard time acting on this because Suzaku is around. Luckily for him, he’s able to remind Suzaku and Shirley that they were supposed to meet each other and not him, and Shirley then drags Suzaku off. With Shirley under Suzaku’s care, Lelouch sets up a trap for Jeremiah by using his Geass on some security guards, and this lets him observe Jeremiah employ the Geass Canceller to wipe away the Geass effect. Armed with this knowledge, Lelouch uses himself to lure Jeremiah to the train platform above. Meanwhile outside, Shirley declares that she likes Lelouch and asks if Suzaku hates him. When Suzaku claims that he had liked Lelouch until Lelouch had done some something unforgivable, Shirley responds by saying that nothing is unforgivable and that it’s just Suzaku who doesn’t want to forgive. Using herself as an example, Shirley reveals that she had forgiven Lelouch a long time ago.
Their conversation is interrupted by the sound of an explosion from inside the train station, and when Suzaku decides to take charge of the situation, he leaves Shirley in the care of the police. Worried about Lelouch, Shirley ends up running away from her escort and entering the building, picking up a gun from some fallen guards along the way. By now, Lelouch has lured Jeremiah to the special train he had prepared earlier and activates its Gefjun Disturbers. Since Jeremiah’s body uses Sakuradite, he stops dead in his tracks as Lelouch proceeds to explain that he intends to bring Tokyo to a standstill with this. Lelouch then demands to know the location of the group Jeremiah is working for, but Jeremiah feels that Lelouch should be the one who’s talking. Walking slowly forward despite the effect of the Gefjun Disturbers, Jeremiah questions why Lelouch plays the part of Zero and made enemies of both his motherland Britannia and his father. Lelouch surprise Jeremiah by revealing that it’s because he’s Lelouch Vi Britannia and because his father let his mother get killed, thus depriving Nunnally of her eyes and legs and depriving her and himself of their futures. Jeremiah already knew about this because he had been there as a guard on his first mission but had failed at protecting Marianne. He surprises Lelouch by suggesting that Lelouch had become Zero for Marianne’s sake, and this leads Lelouch to realize that Jeremiah isn’t here to kill him. After Jeremiah reveals that his master isn’t V.V. but was rather Marianne, Lelouch turns off the Gefjun Disturbers, rushes to Jeremiah’s side, and gets Jeremiah to confirm his loyalty isn’t over yet, which Jeremiah happily does.
Elsewhere in the train station, Shirley runs into Rolo and asks him if he likes Lelouch. Shirley wants to join Rolo in helping protect Lelouch and in recovering Lelouch’s happiness, but when she mentions Nunnally, Rolo activates his Geass power. A short while later, after sending Jeremiah off, Lelouch finds Shirley in a pool of blood with a wound above her stomach. She’s still conscious and is glad to see Lelouch at the end, and she stops him from calling for help. Instead, she talks about how she had been scared after regaining her memories because of how it felt like the entire world was watching her. She thinks that Lelouch was fighting all by himself, and amidst all the lies, she wanted to become his truth. Shirley couldn’t hate Lelouch despite what happened with her father, and even after he made her forget everything, she fell in love with him again. Seeing Shirley’s eyes start to close as she nears death, Lelouch activates his Geass to try to stop it, but Shirley just keeps saying that no matter how many times she’s reborn, she’ll fall in love with him again. Those are Shirley’s final words, and after her arm falls limp, Lelouch can do nothing but cry out from his loss.
ED: ????????? ? (Waga Routashi Aku no Hana) by ALI PROJECT
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Streaming
Both new songs are pretty good (though all ALI PROJECT songs sound the same to me), but what’s really exciting is all the new stuff shown in the OP. There’s so much to talk about with it – heck, I could fill an entire post just analyzing the OP – but some of the bigger things include how it looks like the story might be going to space after all, and the Lancelot and Guren are getting at least one more upgrade (Strike Freedom and Infinite Justice anyone?). Sayoko is also apparently going to become an Otome or something…
If there were a scene that made me yell in frustration, the ending here was it. It’s frustrating because Shirley didn’t die protecting Lelouch or standing up for what she believed in, she died because she just said the wrong thing in front of emotionally unstable Rolo. Any number of things could have gone differently (Suzaku not letting her out of his sight, Shirley not running into Rolo, Shirley not mentioning Nunnally), and she’s still be alive. And now that Shirley is dead, I can throw out all my theories about her playing a bigger part later in the story. In fact, in retrospect, I bet they showed her more in the past episodes just to get her closer to Lelouch so that the loss would be even more devastating to him. Shirley is the first of his Ashford friends to die, and since Lelouch has shown that he has feelings for her, losing her might only be a few steps removed from losing Nunnally. The question now is what kind of immediate impact her death will have – i.e. who does Lelouch blame? I also suspect that what she said about forgiveness to Suzaku might come into play again later.
What happened with Shirley heavily overshadowed what happened with Jeremiah, but Jeremiah is still important since it appears that there’s been a 180-degree turn in his character culminating in his joining Lelouch’s side. It’s not completely unprecedented given how he’s acted emotionally about the subject of Marianne before (see: Stage 4.33 – Picture Drama 05), but after all that he’s done to oppose Lelouch, it’s still pretty surprising. I’m wary of a ploy by V.V. or the Emperor, however since Jeremiah also didn’t kill Lelouch when he had the chance, he appears to be at least personally sincere. Given his past incompetence (and bad luck) though, it’ll be interesting to see what difference he can make, if any. From the preview for next week, it seems that he’ll lead Lelouch and the Black Knights to V.V., and V.V. looks like he might completely lose it.