In the aftermath of the incident at the Sword of Akasha, the Emperor goes missing. Nunnally and her officials are privy to this information, but they worry about what would happen if word of it got out. Miss Romeyer makes it a point to put responsibility for dealing with this on Nunnally since she’s the Governor-General, but Gino sees what she’s doing and calls her out on it. Thinking to himself, Suzaku notes that the absence of the Emperor means that Nunnally’s life isn’t in danger. He then visits Kallen to apologize to her, but she’s really pissed off and beats him up. Once she’s done hitting him, she claims that she’s ready for him to kill her now, and when Suzaku refuses because he’s the one who was wrong, she says that she hates him. Lelouch meanwhile deduces that – based on Britannia’s movements – the Emperor is absent, and though he worries about what the Emperor had said, he’s happy that Nunnally is safe. For the time being, he has to deal with C.C. who thinks she’s a slave girl and Cornelia who questions what he wants by using his Geass power. Lelouch’s answer to Cornelia is simply that he wants to save his little sister. Elsewhere on the Ikaruga, Asahina asks one of the soldiers about the previous operation, but Rolo butts in to say that it’s a secret. Rolo goes on to assert that individual value in the Black Knights is based on how much a person has gained Zero’s trust, and hearing that doesn’t make Asahina very happy.
Sometime later, Zero holds a conference to declare the birth of a union of nations large enough to rival the Britannian Empire: the United Federation of Nations. Since several exiled governments from colonized areas have committed to joining, Diethard thinks that they now have justification for a war of liberation. Xingke suggests that if they can succeed in their upcoming operation to recapture Japan, then the other powers who have been waiting will start joining them in rapid succession. Once the meeting is over, Zero returns to his room and brings a pizza for C.C. to eat. She’s still afraid of him, but her hunger draws her to the pizza, and she starts scarfing it down. Back in Area 11, Anya captures Suzaku looking troubled on camera, and he explains that he’s feeling this way even though he decided on his way of life eight years ago. When Anya wonders if he believes in the person he was back then, Suzaku questions back if she’s implying that determination from the past is foolish. This causes her to assert that memories are unclear and are thus not worth believing in, and as an example, she reveals that she has a diary from nine years ago that she has no memory of. The fact that she has a lot of such differences between her memories and her data makes Suzaku think that the Emperor might have used his Geass power on her, but Suzaku doesn’t know why.
When a dagger suddenly comes flying towards him, Suzaku catches it with one hand and is met by the sight of the Knight of Ten, Luciano Brandley. Not holding back, Luciano immediately brings up the person he refers to as the massacre princess, and this almost causes Suzaku to challenge him to a duel for their honor. Before a fight can break out though, the Knight of One’s Galahad Knightmare Frame lands between them, and Bismarck stops the two. Because he knows that the Black Knights will attack, Bismarck has come here to Area 11 with the Valkyrie squadron and the Gareth Knightmare Frames, and they’re all under Schneizel’s command. Without Suzaku to pick on, Luciano decides instead to pay a visit to Kallen’s holding room where she’s currently chatting with Nunnally. Kallen recognizes Luciano as the Vampire of Britannia and thinks that he’s here to take her to Britannia, but Luciano reveals that she’ll stay here as a hostage. He knows, however, that the only thing needed for her to be a hostage is for her to stay alive, and so he plans to make use of her body. Fortunately for Kallen, Gino arrives on the scene and stops Luciano from doing anything by questioning his pride. Suzaku meanwhile learns that the Lancelot will be equipped with the Freya weapon that Nina developed, though Lloyd reveals that he had actually intended for Suzaku to use the Guren which he and Cecile have been tinkering with. Regardless, despite the fact that Suzaku would have to use the weapon against his own people, Nina specifically wants to entrust the Freya with him because he was Euphemia’s knight. In response to this, Lloyd warns Nina that this contradiction will kill not only Suzaku, but her as well.
By now, preparations are well underway on Penglai Island for the televised ratification ceremony of the United Federation of Nations Charter. One such preparation is Chiba Nagisa helping to put makeup on Toudou, and she uses the chance to confess that she has something to tell him after the fighting ends. This is uncomfortable for Toudou, and so when Ougi arrives late, Toudou uses the chance to go talk to him. As they watch the official ceremony begin on television in Area 11, the Knights of Round discuss how there will be a lack of coordination between the different countries’ forces, but Schneizel thinks that there is one thing the new federation can do. As Schneizel expects, Kaguya announces that each member country will give up their military forces forever, and in exchange, they’ll be protected by the Black Knights. Kaguya herself then brings forward the first motion: dispatch the Black Knights to get rid of the unjust occupiers of the United States of Japan. After all representatives present at the ceremony vote to approve this, Zero formally directs the Black Knights towards Japan. Unfortunately, right at this point, the Emperor hijacks the television broadcast. He admires how Zero has basically separated the world into Britannia and not-Britannia, meaning that the side that wins will obtain the world. The Emperor welcomes the challenge, and he thinks that having everything on the line is how conflict should be.
With the Emperor rallying his forces with chants of “All hail Britannia”, the Black Knights respond with their own banzai cheer. Amidst all this, Lelouch retreats to his own room to rethink his options now that the Emperor has reappeared because he’s worried about Nunnally. He’s frustrated because he doesn’t know what to do, and when C.C. tries to present him with a slice of pizza, he snaps and slaps her away. Seeing that she cut her hand on the broken shards of the plate, Lelouch immediately realizes what he did and tries to help her. C.C. claims that she’s fine, and based on her past experiences, she explains that being hurt on the outside is better than being hurt on the inside. This prompts Lelouch to ask her what she does when she’s hurt on the inside, and when C.C. suggests that having friends makes it better, Lelouch realizes what he has to do. After bandaging her finger, he phones Suzaku, and the two start by talking about the current events and how Area 11 will become a battlefield again. Suzaku quickly cuts to the chase by asking if Lelouch is Zero, and after Lelouch admits that he is, he asks Suzaku to save Nunnally. He knows that Suzaku won’t readily accept his request, but Lelouch has no one else to turn to and begs Suzaku to do it. Suzaku eventually agrees, but he has a condition: he wants to meet Lelouch alone at the Kururugi Shrine.
This episode has all the trappings of a set-up episode, which is another way of saying that there were a lot of little things touched on in advance of next week’s battle. For one, Chiba Nagisa saying that she has something to tell Toudou after all the fighting is over sounds to me like an indication that she’ll die before that happens – the proverbial death flag. Given all the plot twists in CODE GEASS though, I don’t put as much faith in that as I would in other cases. There’s also Lloyd suggesting that Nina will meet her end for insisting that Suzaku use the Lancelot, and while I think that Nina will indeed eventually die, Lloyd was probably just trying to make the point that using Euphemia’s knight for mass slaughter undermines the ideals that Nina holds for Euphemia.
That does, however, open up the question of if Suzaku would actually use such a weapon of mass destruction. He’s shown that he has a conscience (he certainly felt bad enough to let Kallen kick his ass), and I just don’t see how any event pushes him to use it. Perhaps he would have if he had it in the direct aftermath of Euphemia’s death, however he doesn’t have that kind of relationship with anyone anymore and isn’t going through such grief. I suspect that he’ll be stuck between his orders/duty and his conscience, and there’s no good way out of that. Perhaps the bigger question mark though is what Suzaku intends to do in his meeting with Lelouch, and the preview indicates that the topic of Euphemia will come up. Since Lelouch has now admitted that he’s Zero and appears to have realized the importance of friends, maybe he’ll also come clean about all the Geass effects and problems that Suzaku doesn’t know about, and that could lead to a better understanding between the two. Or perhaps I’m being too optimistic, and the two will just yell at each other before facing off in battle.
The biggest omission this week was about what ended up happening between Villetta and Ougi. Since Ougi appears to be fine (and that’s not Sayoko in disguise since she’s with Rolo), Villetta probably got hurt, and I can imagine a scenario where she lost her memories and/or he’s hiding her again. The problem is that with everyone thing else that’s about to happen, the writers may not return to that subplot for a while. As for the others, I found it interesting that Jeremiah called up Guilford. It was probably to tell Guilford that Cornelia is back, and that may effect what Guilford does in the upcoming battle. Speaking of Jeremiah, a friend pointed out to me that if Lelouch and Suzaku ended up cooperating, they could try to use Jeremiah’s Geass Canceller on Anya and find out how her memories got changed. That could also happen sometime during the battle if Jeremiah and Anya’s Knightmare Frames cross paths. Regardless, assuming the Emperor is responsible, I would guess that Emperor did it because Anya has some connection with Marianne. I think of it as an example of how there’s always another layer to the CODE GEASS story, and this particular one might be integral to whatever other surprises lay in store concerning Marianne.