On Kaminejima, Suzaku wakes up to find himself with Anya and C.C., the former of whom reveals that she’s currently Marianne, the mother of Lelouch and Nunnally. Lelouch meanwhile is with his father inside place where the remains of the Sword of Akasha are, and he demands to know who killed his mother and why his father didn’t protect her. Charles finds it ironic that Lelouch would want the truth from others when Lelouch himself lied all the way there. Lelouch doesn’t try to deny it and instead paints lying as a natural thing that everyone does since they cannot walk around without personas. Charles disagrees, stating that personas disappear when lies are realized to be useless, and strife disappears as well as long as people understand each other. Lelouch sees this as a mere metaphysical theory, but Charles believes that it’ll become reality soon – that is the Ragnarok connection. Back in the cave on Kaminejima, C.C. describes the World of C to Suzaku as a collective unconsciousness, an assembly of hearts and memories, and a sea of metempsychosis. It is something that some people call “God”. C.C. goes on to explain to Suzaku that humans are masks worn by the collective unconsciousness, a window opened in the sea of hearts and memories. Their conversation is eventually interrupted by Marianne who needs C.C.’s help in order to go to where the Charles is, and Anya falls unconscious once Marianne leaves her body. Afterwards, C.C. tells Suzaku that they are similar in how they both want to die but cannot.
When Marianne appears before Lelouch, he is shocked and initially thinks that she’s an illusion, but she asserts that she’s real. With Marianne here, Charles finally decides to answer Lelouch’s question from earlier. He starts by explaining that he and V.V. were going through hell half a century ago when everyone was fighting and killing each other over the throne. Their mother was one such victim, and since Charles and V.V. hated the current world, they swore that they would create a world without lies. Marianne and C.C. agreed to that vow, but one night eight years ago, V.V. had called Marianne out because he thought that Charles had changed ever since he met her. V.V. felt that the two being happy in their understanding of each other was endangering the agreement he had with Charles, and that would leave V.V. by himself. He had then shot Marianne and had set up Nunnally as a witness, but what V.V. didn’t realize was that Anya was also in the room and had seen what happened. Marianne, however, had noticed the girl and had used her Geass power to hide herself inside Anya. There was still a way she could talk to C.C. though, and once C.C found out the truth, she left the religious organization to V.V. and disappeared. Charles meanwhile knew what happened, but when he talked with V.V. afterwards, he was lied to.
Lelouch can’t believe that his parents would place all the blame on V.V. who’s already dead, and he’s still sore about himself and Nunnally being sent to Japan as hostages. Charles claims that it was necessary in order to hide them from V.V., and he reveals that he also secretly moved Marianne’s corpse because as long as her body remained, it was possible for her to return to it. In order to protect everything, he rewrote Anya and Nunnally’s memories, and as proof that Nunnally wouldn’t ever get close to the truth, he made her unable to see. Marianne then explains that they realized that they couldn’t get 100% guarantee on their plan without C.C., and since she couldn’t persuade C.C., they had to make use of Lelouch. She and Charles believe that the success of the Ragnarok connection will cause such tragedies to disappear, and everyone can be their true selves. All this makes Lelouch realize that the war between Britannia and the Black Knight was in order to draw C.C. out, and he was merely a nuisance. It is at this moment that C.C. and Suzaku arrive in this world, and when Suzaku questions Charles about the world he’s trying to create, Charles claims that it’s the gentle world that Euphemia and Nunnally had wanted. And now that they’re all gathered, Charles is ready to go through with the plan and promises to grant C.C.’s wish afterwards.
Marianne is excited to see the sky around them shatter and turn into something much more mechanical looking because she believes that the Sword of Akasha will kill the gods. All they need now in order to start a new world is to combine the two engraved marks. Before that can happen though, Suzaku asks Lelouch why he tried to obtain the world. When Lelouch says that it was for Nunnally, Suzaku calls that an excuse and makes Lelouch admit that he fought for everything he wanted to protect. Suzaku suggests that he has to do something if he wants results, and Lelouch states that the means for that lead to the denial of something else. Turning to face Charles, Lelouch declares that he doesn’t approve of his father’s way of thinking. Lelouch feels that people don’t just lie just because of strife but also because they seek something. A world where everyone can be their true selves won’t change and is equivalent to a world of memories, and Lelouch doesn’t want that. When Marianne offers the possibility of reuniting with people who have died, Lelouch realizes that his parents believe that this is all a good thing. He thinks that them forcing their good intentions on others is no different from bad intentions, and the one thing clear to him right now is that his parents abandoned him and Nunnally.
Marianne tries to protest that this was to protect them, but Lelouch counters by questioning why they didn’t stop the war between Japan and Britannia. He believes that his parents gave priority to their plan and didn’t care about whether he and Nunnally was alive or dead, and he knows that the gentle world that his parents had talked about is gentle only to them, unlike the one Nunnally had hoped for which was gentle to other people. As for the fact that the Ragnarok connection has already begun, Lelouch takes off the contact lens hiding his Geass eye and declares himself Zero, the man of miracles. His Geass won’t work on his father, but Lelouch has figured out that there’s someone else here. He recalls that his father had said that the World of C was the will of mankind and that all people aren’t equal. When Charles states that the Power of the King cannot defeat the gods, Lelouch asserts that this isn’t about victory or defeat – it’s a wish. He asks the gods not to stop the progression of time and, as a Geass symbol appears in his other eye, he declares his desire for there to be a tomorrow. This succeeds in destroying the structure that was connected to Jupiter, and it has the added effect of causing Charles and Marianne to start to disappear.
Marianne doesn’t understand why C.C. isn’t disappearing as well since she had supported the plan, so C.C. apologizes and reveals that she had realized that Marianne and Charles were acting only for themselves. In response, Marianne tries to claim that it was for Nunnally and Lelouch’s as well, but Lelouch questions if his parents even knew the meaning of Nunnally’s smile. Since they don’t understand, Lelouch explains that Nunnally knew that there were things that she couldn’t do due to how she couldn’t see or walk, and her smile was that of gratitude. He goes on to accuse his parents of not seeing reality, and the thing that still angers him most is how they abandoned him and Nunnally. In one last desperate ploy, Charles grabs his son’s neck and warns Lelouch that what awaits is Schneizel’s world. Charles feels that good and bad intentions are both sides of the same card, but Lelouch doesn’t care about all this and denies his father’s world. His parents then disappear, and afterwards, Lelouch asks C.C. if she’s going as well. C.C. points out that he wanted her to be smiling when she died, and she questions Lelouch and Suzaku back about what they intend to do now that they’ve chosen to advance time instead of Charles and Marianne’s plan.
One month later, the Britannian royal family gathers for an internationally broadcast announcement from the Emperor. To everyone’s surprise, Lelouch appears instead and claims the throne, declaring himself the 99th Emperor of Britannia. They are happy to see him, but they think this is a joke, so Lelouch reveals that he killed his father. When Lelouch’s siblings try to have him removed, Suzaku jumps down from the ceiling and knocks away all the guards. Lelouch then introduces Suzaku as his new knight, the Knight of Zero, but since the royal family still doesn’t take him seriously, Lelouch uses his Geass to make them all acknowledge him. Meanwhile, in Cambodia, Schneizel is happy to hear that Lelouch has returned and thinks that this resolves all the current problems. He doesn’t care if Lelouch gets everything, including Britannia, because he knows that the big problem is still ahead.
Yikes, talk about making things unnecessarily complex and turning everything upside down – a friend even commented to me that it felt like the writers were trying their best to outdo Evangelion. I got a headache trying to make sense of some of this stuff, and it doesn’t help that they left much of it open to interpretation – things like how exactly the Sword of Akasha was going to slay the gods, how the new gentle world was going to make them all become one, how Lelouch used his Geass on the collective unconsciousness/Jupiter, and the list goes on. One of the things they did make clear was Charles’ motivation – wanting a world with no lies because he hated the current world due to all the death in his childhood – and I have to say that it felt rather juvenile and disappointing for someone of his stature. I thought it’d be more grandiose, but it really comes down to his childhood and how his mother was killed. Take that away, and I doubt any of this would have ever happened.
Along those same lines though, I wouldn’t say that Marianne and Charles are evil so much as misguided and a bit selfish. Lelouch detests them for abandoning him and Nunnally, but I have a hard time seeing them as the true villains of this series. Then again, unless Schneizel steps up or you count Lelouch himself, I doubt there will ever be any such villain. What bothers me is that this episode is likely all the backstory and explanation we’re ever going to get despite much of the series building to this point. And *poof*, just like that, it’s over and Lelouch is now Emperor. The pace of it all makes Marianne and Charles seem like mere plot devices used to give Lelouch the throne. Speaking of which, the thought occurred to me afterwards that this episode could have been the finale of R2, and Lelouch becoming emperor would have been a nice cliffhanger for a third series. Instead, the story continues, and there are four more episodes to wrap it all up. It’s probably not too late for a Mai-HiME style reset…