Facing Lelouch with her eyes open, Nunnally notes that it’s been eight years since she’s seen his face, and she calls it the face of a murderer. However, she thinks that she has the same look as him because she’s been the one firing the FLEIJA warheads, and she’s determined to stop him and refuses to hand over the key to the Damocles even if he uses Geass. Nunnally thinks that he is unfit to obtain the world and accuses him of trampling on people’s hearts, so Lelouch questions if she would have preferred to live a life of always having to hide in fear of assassination. He explains that he was doing it for the sake of her future, but Nunnally retorts that she never asked him for that and claims that she’d have been fine with just living with him. Lelouch counters by noting that reality is ruled by various people and that it’s necessary for them to fight.
Regardless, Nunnally considers the Geass power that distorts people’s hearts and tramples on their dignity to be despicable, and when Lelouch points out that the Damocles is the same in how it subjugates people, she surprises him by revealing that the Damocles is to become a symbol of hatred. For the sake of everyone being able to welcome the future, she intends for all of the hatred to be collected there. Realizing Nunnally’s goal, Lelouch decides to use his Geass power on her to force her to hand over the key. She tries to resist, but she soon falls victim to it. Kneeling down in front of her, Lelouch compliments her on how she’s living and acting on her own accord, and he tells her that he loves her as he takes the key. The Geass effect disappears soon after, and when Nunnally realizes what her brother did, she tries to chase after him, but she falls out of her chair and can only curse his name as he walks away.
Meanwhile, in the battle outside, Jeremiah’s Sutherland Sieg gets destroyed by Anya’s Mordred, but he uses the Sutherland unit to grab onto the Mordred and blow itself up. This damages the Mordred’s cockpit, allowing Jeremiah to jump onto it and peer inside at Anya. He wants her to remember his name – the name of the man who defeated her – but Anya knows that memories don’t mean anything for her. Hearing this leads to Jeremiah opening his Geass Canceler eye. Nearby, Kallen and Suzaku’s battle has gotten to the point where the Guren can’t use its radiation surge anymore and the Lancelot is out of shield energy. The two are forced to fight each other in close-quarters combat, and the battle ends only after Suzaku disables the Guren at the same moment that Kallen plunges the Guren’s arm into the Lancelot’s torso. The result is Kallen losing consciousness and Gino saving her while the Lancelot explodes.
In the ocean below, C.C. gets picked up by Kaguya and observes that Kaguya, despite only recently learning of Lelouch’s real face, understood a part of his true nature. Their conversation is interrupted by the detonation of another FLEIJA warhead in the skies above, but this time, it’s Lelouch who fired it. Declaring that Schneizel has surrendered to him and that the Damocles and the FLEIJA warheads are now his, Lelouch threatens everyone with FLEIJA’s power and forces them to obey him. Everything goes according to plan – despite Suzaku now being dead – with Lelouch succeeding in unifying the world, and two months later, he’s in Japan riding in a parade towards the executions of all who opposed him, including the Black Knight leaders and Schneizel. The common people are discontent with his tyrannical rule though, and Cornelia and Villetta are part of a resistance who are planning a strike. Before they can act, a man dressed as Zero suddenly appears in front of the parade, charges through all the guards, and goes straight for Lelouch.
Despite acting surprised, Lelouch smiles because he knows that this Zero is Suzaku in disguise. Some time ago, he had agreed to let Suzaku kill him once he got all of the world’s hate onto himself. The goal was an end to the chain of hatred. He had handed Zero’s mask to Suzaku because the identity of Zero was perfect for this due to the legend of Zero with the Black Knights and due to Schneizel serving Zero. Lelouch believed that this would allow the world to come together through talks rather than military might, and they could face the future. This was the Zero Requiem. Back then, the two had talked about how they knew that people hope for the future, and Lelouch commented on how wishes are similar to Geass in that both are requesting from someone else something that you can’t accomplish with your own power. He had also thought that Suzaku would become a hero by doing this because he’d be saving everyone from the enemy of the world.
As Suzaku now thrusts his sword into Lelouch, he can’t help but shed some tears. Slumping down, Lelouch quietly notes that the punishment for Suzaku is that he’ll be unable to live as himself anymore. He now has to wear that mask as an ally of justice and has to sacrifice his own happiness for world. Suzaku accepts this and pulls the sword out of Lelouch, allowing Lelouch to tumble down the platform towards where Nunnally is chained up. Touching his hand causes Nunnally to get a vision of the truth behind all this, and when she realizes what her brother is doing, she starts crying and declares that she loves him. Losing blood rapidly, Lelouch sees his life flash before his eyes, and his final words are about destroying and creating the world. Shortly after Lelouch closes his eyes, Cornelia appears with her men to declare him dead, and she gets all the prisoners freed. By now, Toudou has figured out who the masked person is, but Kallen insists that it’s just Zero, and the entire crowd starts cheering Zero’s name.
In the aftermath, everyone pursues his or her own path: Milly continues to be a TV reporter, Ougi is an important government official who meets with Zero and Nunnally, Villetta has married Ougi and is quite far along in her pregnancy, and Anya and Jeremiah are working as orange pickers. The matter of the Damocles is even settled by sending it towards the sun. Kallen returns to a normal life at Ashford Academy, and as if talking to Lelouch, she explains how much better the world has become. All the energy put into war is now being applied to hunger and poverty, and hatred was pushed onto Lelouch. Kallen surmises that it’s easier for people to understand a person with a name rather than a system called Damocles, and for that same reason she thinks that everyone is able to move forward without getting caught in the past. She acknowledges that there are still problems, but even so, she’s hopeful.
Meanwhile, in the countryside somewhere, C.C. is riding on a hay cart with her belongings. As she stares up at the sky, she notes that the power of the kings known as Geass makes people lonely, but – addressing Lelouch – she remarks that that wasn’t quite true.
My immediate reaction to this episode was something like disbelief or consternation because of how suddenly things ended. I probably shouldn’t be surprised though that the epilogue felt rushed, and it certainly didn’t help that they chose to use that ALI PROJECT song that I’m not a big fan of to close it all out instead of something better like Colors or Mosaic Kakera. Of course, I said “immediate reaction” because the more I thought about what happened, the more positive I felt about the conclusion. If you’ve been paying attention in the series and didn’t get lost in all of the complexities and plot twists (which even I acknowledge was a little overboard in R2), then you can build a case about Lelouch still being alive based on the Code he might have received. C.C. thus might have been talking directly with Lelouch at the end there instead of her talking with the dead or whatever. Taking that one step further, you could say that Lelouch would now be R.R., aka. R2, the title of the series.
On the other hand, Lelouch might just be dead – that’s the beauty of having a semi-open-ended finale. The ambiguity allows you to interpret what happened however you want. Incidentally, since I’ve spent all this time talking about Lelouch, I should mention that – given all he did – I thought that the burden of having to be Zero forever was a suitable fate for Suzaku. I also thought they did a good job with Lelouch’s death – it was a sad scene, much of it due to the Hitomi song Continued Story playing in the background. But anyway, my point is that for a series that looked at some points like it was going to end in a horrible jumbled mess, this turned out to be a fairly good way to conclude things. How much closure you get out of it depends on how you interpret Lelouch’s fate. And ultimately we’ll never know for sure if he’s alive or dead unless Sunrise makes another sequel with him in it – and I hope that they never do.
Final Thoughts: I think it’s fair to say that R2 is a strong series, but maybe not quite as good as the original. It felt like they were going one direction in the first series and then switched to a completely different direction for the sequel, and the latter just never matched up. But despite the ups and the downs, I still think of CODE GEASS as a really good show – it has some great characters, plenty of excitement and plot twists, and if nothing else, it’s been entertaining the entire way through. That’s more than I can say for a lot of shows. In any case, it’s a little sad to think that a series I’ve been following for so long is finally over, but fortunately the premiere of Gundam 00’s second series next weekend should bring something new to enjoy.