Three months before Setsuna’s return, the Celestial Being crew had conducted a matching test on the 00 Gundam’s Twin Drive System. It had started out well, but there was an instability that led to a drop in the drives’ synchronization. All of their tests of GN Drive combinations had ended similarly, so their only remaining hope was that the Exia’s GN Drive would work. Back in the present, Setsuna tells Lyle about how Neil was a Gundam Meister who had died. Lyle thinks that Setsuna wants him to take on his brother’s dying wish, but Setsuna casts it instead as a question of if Lyle wants to change the world like his brother. He had also passed along information that the Federation’s security bureau would be embarking on counter-insurgency operations against Katharon’s Europe base soon. Over at the Federation’s military headquarters, Kathy reports for duty with A-LAWS and learns that their targets are Katharon and the Gundams. She also meets Soma there and thinks that Sergei let her come, but Andrei interrupts to say that the orders of the higher-ups are absolute. Also in the room is Graham who observes from the people gathered there that their commander Katagiri is quick at dealing with things.
Up in space, Ian and Tieria are going over how simulations show that the Exia’s GN Drive should have a high synchronization rate with the 0 Gundam’s GN Drive, but they won’t know for sure without actual testing. Tieria notes that the 00 Gundam’s Twin Drive System will square the particle production amount once the two drives are synchronized. Since they are having trouble getting higher than 70% on the synchronization, Tieria suggests forcing a start with the Trans-Am system, but Ian knows that an overload would lead to self-destruction. Mileina and Lasse meanwhile bring Saji some food and a red Haro with access to their database. Saji is growing frustrated that he’s locked up, but Lasse makes him realize that A-LAWS sees him as a member of Katharon. When Saji then questions if Celestial Being is going to be doing military interventions again, Lasse denies it and explains that they’ll be hitting A-LAWS instead. Tens of thousands have already died because of A-LAWS, and all information about those incidents has been covered up. Saji thinks that fighting will lead to more innocent people getting hurt, but Lasse points out that not fighting will mean people dying. After being left alone, Saji researches the attack in Spain and finds out about the Gundam Thrones. More specifically, he learns about the pseudo-GN-Drives and how particles generated by these drives have the possibility of adverse effects on the human body. This reminds him of how the nurse at the Spanish hospital had told him that Louise’s left hand could not be regenerated because of a cell disorder possibly caused by the Gundam’s beam weaponry. He’s further confused by the fact that the red Haro starts saying that the Gundam Thrones were enemies.
Back down on Earth, Billy tries to stop Sumeragi from drinking so much in his apartment, and she decides to leave after two years there. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Setsuna at the door, and he shocks Billy by identifying Sumeragi as Celestial Being’s tactical forecaster. Setsuna takes Sumeragi from Billy’s apartment and up one of the orbital elevators, but she remains depressed and thinks that Aeolia’s plan is meaningless. In response to this, Setsuna declares that they’ll fight, and he feels that if it is their sins that have brought change to the world, then they can only atone for those sins by changing the world again. This doesn’t convince Sumeragi though and she still wants to escape from all this since she feels she’s not as strong as Setsuna. When they arrive at the orbital station, Setsuna introduces her to the new Meister Lyle Dylandy, though even Lyle calls himself Lockon Stratos now. Lyle had earlier contacted his Katharon comrades, and Klaus thinks the Celestial Being understands that the current Federation is headed towards despotism. Right around this same time, Marina gets taken into custody by some Federation officers.
Meanwhile, at Wang Liu Mei’s seaside villa, Hong Long questions why she spoke to a certain someone about Celestial Being and what their preparations these past four years have been for. Wang Liu Mei’s response is that it’d be meaningless if they can’t get over such a crisis, and she believes that only after fighting does the world change. The person she gave the information to was Ribbons, and he passes it along to A-LAWS’s Homer Katagiri. Information on where the Ptolemaios is located reaches the Federation cruiser that had sent mobile suits to attack the Lagrange 4 Colony Proud, and its commander Arthur Goodman decides to launch a surprise attack against Celestial Being. Despite Goodman sending out his entire complement of mobile suits, Louise isn’t one of the pilots who gets to go on this mission. Fortunately, the Ptolemaios is warned of the attack by Wang Liu Mei, so Tieria is ready with the Seravee. On the shuttle headed towards the Ptolemaios, Setsuna, Sumeragi, and Lyle are alerted to what’s going on as well, and, unable to sit idly, Sumeragi transmits a tactical plan. The Ptolemaios ends up starting the battle with a barrage of special missiles that take out a couple of the GN-XIIIs, and Tieria tries to hold off the rest.
Given the situation, Setsuna radios Ian to tell him to send out the 00 Gundam. Setsuna then gets out of the shuttle and heads right into the Ptolemiao’s left catapult where the 00 Gundam is waiting. Despite Ian’s objections, he decides to use the Trans-Am system right away, and although it activates, the particle fusion rate tops out at only 73%. It is not until Setsuna calls for the 00 to awaken that it does, and the amount of particles it releases is astounding. Once he’s out on the battlefield, Setsuna quickly takes out an Ahead and then a GN-XIII, and he finishes the battle by declaring that this is their Gundam. Having watched the battle from his lair, Ribbons is surprised to see this new GN Drive and harbors a renewed disgust towards Aeolia Schenberg. In the aftermath, the crew of the Ptolemaios welcomes back Setsuna and Sumeragi, and they’re then shocked by the appearance of Lockon. Tieria has to tell himself that this new Lockon is not the same person. Meanwhile, in his prison, Allelujah opens his eyes and utters the name Marie.
After having heard this song so much in the commercials, I can’t say I love the cut of it that they chose, but it’s still a good song. Not as good as Friends, but not bad either. There’s some very nice imagery too of all four pilots combined with flowers and references to their tragic pasts. Perhaps more importantly though, there seems to be several hints at what’s going to happen, including a Allelujah and Soma pairing, Lockon and someone (Feldt?), Saji and Louise, and more on Tieria’s past. There’s also the shot of Marina protecting children that reminds me of Lacus with those orphans in SEED Destiny, and that’s a comparison I’d rather not think about because it leads to Setsuna=Kira.
So, ignoring the fact that Lockon is technically a different person now, since Feldt is older, does that mean she can pursue a relationship with him? It’s not out of the realm of possibility and given her past attachment to Neil, it might even be probable that something would develop with Lyle. I’m a bit bothered though by the fact that the person embracing him in the ED has her body obscured. It makes me think that that person will die, and if it turns out to be Feldt, then that would be rather depressing.
Anyway, the focus this week was on Setsuna gathering Sumeragi and Lockon and then debuting the 00 Gundam. The 00 looked pretty cool while defeating some Aheads and GN-XIII, and although it seemed a tad overpowered, it’s still early, so the bad guys have time to develop new weapons to counter it. As I alluded to above when I was talking about the ED, I hope this generation of Gundams isn’t so supremely overpowered that I have to keep referencing the Strike Freedom like I did throughout GEASS R2. The first series certainly did a fairly good job of keeping things grounded, at least up until the Trans-Am system was introduced.
The other interesting thing out of this episode was that Wang Liu Mei is apparently playing both sides of the conflict in order to change the world. Something like that makes her at first seem like a bigger threat than Ribbons, but I’m not so sure it won’t backfire on her and Ribbons (or someone else) will get the upper hand again. I kind of wish they’d get away from the whole change-the-world theme though or at least the way they talk about it because it doesn’t feel like they’re breaking much new ground. The first series showed that just changing the world doesn’t necessarily create a sustainable peace, so they need a new approach or something.
For the time being, Celestial Being still needs one more person to complete the group of four Gundam Meisters, and it looks like that’ll be done next week when the guys go and rescue Allelujah. I wonder how much he’s changed now that he’s always got two eyes open. There’s also the fact that Billy doesn’t look too happy after Setsuna took Sumeragi away (and revealed who she was), and that could make for another interesting showdown if he pairs up with Graham/Masked Man again. The great thing about having a large established cast like this is that there are so many storylines that can be explored, and there’s a lot to look forward to.