As US and Soviet special forces attempt to recapture the Comms Center and HQ, Yui, Yuuya & Co. must execute a feint attack on the RLF’s TSF forces, led by Major Christopher piloting an advanced experimental Soviet model. Sandek intends to activate “Prafka” to sic the Scarlet Twins on the BETA before Red Shift is tripped. Leon and Sharon team up with Yuuya to take on the RLF’s TSFs. Back at HQ, Sharon is ignored by both Christopher and the RLF’s’ “Master”. She intends to send out a surrender order, but is killed by a subordinate. The remaining RLF fighters then kill off the UN command staff before taking their own lives. Only Dogulu and the UN Commander survive. Sandek activates Prafka, but Christopher activates something else that disrupts Cryska and Inia.
There’s a lot going on in what we thought would be the final episode. Now there’s apparently two more to go for a total of 26, not 24. That’s probably for the best, considering all the loose ends that still need tying up. The RLF may contain many fighters who truly care about refugees, but they were all being used by Major Christopher and whomever he answers to. It’s as if their whole raid was just a diversion so that he could get his hands on that badass Soviet TSF. When Zarner realizes their mission has failed and that causing Red Shift would be catastrophic, she puts her partisanship aside and tries to do the right thing…and is killed for it.
That’s a shame, because she was a much more interesting character than the one-dimensional Christopher, who doesn’t seem to care how much the world suffers for his own selfish goals. By attacking Inia and Cryska, he seems intent on allowing the BETA to reach the Red Shift line, which will trigger 2,000 50-megaton nukes and cast a radioactive pall over the last remaining breadbasket on earth. The question is, why? Does he just want to watch the world burn and laugh? Add to that the fact he was introduced to the show so late in the game and we know almost nothing about him, and we have ourselves a fairly dull villain who is sure to have his ass handed to him before the series is over. If and how that happens will determine if this ends well.
Rating: 6 (Good)
Kai confronts and lambastes Megumi for trying to bring Mei and others down. When Asami and Aiko tell Megumi that Yamato and Mei are going to spend their first night together, she tries to bribe them and fails. Her attempt to banish Momo from her circle of “friends” also backfires, and they all abandon her. She leaves the agency before her shoot and pigs out on junk food in the dark. Meanwhile, Yamato and Mei spend the day at Land. Their plans are sidetracked when they’re stuck with Nagi, but they stay at the hotel anyway, and settle for spooning. In the morning the modeling agency calls Yamato saying they can’t get ahold of Megumi.
We knew Megu-tan would be in for a world of pain following her abortive scheming last week, and indeed, the hammer of reckoning comes down hard on her. However, we didn’t expect that witnessing her comeuppance would result in us actually feeling sorry for her. Damn you, Sukitte Ii na yo! Why can’t she just be one-dimensionally evil like King Oberon! We kid. Basically, Megumi’s current situation is the result of going down the wrong road to happiness: making herself cute and beautiful, becoming a model, and using her fame and wealth to make friends. The thing is, none of this is making her remotely happy. After a particularly bad day in which everyone gives her a dressing-down at once, she decides she’s had it, retreating to her flat to gorge on chips of various kinds.
The episode does a great job balancing Megumi’s downfall with the rise of Yamato+Mei, one more thing Megumi isn’t happy about. The episode teases us with the possibility of the lovebirds spending their first night together, but their chance encounter with Nagi puts the kibosh on that right quick. But as contrived as that happenstance was, we didn’t really mind it that much. We just couldn’t see Yamato and Mei jumping into the sack so suddenly considering their mutual nervousness, and their decision to take it nice and slow is true to their characters. They probably could have come to that decision if they’d had the room to themselves, but Nagi just made it that much easier. What we fear, however, is Megumi and/or Yamato feeling guilty for Megumi’s meltdown.
Rating: 9 (Superior)