Unlike SAOII, A/Z has no episodes to spare, and so really brought it this week, throwing us into the decisive battle. Even then, it had to cut things short right in the middle, just when things were getting interesting. But despite the fact it left a lot on the table, this episode excelled on its own merits, heightening the peril and tension for the finale.
The win was truly strong with this one. You had Saazbaum launching the assault on UE HQ, half-destroying the hall where Asseylum made her televised address (which he had blocked), leading to the rather unexpected sight of Eddelrittuo at the wheel of a Humvee, speeding her highness to safety. I also didn’t expect Rayet to have a change of heart and cover them, but I liked the move.
Inaho continues to suggest totally insane shit with a straight face and calm voice—and Yuki even calls him out for it!—but it doesn’t mean he’s wrong, and Asseylum agrees to be used tactically now that shes been proven ineffective as a means of securing any kind of political solution. Asseylum, who last week said she believes Inaho is kind, still understands that this isn’t the time to be kind.
The multiple subterranean layers of UE HQ fall like dominoes before Saazbaum’s bunker-buster bombing, and it isn’t long at all before enemy assets are inside messing up the place. As this is pretty much the Terrans’ last stand, the time for half-measures and retreat is over: either Saazbaum will fall, or they will. Saazy himself takes out the Deucelion, but Magbaredge manages to ram it into the castle, enabling access. They’re down, but far from out.