As Norea watches the carnage unfold on earth, she gets even more worked up and filled with an unquenching thirst for vengeance. Guel and Kenanji head to the school for evidence of Shaddiq’s treachery, but Shaddiq already knows what he’s up to, and he and Grassley House intercept them. Finally, these two are facing off in mobile suits, but it’s no longer a school duel, nor a game.
Martin reports his progress to Secelia, but she and Rouji are more concerned with why Aerial is on Earth wreaking havoc. Martin, of course, has no idea. Earth House watches helplessly as what’s left of GUND-Arm’s reputation goes up in literal smoke. Lilique tells the others to shut the news feeds off and leave it to the president.
The Earth Housers are left wondering if they should just be good and go back to attending class, as Suletta is doing. That said, she’s not paying much attention, as she’s understandably preoccupied with just what the heck is going on with Miorine. Petra offers Suletta her notes as further thanks for saving Lauda. When Suletta asks if Petra is in love with him, she bristles, but doesn’t deny it (obviously).
When Cathedra, Dominicus, and Guel in his Darilbalde are barred from reaching the school by Shaddiq and his fellow Grassleyans, it doesn’t take long for Guel to play the only hand he has and accuse Shaddiq without evidence. But Shaddiq doesn’t care what Guel hurls his way if he doesn’t have hard evidence. That evidence is about to be moved, as Henao is overseeing Sarius’ relocation while Shaddiq buys time.
However, Kenanji and Dominicus manage to slip through and land within the school environment. That’s when the door to the holding area is unlocked and Norea heads out like a revenge-fueld missile. Elan tries to stop her, first from leaving their quarters and then from entering the cockpit of her Gundam, but fails on both accounts.
Norea won’t be denied. But while she has her singleminded mission to take as much away from the wretched Spacians as they took away from her, Nika is also suddenly free, and her look of determination indicates she’ll be making a beeline for Earth House.
I knew Norea would be one of the series’ most volatile wild cards, and she goes absolutely feral on the totally undefended Asticassia. She blasts and blows up buildings, vehicles, and people without any rhyme or reason. She simply wants to let it all burn. In the process, she ends up blowing up her fellow Earthians hangar.
Petra leads a stunned Suletta through the increasingly distressing amounts of wreckage and carnage, and each of them carry an injured classmate on their backs when Norea fires on their location and they’re both obscured by smoke, dust, and debris. Considering Petra’s quite blatant death flags earlier about making Lauda take her out to lunch and dinner, I didn’t feel good about her chances.
Meanwhile, Lauda listens in as Guel and Shaddiq battle both with words and souped-up mobile suits, and then the inevitable happens: Shaddiq lets slip that it was Guel who killed their father. Lauda had been a loyal and trusty younger brother to this point but that’s probably over now.
There’s no more damning sign that Things Will Never Be the Same as watching a Front security mobile suit crush what looks like Miorine’s greenhouse. And while the camera doesn’t linger on any crushed tomatoes, it doesn’t have to use symbolism; students are being crushed and killed.
At first, Felsi’s campus-calibrated mobile suit is the only thing standing between Norea’s rampage and utter destruction of the school, but then Secelia, Rouji, and Martin arrive at Earth House (that’s right, Secelia is running in this episode) and offers Chuchu (the only pilot around) her prototype mobile suit.
The suit still needs to be calibrated for Chuchu, so who should show up right on time to do just that but a contrite Nika, ready to help. Apologies and forgiveness are put on hold—everyone has work to do. That said, Chuchu tells Nika to tell her everything “from A to Z”, otherwise she won’t know what she’s forgiving her for.
As Shaddiq and Guel continue to duel in space, Shaddiq condemns Guel for getting Miorine’s hands dirty, and he and his Grassley comrades tell him a boy who grew up with a silver spoon knows nothing of the struggles they’ve faced, and the choice they’ve made as a group of orphans to break the “unjust peace” that’s been forged by taking the power from the Spacians.
Henao needs just five minutes to get Sarius safely to the rendezvous point with the Assembly League…but she doesn’t get it. Guel defeats both Sabina and Shaddiq, telling them if all they do is take, they’ll never gain anything, which I thought was a great line. While Guel technically wins the battle against Shaddiq, it comes at the cost of his mobile suit…and very possibly Lauda’s loyalty as well.
Elan sorties in Sophie’s suit to try to stop Norea one more time…and he actually succeeds, tenderly taking her suit’s hand into his and promising that he’ll stay by her side come what may. If she’s scared of dying, of the things in her sketchbook, he’ll help her find a way to live, because they’re both allowed to live.
Unfortunately, Elan stopped Norea far too late. The damage she did had been done, the people she killed aren’t coming back, and under such circumstances, the security forces are shooting to kill. Just as she tells Elan to tell her his real name later, her suit is shot through the core and she is obliterated in the explosion.
Norea isn’t the only major loss this week. Petra doesn’t survive either. She died having saved Suletta when she was a deer in the headlights after the attack, and in the process of trying to save the student on her back. May both Norea and Petra find the peace she couldn’t find in life.
In the aftermath, there are rows of dozens of dead Asticassia students. Chuchu slams her fist on her cockpit display, bitterly wishing she could have done more. But both she and Felsi definitely saved an even greater number from being added to Norea’s butcher’s bill.
That night, as security drones hover over the ruined school, the members of Earth House and Nika are reunited with Suletta. But before Nika can say anything to her, Suletta interrupts. Her hands are covered in cuts and bruises as she scratches and heaves and moves the mass of stone and metal rubble before her.
She simply asks that everyone help her. There are still students trapped under this debris, and some of them may not be beyond help. It’s only a glimmer of hope in an episode called “The End of Hope”, but it’s an important one. Suletta’s meager request galvanizes Earth House not to worry about what they did or couldn’t do, but focus on what they can in the here and now.
More importantly, no one is telling Suletta to do what she’s doing, and she’s doing what she feels she needs to do. It’s another first for her, and even if it wasn’t on her wish list, both that and more firsts like it will be essential in the days and weeks to come.