The guns have ceased, and the inhabitants of Isla are safe under the aegis of the Holy Deus ex Machina Empire. The Sky Clan even offers a truce that will give the Isla a clear course to The End of the Sky, provided they hand over one thing: Nina Viento, whom they regard as their messiah. There’s neither discussion about what they’ll actually do with her nor assurances they’ll keep their word, but that doesn’t matter to Claire, still in Amends Mode: if there’s a chance she can protect Isla by doing this, she’s doing it, period. For all we know, it’s what she was always meant to do.
It looks like a win-win deal for everyone, except, of course, our love birds, who only just learned one another’s identities and found that their love outweighed whatever hatred or guilt they had harbored in their hearts previously. To give them practically no time together after that and split them up again with all due haste, while given adequate explanation, still signifies a certain sadism on the part of the show’s writers. Sorry kids: politics and duty trump your quaint romance!
The last days before Claire is shipped off to the Sky Clan are really a flashback, preceded in the cold open by Kal leading the other pilots to their last sortie before reaching the aforementioned End of the Sky, clutching the pendant Claire gives him before they part ways. Their goodbye is pretty sad, but also optimistic. After floating the idea of flying off together (no dice, says Claire; that would be running from her duty), Kal pretty much accepts that she’s leaving. Claire insists to Kal what Ari insisted to Claire: that this isn’t goodbye, only “smell ya later.” We’ll believe that when we see it. Still, Kal and Claire’s promises to each other to do their duty and meet again is supported by Ignacio, who’s going along to continue guarding her.
One gets the feeling after seeing what he can do in the cockpit, Kal’s earned a smidgen of Ignacio’s esteem, to the point he challenges him to hold to his promise to Claire. We also see that Ari is kinda upset that Kal loves Claire, but resigns herself to reality, just as Kal and Claire do. Six months later, Isla reaches the End of the Sky, which it flies into and is destroyed, along with the setting up to this point. All that’s left is to do…er…whatever it is they were planning to do after Isla was gone. The show…hasn’t really explained that.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- In the cold open, Benji’s arm is no longer bandaged, but we’re assuming the different-color glove means he has some kind of prosthesis on, because he definitely lost a hand last week.
- Claire never got to meet the Empress of Levamme, who the representative said had a similar air about her as Claire.
- We honestly thought this was going to be the last episode of the show. That’s what we get for believing MAL’s episode count prior to this week. So we can’t help but think of next week as a bonus.
- Ari’s eyes are missing when her back is turned to Kal after jumping off the swing, a surefire indication she’s not okay with something.
- Along with Oreimo’s Kousaka Kirino and SAO’s Kirigaya Suguha, Ari is the third sister character vocied by Taketatsu Ayana who appears to have the hots for her brother (though Kal isn’t related by blood). It’s good to have a specialty!
- That being said, we’re in pretty uncharted territory with the couple broken up and Isla gone. Hopefully things won’t get too weird, random, and inexplicable in the finale.