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)
With RLF-controlled TSFs on the way with guided rounds, Yui takes Sendak’s advice to split their forces, leaving Yuuya behind alone to cover their retreat. Yuuya is surrounded, but bailed out by Inia in the Terminator. Yui, Cryska and the others return to Yuuya and Inia, and all the enemy TSFs are taken out. The last one, piloted by Mariem’s sister Gisele, self-destructs when Cui reaches for her weapon, but Cui ejects in time to survive. Meanwhile, after failing to sway Dogulu, Mariem broadcasts the RLF’s demands and actions taken, including releasing Laser-class Beta from the research lab to take out American bombers. She also publicly reveals the secret “Red Shift” plan, which would destroy the heart of Alaska to create a new defense line, abandoning the USSR and Eurasia.
This week Yui, Yuuya, and the test pilots prove they’re no slouches in real-deal combat, taking out all 24 TSFs the terrorists deployed. The group also proves that even when the head of an operation is cut off (the UN leadership, HQ, and even Lt. Dogulu are out of action this week), they can still cast aside their individual cultural or national prejudices to work as a cohesive combat team. The only problem is, the RLF are no longer the only threat on the field. They’ve released Beta, and if those Beta reach a certain line, a line of hydrogen bombs will nuke the shit out of Alaska, killing the entire cast of this series! But wait, there’s more! As Mariem Zarner states her intentions and demands to the world, the Major is commandeering a TSF with some modifications made to it.
This will probably ensure this major’s a wild card in the impending finale. It would seem his desire to rule over “supermen” (is he talking about Cryska and Inia?) trumps whatever humanitarian goals the RLF claims to have. And Dogulu said it best: being a trod-upon refugee who’s had a tough life still doesn’t give you the right to kill people. Mariem isn’t hearing it, and when she learns her sister was KIA, she decides to make revenge her leading motivator. Will Cui ever get that date with Yuuya, or will they be annihilated in a massive nuclear fireball? We doubt the ending will be that nihilistic. We wouldn’t even be surprised if next week isn’t actually the end of this story.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Yui and all four Argos pilots are able to make it back to the Argos hangar, along with Cryska and Cui. Yui orders the launch of all TSFs, lending Strike Eagles to Cryska and Yui and retrieving her own TSF. After picking up Sendak, she orders Stella and VG to head to anchorage to try to find help, while everyone else heads to the defensible urban combat training ground. Sendak suspects the Americans may be behind the terrorist attack. Back at the command center, Dahl is cornered by RLF fighters, including Mariem Zarner, a refugee he saved while in the Turkish Army.
The terrorists keep referring to “The Lord” as their one true commander, including the shadowy, red-haired fellow in a suit who’s in charge of the whole thing. Rogofsky mentions the “Christian Allegiance”, but they neither confirm or deny it. Regardless of their religious proclivities, they’re supremely well-organized force that has control of the command center and most of the UN base. Their one miscalculation was not pressing an attack on the test flights. Argos and Idar are able to get their units in the sky. Yui aims to disrupt whatever’s happening here in any way she can. While last week tore to pieces all the comfort and order of the base and left everyone scattered, quick and steady leadership by Yui gets everyone organized.
We like how much everyone has to improvise, using found weapons or in Cryska’s case, brute force to fight the RLF-controlled TSFs. It’s also pretty neat to see Cui and Cryska in Argos flight suits flying borrowed Argos TSFs – their various nations’ tensions will have to be put aside as long as they’re all at RLF’s mercy (the love polygon crap is also put aside, thankfully). Leon and the American Infinities remain a wild card, while RLF’s Mariem Zarner proves it’s a small world by bumping into the man who saved her and her sister Gisele. Will she sway Dahl to come to her side, or vice versa? However this pans out, it’s good to see the series in high gear again.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)