Following a spectacular episode 3 that featured one of the series’s best characters, episode 4 switches the focus back to Suletta and her friends as they deal with the fallout of Norea and Sophie’s attack on Asticassia.
And there is simply a lot to unpack in this episode as it is filled with intriguing plot development and setups while giving us viewers the much-awaited reunion between two lovebirds.
A Brewing Storm
As expected, the recent Dawn of Fold massacre has changed everything. Asticassia is on lockdown, students are leaving, and Earthians are getting restless over the Spacians’ operations on Earth to hunt down the terrorists; a natural reaction to a bloody incident.
Tensions are rising, and the story is drifting ever closer toward more traditional Gundam territory of war. Unfortunately, with the kidnapping of Sarius, the Benerit Group is left leaderless.
It is time for a new President.
But who could be the candidates? There are six factions mentioned to be vying for supremacy, and Shaddiq is obviously one of them. As for the rest, there are really few players that are probable. Miorine is a given, and perhaps Lauda, who is still very much alive and well. With Guel’s return, that is a total of 4 candidates, leaving two more to fill the remaining spots.
However, it won’t be easy. The Space Assembly League, seemingly a mediator of sorts, is making their own move. Meanwhile, the Peil CEO’s also have their own sinister motives.
It won’t be an easy election. And from the way things are going, neither would it be peaceful.
Victims of Sins
Ever since the massacre on Asticassia, Nika has been receiving less screen time than before. And yet her brief appearance in this episode gives some intriguing insights on her character as well as Shaddiq’s group.
Despite her connection with the Dawn of Fold, it is still not clear how Nika knew them and why they sent her to Asticassia. One thing that is certain is that Nika genuinely wants peace, and she wants to bridge Spacians and Earthians without bloodshed. But this does pose a question: how?
Enter Sabina, Shaddiq’s right-hand girl and, interestingly enough, another Earthian. Given this reveal, it is safe to assume that the rest of Shaddiq’s group are Earthians as well. It would make sense why they follow Shaddiq and his schemes; his plans would benefit their planet.
And that’s why Sabina wants to recruit Nika, even if they have differing ideals. Of course, Nika refuses. But it is interesting how Sabina treats her well despite Nika’s betrayal, giving Sabina a distinct personality and making her not as one-dimensional as she initially appeared to be.
Meanwhile, Elan 5 continues to shape up as a dynamic character. Hacking into Aerial is no easy feat; in fact, as shown in this episode, hacking Aerial is virtually impossible considering who the Gundam is.
With the revelation that Eri is a mobile suit, it opens up a host of intriguing plot elements. For one, she can actually control her own body to a certain degree, evident during the battle with Sophie. But more than, she can eject people she doesn’t want, especially Enhanced Persons like Elan 5.
And the way she does it to him is just as terrifying as when she nearly killed Sophie. Elan 5’s pain feel very real, but what really makes this scene so disturbing is the fact that Eri can communicate in a voice that sounds mature, implying that she is still growing despite being nothing more than Permet particles.
Who is truly evil?
This show has presented that question really well, and it also answers that in true Gundam fashion: no one. Or at least, not in a sense that the antagonists do things just because they like to do evil things for the sake of it.
Case in point, Prospera. We can understand why she does the things we see, especially when it comes to Suletta. The trauma and tragedy she has suffered led her to become a vengeful woman, and for that we can sympathize with her to a degree, even if her methods are unethical. After all, it is now clear that Eri’s unfortunate death is not her doing, and out of grief and desperation, she puts her in Aerial and is trying to find a way to, apparently, bring Eri back.
But what makes Prospera an interesting antagonist is the fact that she knows she’s wrong, but to her it is the only way to achieve her goals. Her purpose is sincere enough. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t exactly be said of Belmeria.
Belmeria is a heavily flawed character. She’s kind and friendly, but behind that persona is a rather ambitious individual who would do everything just to survive and maybe make a name for herself. And as this episode reveals, she is the mastermind for the Neural Expansion Theory that the late Dr. Cardo refused to greenlight. In other words, the Enhanced Person project.
Of course, Peil Technologies found use for that project, and now Belmeria is living freely to do as she wishes. However, this does makes her a hypocrite; even though she cares for all Elans, it doesn’t excuse her from her immoral experiments and decisions to use her knowledge for material gain.
In a way, this makes Prospera look like a saint, and it is really interesting how the two of them has parallels and contrasts yet fits the term “Witches” quite perfectly.
While Asticassia in its entirety has been heavily affected by the Dawn of Fold’s attack, Earth House has suffered the worst after experiencing two of the attacks, only two weeks apart. But more than the psychological trauma that came with those harrowing events is a staple plot element in Gundam.
We know that Spacians and Earthians have hated each other for a long time, and Earth House is always bullied ever since the first season. But their constant triumphs have elevated them in the eyes of their peers, at least until Norea and Sophie’s rampage ruins their reputation and even got them suspended with all of their mobile suits confiscated.
And that comes to a peak here when the remaining Spacian students start harassing them, even going so far as to vandalize their workshop. The scene is filled with tension, though one particular highlight is when Martin, for the first time in the series, tries to protect his friends with confidence that he never had before. It is a great showcase of the development he is receiving, even if he is eventually injured by the standoff that follows.
Fortunately, Earth House’s real boss returns to save the day.
Ever since founding Gund-Arm Inc., Miorine has underwent an excellent development. She’s more responsible, less irritable, and friendlier toward others. The attack on Plant Quetta has only served to further improve her character, giving her an even more proactive role.
But more than her development is the change in her attitude as well as the way others interact with her. Initially viewing her as a spoiled and bossy girl, Miorine has finally earned the trust and gratitude of her employees-turned-friends, including the usually aggressive Chuchu. And for good reason; after all, Miorine has done so much for them despite being a Spacian. In turn, the Rembran heiress is sincerely treating them as her family, which is truly heartwarming to watch.
Of course, she doesn’t just return to resume her duties as President. Her duty as a bride must also take priority.
The reunion between Miorine and Suletta after their last time together is one of the most awaited scenes in the second season. After all, last season saw them affirming their love for each other only for that development to be ruined by the series’s most bloodiest scene yet.
We didn’t get a conclusion after that due to the sudden timeskip, though from Miorine’s reactions in earlier episodes, we know that she doesn’t hate Suletta. In fact, their connection is still there, albeit strained, evident when Suletta constantly sends her messages three times a day.
But the thing is, not getting a conclusion works just to make their reunion that much impactful. And now we get the heart-to-heart between these two lovebirds. We finally see Miorine apologizing to Suletta for saying awful words to her, and Suletta accepting that apology with a smile.
Of course, the rest of the conversation goes exactly as expected, and we finally realize just how much hold Prospera has on Suletta. The most disturbing part about this is the way our protagonist responds to the thought of killing: cheerful, nonchalant, and even happy.
One interesting detail the scene gives to the audiences is the symbolism using tomatoes. Miorine’s face reflected on a ripe one while Suletta is portrayed as a tomato that is still yellow, showing just how much growth she still needs.
In any case, it is clear that there is something wrong with Suletta, and it is frustrating to see Miorine trying to break into the spell that binds her groom, only to fail. Thankfully, Miorine is intelligent, and what could have been a breakup becomes a confrontation.
With her future mother-in-law, of course.
Prospera’s real plan at this point is still shrouded in mystery. We know that she wants to make Eri happy, but how and to what end remains largely unknown.
One of the series’s biggest questions, however, is her real relationship with Suletta. This episode alone cements the fact that Suletta is being controlled, at least subtly, by her own mother. And Prospera seems almost proud of it.
Naturally, Miorine finally raises the issue. Throughout the first season, there are sporadic hints and tells that the Rembran heiress is quite suspicious of Suletta’s masked mother. But her conversation with her groom has fully solidified her suspicion, and now Miorine is seeking answers.
Unfortunately, Prospera is not one who casually reveals her master plan even to her daughter’s future bride. What makes really terrifying, however, is how easily she could turn any argument and issue into her favor. In this case, revealing the nature of her revenge to Miorine, without so much as anger in her voice. In fact, she is sweet and actually nonchalant about it.
There is one scary insight we can gather from their conversation: Prospera is mentally unstable. Behind that mask of cunningness and calm disposition lies a broken and traumatized mind, which enhances the sinister aura she always gives off. Of course, that is understandable considering the events she’s went through, and that only makes her an effective antagonist.
In any case, Prospera is incredibly manipulative, and Miorine’s plan to get answers out of her becomes an advantage to Prospera. With the upcoming elections, Miorine has to win and ensure Quiet Zero’s success. Only then can Suletta be finally free.
Unlike the previous episode featuring Guel, this one has no notable fight scenes. And yet episode 4 makes up for it with intrigue, politics, and incredible interactions between characters. But more than that, it sets the stage for the second act of the story, which is shaping up to be another interesting ride.
Episode score: 9/10