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Turn 23: Schneizel's Mask

 

Review by Chris Guanche

September 18, 2008

 

Summary

 

Britannian soldiers worriedly talk about the destruction of Pendragon, and a wounded Sayoko appears before Jeremiah and asks to see Lelouch. On the Avalon, Lelouch is shocked that Nunnally is alive, and she says it's because of Schneizel. Suzaku asks her how she can support what Schneizel just did, but she in turn asks him if Geass is the right way. She says both Lelouch and Suzaku have been lying to her, but she knows the truth now. She asks Lelouch if he was Zero for her sake, but he laughs and says she's the kind of archaic nobility he denies. With his hands shaking, he says he didn't do it for anyone and wants the world for himself, so if she joins with Schneizel he'll show her no mercy. Lelouch cuts off the transmission, and Schneizel says he thought Lelouch would've surrendered if shown the power of FLEIJA. Nunnally asks Schneizel if the citizens of Pendragon are safe, and he says they were evacuated before detonation. Nunnally then says Schneizel will use FLEIJA on other people, so she asks for the detonation switch so she can shoulder the burden. Lelouch yells at C.C. for not knowing about Nunnally being alive, but she tells him she can't track anyone not linked to Geass. Tossing aside the pieces on his chessboard, Lelouch says Schneizel used Nunnally very effectively. Suzaku grabs Lelouch by the collar and says they can't change their objectives with Zero Requiem just because Nunnally is alive. C.C. chases after Suzaku when he leaves, and he asks her to become Lelouch's shield while he acts as Lelouch's sword. Cecile examines the explosion and concludes that the FLEIJA used on Pendragon had ten times the power of the one used on Tokyo. Shocked, Nina declares that Schneizel must've removed the limiter. Cornelia speaks privately to Schneizel, and he admits that he lied to Nunnally about Pendragon, saying death was a better fate than living as Lelouch's slaves. He says he lied so that Nunnally stands firm against Lelouch, and Cornelia asks him if manipulates everyone like that. Schneizel answers that even though people wish to rid the world of its problems, they're not even willing to understand each other. He says people's desires can't be denied, so they don't need emotions or principles. Schneizel displays a map showing his plan: Damocles will ascend to 300 kilometers above the surface and fire FLEIJA bombs at every country engaged in war. Cornelia asks him if he's going to subjugate the world through fear, and he answers that peace is an illusion. Diethard and Kanon enter the room, and Diethard says he was right to follow Schneizel. Kanon delivers a message that the Black Knights are willing to cooperate if Schneizel intends to take down Lelouch, and Schneizel comments that those who've experienced Lelouch's atrocities will choose the better idea. He says eternal peace is worth it even if 100 or 200 million people die, but Cornelia calls that forced peace. She pulls out her sword and rushes toward Schneizel, but a machine gun turret opens in the wall and shoots her. Sayoko tells Jeremiah that Schneizel used a diversionary craft while evacuating Nunnally from Tokyo. C.C. tells Lelouch he did a good job putting on a mask with Nunnally. She tells him he's done enough, but he says he can't stop anymore. Cecile, Lloyd and Nina repair the Lancelot Conquista, now painted pink and renamed Lancelot Frontier. Lelouch's forces spread across Japan, and Viletta tells Ohgi she's pregnant. Rakshata examines the upgraded Tristan Divider, and Kallen asks Gino if he's sure about fighting on their side, but he says he understands her now a bit.

 

On the Ikaruga, Li declares that Britannia's internal structure has been paralyzed since the destruction of Pendragon. Tohdoh adds that Britannian forces are engaged in battles across all Areas, so they're only up against the troops Lelouch brought with him to Japan. Li believes that teaming up with Schneizel will even out their forces, even though he doesn't approve of Damocles and FLEIJA. Standing on the cockpit of the Shinkirou, Lelouch tells his forces that this is the decisive battle for the entire world. He says that by defeating Schneizel and the Black Knights, they'll destroy the world and recreate it. Schneizel tells his forces that Lelouch must be defeated because he spreads evil across the world. He says people around the world are waiting for their triumph, and he hopes this is the final war. Kanon asks about Schneizel's orders to restore Anya's memories, and Schneizel answers they need all the help they can get. Lelouch calls Schneizel on a private line, and Schneizel threatens to use FLEIJA if Lelouch doesn't surrender. Lelouch then announces that he's holding all the UFN representatives hostage, including Kaguya and Tianzi. Schneizel doesn't care if world peace comes at the cost of a few lives, but Li cuts into the conversation and tells Schneizel not to fire. Li says they're prepared for the worst, but it's no reason to sacrifice lives. Schneizel says his forces consist of just Damocles and the Mordred, so he asks for command of the Black Knights in exchange for not firing FLEIJA. Li reluctantly accepts and prepares to launch in the Shen-Hu. Schneizel orders his units to expand over a wide area, and Lelouch counters by moving his own forces. Schneizel tells Gino to go after the left flank, and Lelouch orders his forces to fight back. Schneizel tells Gino to fall back and not accept Lelouch's bait. The two continue to trade orders without firing a shot. Tamaki complains that they're not fighting, but Tohdoh and Li comment that they're like masters who are sending invisible attacks to each other. Schneizel's forces begin to surround Lelouch's, so Lelouch orders a counterattack with the Lancelot Albion at the head. Schneizel comments that Lelouch hasn't changed and prefers to attack rather than defend, which is why Schneizel created an opening. As the fighting begins, Kallen attacks a Gareth and says everything will end if she takes down Lelouch. Schneizel's forces begin to break through, so Lelouch's fleet falls back. The Guren SEITEN pushes ahead and destroys a Vincent Ward, while Li sinks a battleship. Tohdoh kills a Geassed Gareth pilot, and the Ikaruga fires its hadron cannons, destroying a large amount of Lelouch's fleet. Lelouch then presses a trigger and ignites the Sakuradite inside Mt. Fuji, causing large fireballs to bombard the Ikaruga. As the Ikaruga crashes, Ohgi thinks about how he asked Viletta to stay behind and not bring a new life into the conflict. Schneizel asks Nunnally to fire FLEIJA, and she pulls the trigger. A Vincent team tries to contain the FLEIJA, but it explodes anyway because it was fired at a critical state. Kallen and Tamaki protect the crashed Ikaruga's bridge and take off to fight. Lelouch thinks about how he's at a disadvantage now and will have to rely on Nina. Schneizel says that Lelouch will lose if all he can think about is how to defeat him.

 

Commentary

 

There's no lack of developments in this episode. First, we see Lelouch putting up a mask to denounce Nunnally, which is obviously very difficult to do. We also see Schneizel patronize and manipulate Nunnally with his half-baked lie that he evacuated Pendragon before using FLEIJA. Between this and possibly killing Cornelia, Schneizel has shown his true colors. For all the blood Lelouch has on his hands, he's never wiped out an entire city or so coldly manipulated people as Schneizel does. I'm also convinced that the Black Knights are all idiots. They should've all been aware that Lelouch would do what he always does - use the environment to his advantage. That he used Mt. Fuji itself is his most spectacular display yet, but it should've also been completely anticipated. Also, I don't get Kallen's surprised reaction over Lelouch holding Tianzi and Kaguya captive, considering that earlier he had already kidnapped Tianzi, but that apparently was ok. They also played right into Schneizel's hands, because he tricked them into following him in exchange for not using FLEIJA. But as soon as they're taken down, he immediately fires FLEIJA. Despite all that, it was interesting to see Lelouch and Schneizel test each other by moving their fleets around so much before even firing a single shot. Whatever happens in the last two episodes, it won't be an easy fight since Lelouch is keenly aware that he's never beaten Schneizel at chess.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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Code Geass R2 Episode 23 Code Geass R2 Episode 23

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