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Phase 23: Fateful Encounter

 

Review by Chris Guanche

June 2, 2003

 

Summary

 

In space, several Laurasia class ships escort the Vesalius as it enters Earth orbit. The ZAFT base in Gibraltar, Spain, gives a weather report, and the fleet begins atmospheric re-entry. In the Indian Ocean, the Archangel continues on its journey to Alaska. Mu and Murrue discuss the current situation, and he thinks the submarine that attacked them is a command ship from the Carpentaria Base. He slaps Murrue on the back and tells her that if she keeps the ship on course in shallow water that they'll be fine. In another part of the ship, Flay is seasick with a fever, and Kira places a wet towel on her forehead to bring her temperature down. He asks her if she wants Miriallia to take care of her instead, but she says she wants him to get her juice. In the mess hall, Miriallia, Sai and Kuzzey discuss the ship's course and wonder if they'll stop at Orb. Cagalli and Kisaka leave, and she tells him she's kept their secret so far, but she'll do something if she has to because she wants to help Kira and the ship. Kira goes into the mess hall and speaks to Miriallia, but he says nothing to Sai. In Spain, Nicol and Athrun disembark from their Gundams and proceed to the briefing room, where Yzak is arguing with Rau. Athrun notices Yzak's scar, and Rau explains that he plans to keep it until he defeats the Strike Gundam. Rau then explains that they must keep the Archangel from reaching Alaska. Yzak and Dearka insist that they want to fight, and Rau decides to let them. He says he can't go because of the preparations for Operation Spit Break, so he appoints Athrun as leader of the team. On the Archangel, several GOOhNs and a ZnO are picked up on radar, and Murrue orders battle stations. Morassim approaches in his ZnO and vows that he will now destroy the Archangel before Rau does. He and the GOOhNs open fire with torpedoes, and Murrue has the ship rise out of the water to avoid being hit. Kira prepares to launch in the Strike Gundam with the Sword Striker pack. While Mu gets the position of the Cousteau, Cagalli argues with Murdoch about taking out the second Sky Grasper. Mu says he'll need more firepower to take out the submarine, so he tells Murdoch to prepare the second Sky Grasper for Cagalli.

 

The GOOhNs continue their attack, and Mu launches in the Launcher Grasper, followed by Cagalli in the second unit. Kira launches in the Sword Strike Gundam and heads underwater to fight the GOOhNs. At the Gibraltar base, three transport planes launch carrying Yzak, Dearka, Nicol and their Gundams. Athrun is forced to stay behind temporarily due to a malfunction with his transport plane. One of the GOOhNs continues to attack the Archangel and avoids the ship's attacks, and nearby Mu and Cagalli search for the Cousteau. Kira is attacked by Morassim's ZnO and is overwhelmed by its power. At Gibraltar, Athrun's transport plane finally takes off. The Cousteau prepares to launch its DINN forces until it is attacked by the Sky Graspers. Cagalli flies too close to the Cousteau, and Mu tells her to back off. Mu fires the Launcher's Agni cannon and destroys the Cousteau, but one of the DINNs manages to take off and attack. The Archangel continues to come under attack from the GOOhNs, and Murrue orders Neumann to perform a 360-degree barrel roll so they can fire their main cannons. Neumann performs the barrel roll, and the ship flips over and destroys the GOOhNs. Kira drives his sword into the ZnO's arm, but it has little effect. He pulls out both his combat knives and stabs the ZnO, and he flips it over him before it explodes. Cagalli flies around aimlessly and is hit by the DINN, and Mu tells her to retreat because she's in his way. He fires the Agni and destroys the DINN. Cagalli gets lost while searching for the Archangel and stumbles upon Athrun's plane. Both fire at each other and are damaged. The transport plane pilots tell Athrun to get into the Aegis Gundam so they can drop him off. Cagalli tries to break off, but the damaged Sky Grasper crashes into the water. When she wakes up, she finds that she has crashed along the shore of a small island. She explores the small island and spots Athrun and the Aegis Gundam. She shoots him in the shoulder, forcing him to drop his gun and hide behind a large rock. Cagalli then slides down the hill and approaches Athrun.

 

Commentary

 

Well, there's a bit more going on in this episode than last time. Athrun, Nicol and Rau descend to Earth and join up with Yzak and Dearka again. However, Rau again stays behind due to the impending Operation Spit Break. Morassim attacks the Archangel again with another new mobile suit, and as expected he pays for that with his life. The Archangel also does some weird things during the battle. Is it really necessary to flip such a huge ship upside down to destroy only one mobile suit? It seemed too much even when the White Base did the same in the original series. Cagalli takes to the skies again, but she performs very poorly this time. It's almost as if she was suddenly made a bad pilot to force her along the path of meeting Athrun. Since the episode ends with him wounded, we'll have to see how that gets resolved.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3 out of 5 stars
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Gundam SEED Episode 23 Gundam SEED Episode 23
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