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Episode 3: The Ghost of Laplace

 

Review by Chris Guanche

April 27, 2011

 

Summary

 

The Nahel Argama receives a message from ECOAS, so Otto orders the ship to enter Neo Zeon airspace at full speed. Outside Palau, Daguza's ECOAS team moves into position to wait for Banagher. Riddhe tells Mineva about the operation to attack Palau and get both Banagher and the Unicorn Gundam back. Mineva asks if the targets will be limited to military facilities, and Riddhe reassures her that they wouldn't attack the civilian areas. They reach the mobile suit hangar, and he tells her that it'll take at minimum two days to reach Earth. They're interrupted by Micott, who assumes that Riddhe is helping Mineva escape and reaches for a phone to call the bridge. Mineva says that Riddhe is taking her to Earth, not betraying the Federation. She says she realized in this situation there is something that only she can do, but Micott says she can't believe a Zeon princess. Mineva says she has to do this to prevent the situation from escalating further, and Micott puts the phone down. She says this doesn't mean that she's forgiven Mineva, and she wants Mineva to fulfill her responsibilities. On Palau, Tikva asks Gilboa why he has to leave, but Gilboa tells him it'll be ok. Zinnerman asks Marida about Banagher's escape and is surprised because he didn't expect the boy to do that. Banagher runs through the streets of Palau to reach the rendezvous point, and at the same time bombs explode in space, destroying Palau's connecting shafts. The Nahel Argama starts its engines and begins launching mobile suits, including Riddhe and Mineva in the Delta Plus. Banagher grabs a thruster pack and continues to follow his map. The Nahel Argama then charges and fires its hyper mega particle cannon at Palau, causing the asteroids to break apart. Neo Zeon mobile suits launch as some of their vessels explode, but they come under attack from ECOAS and the Nahel Argama's Jegan team. Banagher finally reaches the 14th space gate and is surprised to find the Unicorn Gundam there by itself. The Lotos and Jegans destroy several Dra-C suits, Gaza-Ds and Geara Dogas, but the Lotos are in turn destroyed by Full Frontal's Sinanju and Angelo's Geara Zulu. Alberto complains loudly that they've walked into a Neo Zeon trap, and Mihiro reports that they've picked up the Unicorn Gundam's signal. Banagher comes under attack from a Dreissen and tries to fire his beam Gatling gun, but the weapon driver isn't installed due to it being a foreign weapon. The Dreissen attacks with its tri-blades and forearm beam cannon, and Banagher is finally able to fire back once the driver is installed. Riddhe sees that they've walked into a trap, and Mineva tells him to carry out his duties, even if it means firing at her people. Riddhe slices the arms off a Geara Doga, along with the arms and fins of two Dra-Cs. Mineva calls out to Banagher when she spots the Unicorn Gundam, and the two suits make contact. Riddhe opens the cockpit and explains that he's taking Mineva to Earth. Mineva says that Riddhe's father, Ronan Marcenas, is an assemblyman in the Federation Central Assembly, so she wants to meet with him and try to resolve things peacefully. She tells Banagher to go back to the Nahel Argama so that the Federation will withdraw. They come under attack from a Geara Doga and destroy it. Banagher asks Mineva if this is what she really wants to do, and when she answers that it is, he asks Riddhe to take care of her. Banagher then leaves, and Riddhe decides to make use of Palau's mass driver because they already used up too much propellant.

 

A Geara Doga runs away from Banagher when the Kshatriya shows up and launches its funnels. Banagher dodges the funnels and attacks with both the beam Gatling and his beam saber. He calls Marida and says she has to listen to him, but she instead grabs the Unicorn Gundam and shoves her beam saber against the cockpit. Banagher asks why she's piloting that suit, and she says it doesn't matter because right now they're both just combat units called "pilots." Banagher counters that she's still Marida regardless, and he sensed her presence. He says that the Federation will leave if they get the Gundam back, but Marida says that's just his rationalization. He says that even Mineva has come to stop the fighting and that if it continues, people like Gilboa's family will be at risk. Marida tells Banagher that if he surrenders and gives them Mineva's location, then the Neo Zeon will withdraw. Marida tells Banagher that he's only looking at things from the Federation's viewpoint, but he says he's not on their side and that Marida is too single-minded. The Unicorn Gundam then breaks free and activates its NT-D mode. Full Frontal monitors the situation aboard the Rewloola, and Zinnerman asks why Marida has to fight alone. Full Frontal explains that the only way to activate the NT-D is to fight a Newtype, or even a Cyber Newtype like Marida. For that purpose, they've installed a psyco monitor inside the Unicorn Gundam to intercept Box data from the NT-D so they can break the seals on the La+ program. Zinnerman objects, but Full Frontal says they need Marida to draw out the Gundam's true nature. Banagher dodges the attacks from the funnels and unleashes a psyco wave that stops them cold. The Unicorn Gundam then takes control of the funnels and turns them on Marida. Zinnerman asks if Banagher is doing all that, and Full Frontal answers that he's just a processing mechanism for the NT-D, or Newtype Destroyer System. If the enemy is a Newtype, the suit's limiters are deactivated, allowing it to become a hunting machine that can take control of Newtype psycommu weaponry. The Unicorn Gundam slices off one of the Kshatriya's arms and wings, and Zinnerman asks if Marida was just bait. Full Frontal refers to her as Ple Twelve, saying she's an artificial Newtype created through cloning and genetic modification. The Unicorn Gundam rushes in with its beam saber, and Banagher has a Newtype reaction. He sees Marida's memories of being Ple Twelve, including fighting for Glemy Toto during the First Neo Zeon War. He then sees her life as a child prostitute after the war. Banagher then takes control of the Unicorn Gundam and stops the attack. Daguza hears about the Kshatriya's capture, and Conroy says that since it looks to have been made to fight alone, he hopes it isn't loaded with a bomb. Daguza doesn't think that's the case, but he thinks it is possible that Banagher was allowed to escape. Banagher returns to the Nahel Argama, and the Delta Plus heads to Earth with a booster. Aaron examines the Kshatriya and guesses that it's a repurposed prototype that Anaheim supplied to Char during his rebellion. Aaron explains to Otto that Anaheim stopped psycoframe research because there were too many unknowns, such as the Unicorn Gundam's glowing during NT-D mode. Liam brings Dr. Hasan's report on Marida to Otto, and he's surprised to see she has so many scars and burn marks. Liam explains that Marida is the last of a cloned Newtype corps that fought at the end of the First Neo Zeon War. Mihiro argues with Hasan about restraining Marida, and he says she's too injured to be in a straightjacket. Banagher objects and says that Marida is an officer who deserves better treatment, but Mihiro counters that the Sleeves are terrorists. She reminds him that Marida piloted the Kshatriya and killed lots of people. Banagher and Hasan discuss the nature of Newtypes and Cyber Newtypes.

 

Banagher goes over to Marida's bed, and she notes that their positions have reversed. Banagher asks what happened, and Marida tells him he was swallowed up in a psycommu backflow and thought he was controlling the machine, but it was controlling him. Marida says she sensed a powerful negative intent from the Gundam to destroy Newtypes. She says that she saw inside Banagher and that they might be two of a kind. She then says that Banagher's will was able to take control of the Unicorn Gundam and stop it. She tells Banagher that he shouldn't lose sight of who he is, because it's his foundation. Marida then has a panic attack, so Hasan runs in to treat her. Banagher waits outside and runs into Takuya, Micott and Haro. Banagher thinks that Mineva will be ok with Riddhe, and Micott notes that he usually isn't so cool-headed about her. The Delta Plus begins atmospheric re-entry, and Ronan receives a message about it. A Zeon spy within the Federation relays the information back to the Sleeves and Full Frontal. Based on the Nahel Argama's position, the ship is heading for geosynchronous orbit, so they might have a chance to find out about La+. The Garencieres tracks the Klimt, a civilian shuttle used by the Vist Foundation to ostensibly transport artwork. Their flight path puts them on a rendezvous course with the Nahel Argama, and Gilboa hands over the helm to Flaste so that he can prepare his mobile suit. Alberto calls Martha Vist-Carbine and briefs her on the situation. Martha tells Alberto to take Marida on a shuttle down to Earth so she can be examined at the Augusta labs in North America. Alberto asks what she's up to, and she says that if Syam had just told her where the Box was, she wouldn't have to use underhanded methods. She says the Box is the Foundation's fortune and lifeline, so she needs Alberto's help in securing it. Otto prepares a cup of tea, and Banagher refuses Daguza's request to pilot the Unicorn Gundam to the coordinates given by the La+ program. Banagher says he's not a soldier and doesn't want to follow Daguza's orders. Daguza counters that Banagher has to be responsible for his actions and says that although lives may have been saved by Banagher, they've also been lost because of him. He says that Banagher should see things through to the end, and Banagher asks if that means fighting until he dies or going on a crazy treasure hunt. Daguza tells him to figure it out himself because he's just running away from his problems. Daguza and Conroy leave, and Otto serves Banagher some tea. Conroy asks Daguza if something is wrong, and Daguza answers that if he had his own son, he probably would've experienced these feeling much sooner. Later, the Nahel Argama approaches the ruins of the Laplace colony. Alberto prepares to leave and thanks Otto, and Otto counters that it wasn't easy for them to have him around. Liam wonders why Alberto isn't obsessed with the Box, and she's skeptical about a civilian transport for a prisoner.

 

Banagher and Daguza launch in the Unicorn Gundam, and Banagher recalls Otto telling him that Daguza coined the Palau attack a rescue operation because he felt he owed Banagher. Banagher asks Daguza if he ever feels uncertain, and Daguza answers that he's just a cog in the machine of the Federation, so all he has to do is carry out his orders. Banagher says he can't tell friend from foe and says he must not be qualified to pick up a weapon. Daguza tells Banagher he should take responsibility for the people around him, because the fates of Takuya and Micott depend on his actions. The Garencieres tracks the Nahel Argama and expects to make contact in 10 minutes, so Zinnerman wants to attack when the enemy suits are investigating Laplace. Banagher thinks it's too obvious for the Box to be hidden in the wreckage of Laplace, but Daguza says they're checking it out anyway. Daguza comments that the destruction of Laplace was the best thing ever for the Federation because it allowed them to keep control over space under the auspices of terrorism prevention. He says no one from that time is left alive, but the fear of the Box and its connection to the Vist Foundation. After reaching the designated coordinates, the Unicorn Gundam begins broadcasting the old speech from Ricardo Marcenas. Otto is informed of a massive increase in Minovsky particles and orders all hands to battle stations. Banagher suddenly flies out of Laplace and says that the Nahel Argama is in danger. He then dodges a long-distance beam attack from several Geara Zulus and fires his bazooka in response. Banagher fires his bazooka and destroys a Geara Zulu's arm, but Daguza tells him to stop playing games because an escaping enemy could kill him or an ally. Gilboa attacks Banagher with a heat hawk and tells him to stay back because their only goal is to get Marida back. Daguza radios the ship with that information, and Full Frontal begins his attack on Banagher to activate the NT-D. Marida wakes up and breaks free of her restraints just a hole is blasted in the hull. Alberto is nearly sucked out into space, but she grabs him by the arm and saves him. Daguza tells Banagher to go all out so that it activates the NT-D, and Banagher flies back into the colony. Daguza gets out of the cockpit with a bazooka and says he's going to help Banagher. Daguza says the NT-D responded to Banagher's will earlier, and he thinks the Unicorn Gundam has something in it beyond being a Newtype killing machine. He guesses that the La+ program might be something that tests a pilot's will before leading it to the Box. Daguza plants explosives inside the colony, which are tripped by the Sinanju when it enters. Daguza then fires his bazooka at the Sinanju's head to blind it. Full Frontal uses his beam tomahawk to vaporize Daguza, and the NT-D system activates. Banagher fires the beam magnum and causes the colony to break apart. Angelo and his men attack, and he says that Banagher is a total amateur reacting like how the simulations predicted. Banagher stabs a Geara Zulu and attacks Angelo, slicing apart his cannon, arms and legs. Zinnerman tells Gilboa to cancel his infiltration mission and instead help Full Frontal. The Sinanju and Unicorn Gundam begin to heat up in atmospheric re-entry, and Banagher rips off one of the Sinanju's legs. Full Frontal tells him that if he keeps fighting, they'll both burn up. Banagher keeps up the attack and fires his beam magnum, but Gilboa suddenly appears and takes the shot. The Unicorn Gundam then falls into the atmosphere as Full Frontal retreats. On Earth, Mineva is taken to Ronan's mansion. The Garencieres begins atmospheric re-entry while Full Frontal retrieves Angelo. Banagher wakes up and sees Daguza's side seat burning up in space.

 

Commentary

 

With the conclusion of this episode we're at the halfway point for Unicorn. Picking up immediately after the second episode, Banagher makes his escape as ECOAS infiltrates Palau. The battle at Palau is nicely done since it involves tearing apart asteroids that have been haphazardly slapped together. It also gives some screentime to Zeon oldies, including the EWAC Zack, Gaza-D and Dreissen from Gundam ZZ, along with the Dra-C from Gundam 0083. We also get a new ECOAS Jegan variant, and Riddhe's transforming Delta Plus represents a return to the original idea behind Char's Hyaku-Shiki. Although ECOAS and the Nahel Argama had casualties, Full Frontal basically let Banagher go so that he could spy on the NT-D system. Some Newtype weirdness gives Banagher insight into Marida's former life as Ple Twelve and later a child prostitute. This gives us some brief cameos from Glemy Toto and the mass produced Qubeleys used by the Ple clones in Gundam ZZ. There's a nice conversation between Daguza and Banagher where he lays out how Banagher has to take responsibility for his actions. Between that and his comment about a son, you knew he was marked for death. Still, it was a shame to see him die because he was a character who consistently played against the type of a dumb meathead soldier. As a family man, Gilboa was also marked for death and was offed as well. Banagher's power seems to be improving, as he can control the things the Unicorn Gundam does in NT-D mode. The story now moves to Earth for a visit to a place we've seen before.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Unicorn Episode 3 Gundam Unicorn Episode 3
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