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Episode 49: The Final Victor

 

Review by Chris Guanche

Original Review: February 21, 2001
New Review: September 19, 2010

 

Summary

 

Zechs tells Heero that there are several conditions for attaining peace, including the elimination of weapons and the desire to fight. He says that Librafalling to Earth will bring total pacifism, and Heero attacks him. Heero says that the same mistakes of the past will be repeated endlessly as long as Zechs lives. The Gundam Epyon grabs Wing Zero's twin buster rifle with its heat rod and knocks it aside, forcing Heero to use his beam saber. Noin watches the battle and thinks to herself that Zechs must consider this place his grave when he pays for the sin of purging humanity. Libra's engines activate, and the two interlocked ships head for Earth. Une is informed that 80 percent of their troops have returned to MO-II, and she orders that all mobile suits be destroyed, as per Treize's orders to eliminate weapons from Earth. Sally enters the room and says that Treize's objective was the same as Zechs'. Duo drops off the engineers and returns to the battle to fight several attacking Virgo IIs. Une offers Relena a gun so that she can take revenge for Darlian, but Relena refuses and says she wants to put an end to the revenge and battles. Howard uses a computer and calculates that if the power sources of both ships explode on Earth, they'll render the planet uninhabitable. He states that they have two options: destroy both ships in space or change their course. Trowa pulls out chips from the mobile doll control system and tells Dorothy that he's been devoid of feeling for as long as he's been fighting. As the system deactivates, he says he has to keep living because he has a home to return to now. Dorothy says she has no place to return to, and Quatre asks Trowa to look after her. Trowa says she's strong enough to care for herself and leaves with Quatre. Duo notices that the mobile dolls have stopped moving, and he gets a call from Trowa and Quatre that they'll be joining him. Une calls Noin and asks her to send the images of Heero and Zechs' battle, but Noin refuses because she's not part of OZ anymore. Une says it's a favor to a fellow believer in peace, and Noin changes her mind. Une has the footage broadcast to the entire Earth Sphere and announces that the battle has no meaning to Earth or space, but it's necessary anyway. She says that it's a battle to save the colonies, and that the history of battles won't end unless they fight. Several colony representatives are surprised to hear Une's voice. The engineers work to stop the crash, but Quinze interrupts them and shoots Doctor J in the arm. Doctor J says it's too late now, and Quinze asks how many times they have to interfere with Operation Meteor. Doctor J says that the Gundams were enough to take revenge for Heero Yuy, and Quinze counters that if the engineers hadn't changed the orders to the Gundam pilots, things would've ended sooner. Professor G then presses a button that sets off and explosion and kills all of them.

 

The Peacemillion's engines activate and slow down Libra. Heero accuses Zechs of being the same as Treize by claiming to fight for the weak, but not really helping them. Zechs says that the strong created the weak, and he knocks Heero's beam saber away. Heero says he hates the weak because they're nervous about being attacked, can't trust others and have no opinion of their own. Heero reclaims his beam saber when parts of Libra explode, and he tells Zechs that everybody is weak. The two ships move away from Earth, but one section of Libra and continues to descend. The colony delegation then renounces White Fang's demands and proclaims a desire to coexist with the World Nation, along with a rejection of violence. Quatre, Duo and Trowa head for the falling section to break it apart, and Wufei flies off with the twin buster rifle. Heero tells Zechs it's all over, but Zechs attacks with his heat rod and says he doesn't see himself as weak. The two continue to fight inside of Block A, which is falling toward Earth. Heero tells Zechs that the colonies are moving towards pacifism on their own, so there's no point to what he's doing. They charge toward each other, and Heero slices off the Gundam Epyon's left arm. Zechs asks why Heero won't kill him, and Heero answers that Relena would be sad. Quatre calls Heero and tells him that Block A is still descending, so Heero takes off to destroy its power system. Duo, Trowa and Quatre try to damage as much of Block A as possible and are joined by the Maganacs. Heero prepares to destroy the block's reactor, but his beam saber runs out of power and his machine cannons are out of ammo. That leaves only the self-destruct device, but Zechs arrives before he can activate it. Zechs says that one more thing is required for peace: a strong heart that can empathize with people, like Heero's. Zechs says he'll live until the bitter end and stabs the power reactor with his beam sword. The reactor then explodes, taking a large portion of the block with it. A large piece still remains, and Wufei delivers the twin buster rifle to Heero. Wufei calls everyone and announces that he's given the rifle to Heero, so Quatre decides it's time to fall back. The last piece of Block A enters the atmosphere, and Heero flies ahead of it. Facing high resistance from atmospheric re-entry, Heero declares that he'll survive and fires at the block. The blast destroys the last piece entirely, and Heero emerges from the explosion relatively unscathed. Quatre says that Heero must be the heart of space. Following negotiation between Earth and the colonies, the Earth Sphere United Nation is created. Noin finds Dorothy in a cemetery visiting the graves of Zechs and Treize, and she lays flowers at Treize's grave. Dorothy asks why she never pays respect to Zechs' grave, and Noin answers that she knows Zechs is alive. Later, Vice Foreign Minister Relena, who has returned to the Darlian name, prepares to return to Earth from a colony. She boards her shuttle and finds a teddy bear and birthday card. She looks out the window and calls out to Heero, who is walking away. He turns to look at her, and she rips the card in half, saying he should give it to her in person next time.

 

Commentary

 

Wing's conclusion is pretty good, but it's rushed and not without its flaws. First, there's the central series theme of total pacifism. In the end, it comes across as a lot of pseudo-philosophical babble, because total pacifism has to be defended through force of arms. That's obviously a contradiction, and it shows how unlikely it is for pacifism to grip the entire world. But somehow that magically happens as Heero and Zechs duke it out, and the entire world declares peace. The ending comes down to the wire because of the need to stretch out the Gundam cliche of throwing a Big Nasty Thing at Earth. First it's Libra and Peacemillion. Then it's a block from Libra, followed by a piece of that block. It could've stopped a bit before that to give us a longer epilogue. Some loose ends are tied up here, such as Une and Relena. Une has come full circle and rejected her violent side, but he offers her life to Relena for the death of Darlian. Just before dying, Quinze mentions how the engineers messed with Operation Meteor, although this dangling thread isn't explored until Endless Waltz. Although Endless Waltz does wrap up the loose ends, with some better writing, a lot of that should've been addressed in the show proper. Finally, there's the issue of Zechs' character development. He's one of the characters I liked the most in the series, but his development goes in too many directions. In less than a year, he goes through the same character arc that Char Aznable went through in 14 years. Even though Zechs' role as a masked man was inspired by Char, I don't think there was a need to have him follow Char's footsteps so closely. The show does end on a pretty light note though, with Relena's card ripping a call back to episode 1 when Heero ripped apart her birthday part invitation.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Wing Episode 49 Gundam Wing Episode 49

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Buy the collection (eps 26-49) on Blu-ray from Amazon
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