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Episode 9: Portrait of a Ruined Country

 

Review by Chris Guanche

Original Review: December 1, 2000
New Review: November 24, 2009

 

Summary

 

At the Luxembourg Base, Zechs posits that the Alliance is probably regrouping after the OZ attack, so they'll use the base for future operations. Noin comments that the town's beauty doesn't change with its rulers, and Zechs responds that OZ's intent isn't to rule, but to free countries from the Alliance's stranglehold. Noin doesn't quite buy it, and Zechs says OZ is giving the countries that formed the Alliance a second chance. He's then informed that the SST from the Victoria Base has arrived. Zechs greets Otto and is surprised to see him injured with broken ribs. Otto shows him the completed Tallgeese, and Noin comments that it doesn't look like a 20-year-old mothball. Otto explains that the Tallgeese's speed is three times that of the Aries, but they still haven't determined its maximum speed because he passed out during the test. Otto believes that Zechs is the only person capable of piloting the Tallgeese, and Zechs decides to use it immediately. Otto is taken to the infirmary, and Zechs tells Noin to prepare for an attack on the Sanc Kingdom. Elsewhere, Duo and Heero play basketball at their new school, and Heero easily makes a slam dunk. Girls in the crowd cheer for Heero, but he ignores them and walks off. Duo comments that it's pretty smart to change schools as cover for missions. Heero tells Duo that he stands out too much, but Duo counters that Heero would look less suspicious if he acted more naturally instead of being secretive. Heero tells Duo to leave him alone, and Duo points out that they're after the same target: a fortress across the bay. Duo asks Heero if he wants to make a bet on who can destroy it first. Heero is then surprised when Relena pulls up in her pink limo and greets him. Duo comments that it's strange for a girl to want to see the guy who intends to kill her. Elsewhere, OZ Aries suit deploy over the Sanc Kingdom and begin their attack run against the Alliance. Noin launches in her Aries and tells Zechs that she'll be his backup. Zechs then launches in the Tallgeese and immediately sees how difficult it will be to pilot. Zechs destroys several Aries and sees how dangerous its speed is. Noin calls the Alliance commander and asks him to surrender, but he refuses and deploys the base's laser beams. Noin didn't know about the beams and orders her forces to retreat. Several Aries are destroyed, and Zechs tells her they should fall back and regroup. Zechs wonders why he's acting so cowardly when he could end it all with the Tallgeese. He rushes in at high speed, but realizes that he'll die if he keeps going. He spits out blood and pulls away from his attack run.

 

Une pours Treize some wine on their flight and asks what their next target should be. He thinks they should just keep fighting and winning, and she asks if that means conquering the Earth Sphere. He answers that by doing so, they'll become the target of all the world's hatred, which will serve as good motivation. In the desert, Abdul, Auda and Ahmed ask Quatre if he has no faith in the Maganac Corps, but he says that isn't the issue. Rashid tells them to drop it because Quatre has promised not to run off on his own again. Quatre tells Rashid about the other Gundam pilots and thinks that they're all nice guys. Wufei hangs out at the circus with Trowa, and Catherine brings them soup for dinner. Trowa pours Wufei some coffee, and Wufei comments that he has no right to pilot the Nataku. Elsewhere, Zechs lies in bed in a medical tent and tells Noin about how the Tallgeese ignores the pilot. He believes that its technology is far beyond any mobile suit, but he also feels like he has become a coward. He thinks that only a pilot who can risk death for victory could pilot it. He wants to return to the battlefield, but Noin objects and tells him he'll die. She relents on the condition that he doesn't use the Tallgeese, but he says it's important because of the design similarities to the Gundams. Otto overhears and concludes that the Tallgeese must be a suit for suicide missions like the Gundams. Zechs decides to attack again tomorrow evening, and Otto takes off by himself in the Tallgeese. Zechs calls him and orders him to return, but Otto says the Tallgeese can take over the Sanc headquarters. Otto declares that he's happy to sacrifice his life if it will help Zechs achieve his dreams. Relena says to herself that she needs Heero's support until she can get over Darlian's death. The fortress across the bay explodes as Duo launches his attack. The Wing Gundam arrives and uses its buster rifle to destroy the central tower in a single shot. Otto blasts several Alliance Aries while Zechs chases after him in a helicopter. Otto ignores the Alliance laser beams and slams into the headquarters. Later, Zechs walks through the ruins of the old royal castle and looks at a painting of his rather. He addresses the painting and apologizes for having blood-stained hands. He knows he isn't sited to ruling the Peacecrafts, but he knows that Relena can. Relena runs into Duo and Heero outside of their school as they head to class. She says to herself that she wants to be stronger like them.

 

Commentary

 

A lot of this episode switches the focus to Zechs. Now that he's operating out of Europe, he wants to liberate his homeland, the Sanc Kingdom. He intends to use the Tallgeese to do it, but things don't quite work out as planned. The suit is literally a beast and severely injures both him and Otto. Otto goes out on a suicide mission to attack the Sanc Kingdom, and given that he called Zechs a king in his dying words, I wonder if he knew the truth about Zechs. Noin obviously has known for a long time, but she's tight lipped about it. Also, this is the first time in the series we get to see Zechs without his mask, although it's only for a short period. Elsewhere, the Gundam pilots are up to various activities. Quatre gets lectured by the Maganacs, while Wufei and Trowa mope around a fire, creating an awkward situation for Catherine. Heero and Duo set themselves up at a new school for their next mission and make a competition out of it. While Duo gets there first, Heero takes the glory with the aid of his buster rifle.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Wing Episode 9 Gundam Wing Episode 9

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