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Episode 23: Goodbye Mars

 

Review by Dustin Corallo

February 25, 2009

 

Summary

 

Just outside Deimos Station, Radium’s group begins their attack upon the UNSF LEV forces stationed there. Leading the attack are Raptors operating under Hathor’s control. At the same time, the transport ship Abu Simbel breaks out of Deimos and into open space, destroying a Phantoma in the process. Meanwhile, Rebecca and the Sobek team join in on the attack; Axel immediately notices there aren’t many Phantomas defending Deimos, to which Rully tells him most of the UN forces went down to Mars. Rebecca immediately breaks off from the other two and takes her Selkis into Deimos’ hold, where she sees multiple spaceships at harbor. Before she attacks, she notices a ship that looks like the Ender as well, and imagines Dolores in the cargo hold. Hesitating for a moment, she sends out a broadband informing everyone to flee from her attack, before she launches a barrage of homing lasers that destroy the ships in the hold. Outside, the Abu Simbel positions itself in front of the Deimos Station Urenbeck Catapult and then reverses, forcing its way into the catapult. The station’s control crew rush to disengage the catapult, but the stations’ computers are not accepting their commands. As this happens, Hathor ascends from Mars, and Radium thinks to himself this is the first time in five years he’s seen Deimos from the cockpit of an orbital frame. Then before his eyes, Anubis suddenly appears in front of Deimos. Radium wonders if Nohman wants to stop him, and Anubis immediately brings out its staff. Nohman brings up one Hathor’s arm blades as well, but before a battle could break out between the two frames, Anubis zero shifts away. Smiling at this, Radium brings Hathor into Deimos, where he along with the other orbital frames docks with the Abu Simbel. After Radium and Rebecca take their seats, the Abu Simbel launches into dimensional space on its journey to Earth, leaving Mars behind. On Mars, James wakes up to see his family, as well as Raiah and Cindy. James immediately asks about Dolores, but Rachel tells him she’s fine, and that there was no fatal damage. James thinks about how Radium was in a position to destroy Isis, but chose not to at the last second. Interrupting the moment, Sameggi comes up and informs everyone that Radium’s force broke into Deimos and headed to Earth thirty minutes ago. James is angered at how he was able to do that, and even though Sameggi tries to calm him by telling him he informed the UNSF, it still doesn’t change things. James tells them about Radium’s goal to drop the Orbital Elevator onto Earth, shocking everyone. James states they have to stop him now, but Rachel points out that’s impossible. She points out that just outside, UNSF soldiers and BAHRAM soldiers continue to fight each other, now using small arms rather than LEVs or orbital frames. As well, Sameggi isn’t sure if they can use the Deimos catapult now. Rachel fears that Mars, not being prepared to be truly independent, would be destroyed alongside Earth. Now completely angered, James rushes out of the hospital room and outside, positioning himself between the UNSF and BAHRAM forces. When he yells to stop the fighting, a BAHRAM soldier immediately asks whether he’s from Earth or Mars. James answers he’s human, and that anything else doesn’t matter. Soon, both sides realize that he is James Links, and remembering that he has an orbital frame, both try to draw him onto either side. James becomes fed up at this and demands to know if all they can do is fight. He then asks one Earth soldier where he was born, and when the soldier answers America, and he then asks another, who was born in Japan. He points out that both places are totally different from the other, stating that if everyone is fighting because they were born in different places, then shouldn’t everyone be an enemy of each other? Realizing what James is about to do, Cindy asks Sameggi if they are able to broadcast a TV signal from this area, and Sameggi says it’s possible. Soon after, James is broadcast across Mars on multiple battlefronts, where James gives a speech about his journey through both Earth and Mars and how he can’t see any difference between the two of them. He also states that if there are good people on either side, then there are bad people on either side too, and that there is no such thing as a totally good or evil side. To prove his point, he calls Rachel out beside him, and when she comes, he reveals that she’s Martian, and despite that fact, he still married her and had kids. He then calls Leon and Noel out to him, and with the whole family gathered, he continues by explaining Radium’s plan to destroy Earth, and that if Earth is destroyed, then Mars will follow it, and that now is the time to cooperate. However, despite a spirited speech, one of the BAHRAM soldiers points out that Hathor is unbelievably strong, but Rachel counters by saying Dolores is made from the same fuselage as Hathor, and that Dolores would be able to stop it. When Leon reminds her that Dolores lost before, she clarifies that without the mass control program, Dolores will be able to fight without limitation now. At hearing this, both of the sides stop, throw down their guns and decide to help the Links family on their quest. Cindy, tears in her eyes from the display, tells Raiah to wrap it up.

 

On Deimos Station, repairs to the catapult are already under way, while the Links family and UNSF and BAHRAM officials go over the situation. It is estimated that the Abu Simbel will arrive onto Earth space within a total of seventeen point eight-five days, and that preparations for an ambush attack would take eighteen days for the UNSF. James notes that is a pretty tight time table, and Sameggi believes even if they’re able to do it in time, nothing UNSF has in its arsenal is a match for Hathor. The BAHRAM official also notes that all of BAHRAM’s orbital frames are disabled by the protection system, and so all they can do is rely on Dolores. Another official explains that while it will only take ten hours to repair the catapult, they don’t have any spaceships left after Radium’s attack. Frustrated at this development, Sameggi proclaims that it really is the end, which prompts James to remember the Ender. Later on, the Ender is found in the debris field where James had left it, and is soon towed back to Deimos and given a booster attachment, which will make the Ender faster than the Abu Simbel. With it, James and co. will arrive at Earth in just over nine days, about twenty three hours before Radium’s arrival. James worries that the ship may not hold up to all the tune ups, but the mechanic he’s talking to says it will be okay. With that taken care of, James goes over to Rachel and asks about Dolores, but Rachel explains another problem. Dolores’ AI is in sleep mode at this point, and that no matter what Rachel does she won’t activate, no matter what she does. James realizes the only way to awake Dolores is to go inside her again, but Rachel believes that will only cause damage to Dolores. James states that they don’t have a choice, and he can handle it anyway. As James slips on his VR gear, Rachel tells him that the environment might have changed since the last time James was in there, and Noel tells him to be careful. When James awakens in the VR environment, he finds himself on Deimos Station during the Incident, and James realizes this is part of Idolo’s memory. As he continues walking, he comes across a grave site much like the one he built for Nicholai back on Mars, but upon reading one of the metal tombstones, he finds it has Dolores’ name on it. At that point he begins to hear a girl crying, and when he runs toward the direction of the crying, he comes across a small chapel. As he enters the chapel, he sees a TV displaying Dolores Hayes, as well as numerous glass fragments on the ceiling also showing her. Dolores soon speaks up, showing herself at the end of the chapel, at the foot of a darkened orbital frame Dolores. As such, she appears as Dolores Hayes, and tells James that she was already dead since the beginning. James in confused, so Dolores explains that she now remembers everything, who she was and how she died. James states that she is the orbital frame Dolores, but Dolores claims she’s Dolores Hayes, who has already died, and that if she exists people would only suffer. She believes it’s best that she remain dead, but James does not believe her. He then looks up at the glass on the ceiling again and sees images of Radium, Viola and Idolo, and remembers that Dolores Hayes was Radium’s lover. He wonders if Dolores is remembering all this because Hathor stole the mass control program from Dolores, and that these are her memories from when she was Idolo. Dolores tells James farewell and says that she will now go into eternal sleep. Just as she says that, the chapel begins to crumble and break down. James begs her not to go to sleep, and that he doesn’t remember raising her like this. This gains Dolores attention, and James tells her she was created as Isis, but was made into Dolores by Rachel, and after that she came to James and awakened and began their journey together. He claims that she was reborn when she reawakened, and that the Ender was her cradle, Rachel was her mother and he was her father, and that in short she’s part of his family. As Dolores comes to this conclusion, the memories of Radium and Idolo begin to flicker. James continues by saying she is not Isis and she is not Dolores Hayes, but she is Dolores, a member of the Links family. At this, Radium and Idolo’s images are replaced by images of James, Leon, Noel and Rachel. James tells her if she understand this then she shouldn’t sit around in a place like that forever, and Dolores agrees with him. He then calls Dolores to him, and as she jumps toward him, the chapel shifts back to the familiar fairy tale setting and Dolores turns into pink energy, which flows back into her orbital frame form and empowers it. In the real world, everyone stares in awe as Dolores begins to repair herself. As James comes out of the VR, he comments at how Dolores is such a needy daughter. Later on, the Ender is placed upon the Deimos catapult, and the Links family sets up to leave. Sameggi accompanies them, reminding them that the charges on James haven’t been cleared yet. Cindy also chooses to accompany them, claiming she wouldn’t be a journalist if she missed the people that were about to save the world. In the Ender’s bay, Raiah finishes the final touches of stenciling Dolores’ name upon her head plate, and Dolores is overjoyed to see it there. On the other hand, Dolores is unhappy that Raiah will not be coming to Earth with them, and although Raiah claims Earth isn’t his thing, he would like to see Dolores again. Just as the catapult process begins, the UNSF official passes news onto James that Rutger had committed suicide after Radium seized control of everything, and that despite everything, the higher ups in the UNSF still believe that Radium’s goal is to capture the Orbital Elevator, not drop it. Thus all hope lies upon the Links family. With that in mind, the Ender launches from the catapult and heads to Earth.

 

Commentary

 

As you can guess, this is the last Mars episode of the series, as the final battle between Radium’s force, the UNSF and the Links family will be carried out over Earth. I find a certain irony in that after all the effort James and co. made to run away from the UNSF, they’re now going back to save them all. I could imagine how this would eat away at James, Leon and Noel, but they don’t seem to have noticed. Anyway, after the huge intensity of the last episode, I can’t help but feel this one is a letdown. Not because it was less intense, but because of the chain of events that take place. First, since Anubis appeared again, which I’d like to note was also in the preview, I was expecting a huge fight between it and Hathor, but instead all it did was zero shift in for a moment and then zero shift away before anything could happen. Since Anubis is one of my favorite machines period, I was really disappointed, although I can see why Nohman chose not to stop Radium. Compared to what he has in store with Project Aumaan, Nohman probably wouldn’t care whether Radium destroys the Earth or not. Second, in one of the most dubious scenes I’ve ever seen in a piece of fiction, James (at least momentarily) ends the conflict between the UNSF and BAHRAM with nothing but a longwinded speech and his family. Yes, I know it’s fiction and that anything is possible in anime, but you can’t expect me to believe that a war as intense as this one, even without orbital frames and LEVs, could be ended just by one guy going out into the open and yelling that he married a woman from the opposing side and had kids by her. No war is that easy to end, and in any other series it would take one side having a more effective army or some random princess going on about love, peace and pacifism (or both) to stop any conflict. Thank god for the events in Fist of Mars and 2nd Runner, otherwise I really would have been convinced that the big Earth-Mars war would have ended here. On a side note of that, I can’t help but think that the two soldiers being from America and Japan was somehow an intentional point, given how back in World War II the two nations were bitter enemies, but since then have become the best of allies. But I digress. I’d say the highlight of this episode was Dolores finally remembering everything, specifically her life and death as Dolores Hayes. It was pretty obvious from the beginning that there was a connection between the two characters than just the same name (and seiyuu), and now it finally comes to light that Dolores (the OF) was in a twisted sort of way Dolores Hayes in her previous life, but was reborn through Idolo retaining her memories and carrying them over to the development of Isis. Can’t say I blame her for being distraught over that, and it really took a lot of effort for James to bring her back. And speaking of orbital frames, we finally get to see another boss cameo from the first game, the Tyrant, only now it’s been modified into a huge transport ship and called the Abu Simbel. At this point, one can only speculate about the damage Radium will cause to the ill prepared UNSF once his group reaches the Earth.

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Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3 out of 5 stars
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ZOE Dolores, i Episode 23 ZOE Dolores, i Episode 23

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