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Episode 24: Vanishing Point

 

Review by Dustin Corallo

February 25, 2009

 

Summary

 

As the Abu Simbel continues on its trek to Earth through dimensional space, Rebecca watches as Radium unconsciously talks to what he thinks is Dolores Hayes about how close they are to Earth. At the same time, Axel watches over Rebecca with concern. Meanwhile on the Ender, Dolores starts loading different weapons into her vector trap when she finds one that Pete is standing on. She tells him that it’s very cramped in her vector trap, so no Pete can’t ride there. On the Ender’s bridge, Sameggi explains that the plan for the ambush attack had just arrived on Earth and that the Abu Simbel will be there in 29 hours. The UNSF, in the meantime, is setting up a mass catcher on the moon’s orbital path to be used as a barricade, and that if the Abu Simbel enters at the calculated velocity, then they would be destroyed. If they do break past the mass catcher, the UNSF has also set up a rail cannon on the moon, which will fire mass bullets to hinder the Abu Simbel’s flight path. All this and approximately 10,000 Phantoma IIs are waiting around the Orbital Elevator as the third line of defense. James notes that Anchor Station is a big gaping hole in this defense, and when Cindy asks what Anchor Station is, Leon tells her it’s the part that balances the Orbital Elevator, located 11,000 kilometers from Central Station. Cindy notes that one side is three times longer than the other, and wonders if Anchor Station would really be able to balance that. Noel also notes that’s the reason Anchor Station is so heavy. James explains that if Anchor Station is destroyed, then the Orbital Elevator will descend onto the Earth, falling in the direction of Earth’s rotation and whipping around the entire planet, truly destroying the planet. Cindy is confused as to why Anchor Station isn’t being defended, and James says it’s because UNSF higher command doesn’t believe it to be in danger, because they don’t believe anyone would want to wipe out Earth’s population. James then tells everyone that the plan will begin in twenty hours, and now is the last time to get rest. Later on in a corridor, Cindy takes a picture of the Links siblings, noting that Leon’s face actually looked good for a second. Upon seeing this, Noel decides to take a picture of Leon and Cindy together, but the two end up fighting instead. Around Earth’s orbit, the Abu Simbel ends up breaking through the mass catcher barricade, and then activates boosters to decelerate. Back on the Ender, James and Rachel enjoy a moment to themselves, and James proclaims after everything is over, they’ll be together until they die. However, the moment ends when Sameggi informs them over the communicator that the Abu Simbel has entered into Earth’s airspace. The UNSF scrambles its Phantoma II forces to intercept the Abu Simbel, but they don’t believe it will be able to make Earth orbit since it’s flying at a speed of 100,000 km/s. Rachel on the other hand explains to the Ender crew that Radium has seen through Earth’s defense and that he’s doing this intentionally. Seeing this as well, James states he and Dolores will head out ahead of the Ender to Anchor Station. In the hold, Dolores says her goodbyes to everyone, claiming despite the short amount of time they had all treated her well, and that she would never forget them; Noel reprimands her for saying such an unlucky thing. Noel tells James to be careful and Leon says if James dies then he’ll follow him straight to hell to complain, and James in turn says he’ll leave the ship to Leon. Rachel then asks Dolores to protect James. With all that done, Dolores launches away from the Ender. Meanwhile, the Abu Simbel flies through the mass barrage set up by the UNSF’s rail cannons, and Radium has the ship enter into its second deceleration phase by launching its vector trap directly at the Moon. This causes a tractor beam effect that slows the Abu Simbel down and allows it to turn into Earth’s orbit. Now that they are in Earth orbit, Rebecca tells Radium that her team will attack first, but Radium doesn’t respond to her. When Rebecca moves to see what’s wrong, the Yan steps in the way and tells her there’s no time. In their orbital frames, both Axel and Rully realize that Radium isn’t relying on them, which prompts Rebecca to yell at them and only focus on their jobs. As Earth comes into view, Radium has the Abu Simbel launch the Raptors into space, as well as Selkis and the AlterNeiths. Joining the attack are the two additional Yans in a manned Raptor and Mummyhead apiece. The UNSF launches its counterattack while James and Dolores just enter Earth’s airspace themselves. At the same time, Radium enters into Hathor’s cockpit and links up with the orbital frame through his Metatron arm. As he does, he sees an image of Dolores Hayes appear beside him, to which he tells from here on in, it’s just a world for the two of them.

 

As the battle continues, the UNSF struggles to hold its defensive line as their LEVs are decimated by the orbital frames, while only five percent of Radium’s force has been neutralized. In the middle of the fight, James sends a transmission to the UNSF command station informing them that the Raptors are unmanned, so they can be stopped by destroying Hathor. However, the UNSF commander tells him that Hathor hasn’t been sighted, so James suggests concentrating on the Abu Simbel. The UNSF Phantoma IIs immediately launch a massive assault on the Abu Simbel, destroying the manned Raptor in the process. Eventually, the Abu Simbel self-destructs from the damage it had taken, but the Raptors are still active nonetheless. This causes James to realize that the Raptors are a distraction, and that Hathor is the one that will attack Anchor Station. He has Dolores fly toward Anchor Station as fast as she can go, even though this causes James to be strained from G-forces. Meanwhile, as Hathor hovers over Anchor Station, Radium is once again visited by the image of Dolores Hayes, to which he proclaims ahead of them is the promised land, and that he won’t let anyone get in their way. As James and Dolores near Anchor Station however, they are attacked by Rebecca and her team. The AlterNeiths attempt to grapple Dolores with their arm cables, but Dolores ends up dragging the two of them and cause them to crash into each other. She then severs the cables and James orders her to connect to Rebecca’s communications channel. At first, Rebecca tries to fight against Dolores, but Dolores swoops in and grabs the Selkis’ cockpit. Both Dolores and James demand Rebecca to stop, but Rebecca says she’ll fight until their mission is complete. James reprimands her in not seeing a future beyond killing people, but Rebecca tells him to shut up and that she’s following her father, Radium Lavans’ teachings. James is shocked to hear that Rebecca’s father is Radium, and he has Dolores deploy a group of mines to distract Rebecca and allow them to slip away. However, it only works momentarily and Rebecca gives chase. As the Ender finally arrives into Earth’s orbit, Sameggi tries to connect with the UNSF command post while the others watch as the UNSF is pushed back at Central Station. Noel suggests heading to Anchor Station themselves, but Sameggi tells her that the system they want is in Central Station. However, to get there they must break through the battlefield, but Leon is willing to take that chance, much to Cindy’s dismay. Elsewhere, as the Sobek team gives chase on Dolores, Axel’s AlterNeith is hit by a Phantoma II’s beam cannon, which destroys the frame’s thruster assembly. Just as the Phantomas move to finish him off, Rully jumps in front and takes the shots himself. Axel calls out to Rully, but Rully just laughs and says he shouldn’t do things that don’t fit his character, just before he kicks Axel away. His AlterNeith explodes not long after. The Phantomas then turn their fire onto the Selkis, forcing Rebecca to divert from her attack, but the Phantomas are soon destroyed by the remaining Yan, the one piloting the Mummyhead. The Yan states to James that their strange connection will end now, and Rebecca takes the opportunity to grapple Dolores and hold her down. Rebecca screams that if James and Dolores die Radium will notice her. Unfortunately though, the Yan turns and fires upon the Selkis as well as Dolores, which causes the Selkis to slam into the Orbital Elevator, causing heavy damage as well as tearing the cockpit open. As Rebecca is about to slip into free space, James opens Dolores’ cockpit and leaps after her. James and Rebecca then end up hanging from the Elevator’s side while Dolores is trapped in a pile of scrap metal. The Mummyhead lines up for the killing shot, and James is shocked to see that the Yan is willing to shoot through one of his own to kill him. The Yan simply comments that compared to Mars’ future, one person’s life means little, which takes Rebecca back. But before it can fire, Dolores frees herself and tackles the Mummyhead, both frames going into a dive. Yan yells he’ll take Isis with him and ensnares Dolores in a cable just as his frame explodes. As James’ grip begins to slip, he gripes at how he can’t even pull up one child. Rebecca demands to know why he’s saving her, but James tells her to shut up as she’s ruining his concentration. The entire station shakes as Radium’s attack on Anchor Station begins, and he and the image of Dolores Hayes can only laugh as Earth’s final destruction begins.

 

Commentary

 

Now this is the kind of action I’ve been waiting on for a while now. A grand melee between literally thousands of UNSF Phantomas and BAHRAM Raptors, which makes the battles back on Mars look like minor skirmishes, all with James and co. caught in the middle and the Earth’s survival in the balance. What more can one ask for? Anyway, now that we’re in the final stretch of the series, a lot of things happen, namely the traditional character deaths. At long last all of the Yan doppelgangers are dead, and the one that hunted James and his family in the earlier part of the series got a dramatic one at that, seemingly taking Dolores with him. Unfortunately for him, it’s pretty obvious that she survives his kamikaze attack; it’d be too anti-climatic if she was killed in that manner, especially before her final battle with Hathor. And along with the Yans, Rully also dies here, interestingly doing something that even he himself admitted was out of character. I guess despite being the stereotype soldier boy that only cared about the mission, he still somehow cared for Axel and possibly Rebecca; funny how that’s the thing that got him killed. I suppose that would make his death tragic, but I really didn’t care for his character to begin with, so I’m rather apathetic on the subject. One death I almost wish would happen however is Rebecca’s; even when it’s so obvious that Radium doesn’t care about her or anyone else that Axel and Rully are pointing it out, she still wants to win the guy’s approval. Even the idea of being responsible for the death of an entire planet doesn’t seem to get to her, as long as it’s for Radium. Yeah, I know how there’s a stereotype on teenage girls always looking for their father’s approval, no matter how much of a scumbag dad can be, but this is borderline obsession. You’d think James would realize by now she’s beyond his help; in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised the moment that he pulls her and himself up, she’ll draw a gun on him and just start the whole thing over again. Oh well. Other than that, I have to comment on how much of a damn good strategist Radium’s become over the years. Despite the massive defense the UNSF put up with the mass catchers, the Moon rail cannon barrage and everything else, Radium was able to effectively anticipate and counter each of those defenses without losing anything in return. And when an average anime villain would have just smashed through the Elevator with that sheer number of Raptors, Radium chose to use them as a distraction so that he can slip to Anchor Station on Hathor, all the while playing on the UNSF’s fear that he wants to occupy the Elevator rather than drop it. Needless to say, I’m impressed and can’t wait to see what else he’ll do before James and Dolores stop his evil scheme.

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Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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ZOE Dolores, i Episode 24 ZOE Dolores, i Episode 24

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