Lelouch climbs down from the Gawain and reveals himself to Cornelia without his mask. Cornelia notes that Darlton’s analysis was correct: Zero is a man with a grudge against the Britannian royal family. Cornelia asks if he’s doing this for Nunnally’s sake, and Lelouch says that to do so he will destroy the world and create a new era. Cornelia yells at him for causing destruction and killing Clovis and Euphemia for such nonsense. Lelouch uses Geass and asks Cornelia if she killed Marianne, but she says she didn’t. He asks if she knows who did, and she answers that she doesn’t know. Lelouch points out that she commanded the guards back then and asks why they were removed, to which Cornelia answers that she was asked to remove them, by Marianne herself. Lelouch can’t believe that his mother would’ve known someone was after her, because they would’ve escaped. He asks who knows about her death, and Cornelia tells him that Schneizel moved Marianne’s body under Charles’ orders. Just then, C.C. senses something and tells Lelouch to come back because Nunnally is being kidnapped. Lelouch thinks that she’s joking, but she says someone is taking Nunnally to Kaminejima. Just then, Jeremiah smashes out of the government building in the experimental spherical Knight Giga Fortress Siegfried. Lelouch jumps back into the Gawain, and Jeremiah is infuriated when Lelouch calls him Orange. C.C. tries to take Cornelia hostage, but Jeremiah slams into the Gawain and knocks it away. Bartley wonders how he will explain such a failure to Schneizel. As the Avalon approaches the settlement, Cecile gets into a pilot suit and asks Lloyd if he tried to stop Suzaku because he doesn’t want him to die. At the school, a Burai stands outside of the Gefjun Disturber ring and uses a laser torch to cut into the Lancelot‘s cockpit. C.C. fires the hadron cannons at the Siegfried, but Jeremiah easily dodges. Lelouch calls Ohgi’s phone and instead reaches Black Knight Minami, who informs him that Ohgi has been shot. Lelouch demands to know the situation with Nunnally, and Minami reports that the students escaped after Ohgi was shot. Lelouch then calls Rivalz, who’s hiding with the others outside the school. Lelouch asks if Nunnally is with them, but Rivalz explains they left for a bit. After Lelouch hangs up, a Black Knight discovers them. Lelouch orders a Burai squad to attack the Siegfried, but Jeremiah easily destroys them with a spinning slash harken attack and resumes his pursuit of Lelouch. Lelouch fires the hadron cannons at a building behind Jeremiah, which topples over and buries the Siegfried in a pile of rubble. Milly, Shirley and Rivalz are brought to Tamaki, and Suzaku exits the cockpit. Tamaki tries to shoot Suzaku, but Arthur jumps on the machine gun and causes him to miss. Just then the Avalon arrives, and Cecile attacks with an experimental Sutherland Air equipped with a Float system backpack and the Lancelot’s MSV shields. She destroys the Gefjun Disturber and gives Suzaku a new energy pack, along with a Sutherland‘s left arm. Suzaku then takes off and gets a private call from Cornelia. Lelouch calls Tohdoh and puts him in charge of the battle because he has to leave. Cecile fights off the Black Knights while students are evacuated to the Avalon. Suzaku finds Cornelia, and she tells him that Zero is at Kaminejima. She asks him to clear Euphemia’s name and makes him a real knight. Ohgi asks Kallen to save Zero, and she spots Suzaku flying away. Nina emerges from the underground hangar in the Ganymede, and Lloyd quickly tells everyone not to fire. Rakshata does the same, and Lloyd theorizes that Nina’s bomb could destroy the entire settlement. As Lelouch approaches Kaminejima, he wonders what the point of his war is if Nunnally is gone, even after sacrificing Euphemia.
The Gawain lands outside a small cave and triggers a Geass trap. Lelouch sees images of C.C. dying in World War I, as well as images of her being burned as a witch in the Middle Ages. Having repaired the Guren with a Sutherland arm, Kallen takes off in a Knightmare VTOL and follows after Suzaku. In the vision generated by the trap, C.C. tells Lelouch that she only has her memories as a witch and doesn’t even remember if she was born human or not. C.C. says that everyone she’s ever known has disappeared in time, leaving her alone. Lelouch says she isn’t alone because they’re accomplices, and if she’s a witch, he’ll become a warlock. Lelouch and C.C. snap out of the vision just as Jeremiah attacks with one of his spiked slash harkens. The Gawain takes off, and Jeremiah damages the hadron cannons with his slash harkens. With only one shot left, Lelouch fires into the ocean, kicking up a cloud of vaporized water that obstructs Jeremiah’s view. C.C. tells Lelouch that she’ll take care of Jeremiah while he goes after Nunnally. C.C. tells Lelouch he must win against his own past and the consequences of his actions. She then kisses him and drops him off on the ground. The Gawain takes off, and C.C. fires slash harkens into the Siegfried to grapple onto it. She kicks it and grabs onto it to ram both Knightmares into the water. On the mainland, Guilford and the Glaston Knights begin to turn the tide of the battle against the Black Knights, so Diethard and Kaguya wonder if Zero has abandoned him. At Kaminejima, Lelouch walks through the cave and approaches a large stone door marked with the Geass symbol. Before he can open it, Suzaku shoots at him from behind and orders him to turn around. Lelouch begins to say that Euphemia butchered people, but Suzaku interjects that it must be convenient to have Geass and hide in the shadows while placing responsibility on others. Suzaku calls out Kallen from the shadows and asks her if she wants to know Zero’s true identity. He fires a shot at the mask, which break in half and reveals Lelouch’s face. Kallen falls to the ground in shock, and Suzaku says he doesn’t believe it. Lelouch states that he is indeed the leader of the Black Knights, as well as the man who will soon take over the world. Kallen asks Lelouch if he just used the Japanese, and he tells her that since Japan will be liberated soon, there’s no reason for complaints. Suzaku says he should’ve arrested Lelouch earlier, but he wanted to believe him despite his continued lies. Lelouch asks Suzaku if they can have a truce because Nunnally has been kidnapped. Suzaku tells Lelouch that he’ll betray the world until the very end, and now the world has betrayed him. Lelouch dares Suzaku to shoot him and straps a Sakuradite bomb to his chest that is set to explode if his heart stops. Lelouch asks Suzaku who told him about Geass, and Suzaku says that those things won’t concern him anymore because his existence is a mistake. Lelouch draws his gun, and a shot rings out. As the Gawain sinks into the ocean, C.C. thinks to herself that everything started because Lelouch wanted a bit of happiness like every other person.
Well, that certainly was quite the episode. In a short span of time, everything goes from being in Lelouch’s favor to completely turned against him. There’s some new revelations here, along with new questions. We know from the picture dramas and earlier episodes that the guard was lowered on Marianne just before her assassination, but now we learn that she ordered the dropdown herself. Did she have some kind of foresight about what would happen? C.C. revealed in episode 23 that she talks to Marianne, which is similar to how Charles claimed to speak to dead Clovis. Not only are the Black Knights in trouble, but Lelouch is literally backed into a corner. His true identity is revealed to Suzaku and Kallen, which complicates things even more. The whole scene evokes a feeling similar to the final confrontation between Light and Near in Death Note, as well as the Mexican standoff at the end of Gundam SEED DESTINY. However, no one there had bombs strapped to their chest. Despite the suspense and the fast-paced action, a few things bothered me in this episode. First, and most importantly, is the fact that this is the second time in less than 10 episodes that Nunnally has been kidnapped by a Geass-related person. It would’ve been better if Mao had never kidnapped her back when he did, because now it seems a bit repetitious. Also, it seems as if all the Black Knights turn into useless idiots within minutes of Lelouch leaving the battlefield. Several of them question whether they’ve been abandoned, but only Ohgi seems to understand. In fact, throughout the whole series so far, he’s been the only one to understand Lelouch’s motives without getting caught up in the mystique of the Zero persona. The episode ends with a typical gunshot that we don’t know who fired, and we’ll have to wait for the continuation of this cliffhanger.