In 2009 a.t.b., Lelouch requests an audience with Charles following the assassination of Marianne. Nobles think to themselves about how Lelouch has no standing now, and the Ashford family that supported him is ruined. Lelouch reports that his mother is dead, and Charles answers that he has no time to play with children. Lelouch demands to know why Charles didn’t protect Marianne, or why he didn’t visit wounded Nunnally. Charles says he has no time for the weak, and that’s the nature of the Imperial family. Lelouch renounces his succession to the throne, and Charles tells Lelouch he’s been dead since the day he was born because he’s been given everything he has. Charles then declares that Lelouch and Nunnally will go to Japan as political hostages. In the present, Cornelia tours a Knightmare facility with Lloyd and orders him to promote Suzaku from Private to Lieutenant. At the Lancelot hangar, Cecile helps Suzaku with his homework and offers him strange blueberry onigiri. At the academy, Kallen and Shirley set up a cat house inside the clubhouse. Shirley asks Kallen if she’s hiding anything, and Kallen discreetly pulls out her pouch knife. Shirley asks Kallen if she’s dating Lelouch and says that she saw them kissing, but Kallen tries to explain that she isn’t. In the principal’s office, Milly speaks with her mother about a marriage proposal that promises to rebuild the Ashford family’s prestige. Elsewhere, Britannian forces surround the Saitama ghetto to trap the Fierce Yamato terrorists. Cornelia plans her attack with Guilford and Darlton. A media employee wonders why the time of the attack is being announced, and Diethard sees that Cornelia is trying to provoke Zero. Cornelia thinks that Zero is a theatrical criminal, so she’s created a situation identical to Shinjuku to draw him out. She hopes he’ll be overconfident enough to try to kill her as he did Clovis. As Lelouch prepares his Britannian soldier’s outfit, C.C. asks him if it’s more important to destroy Britannia or find out who murdered his mother, to which he answers that they’re one and the same. He says that Charles forces the Imperial family into conflict to decide the successor, but C.C. thinks that survival of the fittest is the law of nature. Lelouch asks what happens to Nunnally in a world like that, and C.C. pulls a gun on him. Suzaku walks in as Kallen leaves and asks where Lelouch is, but a crying Shirley tells him she doesn’t know. C.C. tells Lelouch not to go because it’d be a hindrance to her if he died before fulfilling his contract. Lelouch pulls out a gun of his own, and when she asks if he thinks she’s afraid of guns, he puts it to his head. He says he was just a lifeless corpse until he met her, and as he begins to squeeze the trigger, she relents. At Saitama, Britannian soldiers begin firing into crowds of civilians. Cornelia gives the order to destroy the ghetto. Jeremiah wonders why the Purists haven’t been given orders, and Kewell says it’s because they have an Orange with them. Disguised as a soldier, Lelouch uses Geass to steal a Sutherland.
Lelouch contacts the terrorists and tells them to follow him if they want to win. As he did in Shinjuku, Lelouch directs the battlefield like a chess board and has the terrorists destroy Britannian forces. Since things are proceeding smoothly, he decides to lure out Cornelia. The terrorists attack and destroy a bridge filled with Sutherlands and tanks, and Cornelia orders a retreat to the ghetto’s outskirts. Lelouch thinks that things are too easy and decides to infiltrate the retreating troops so he can get close to Cornelia. At the school, Shirley talks to Suzaku about Lelouch and says that she didn’t like him when she first met him. But in the first year of school, she saw him help the victim of a traffic accident and began to look at him differently. Suzaku calls Lelouch to ask about Kallen and how he feels about Shirley, but Shirley hangs the phone up and struggles with Suzaku, causing him to trip and fall on her. As the Sutherlands assemble in the ghetto, Cornelia sends someone else out in her custom Gloucester. Lelouch calls a terrorist piloting a Sutherland and tells him to pretend to be Britannian. Lelouch plans to use that terrorist as bait, but the Gloucesters destroy him without checking his ID. Lelouch orders another terrorist to emit a friendly signal, but as Britannians close in, he orders them to fall back instead. The terrorists abandon Lelouch and surrender, but Cornelia orders them killed. Lelouch realizes that things aren’t going as he planned. Cornelia then orders all Sutherland pilots to exit their cockpits and show their faces. Lelouch panics and runs through several possibilities of how he can escape. The Gloucesters pull up next to his Sutherland and demand that he show himself. Lelouch lies that his hatch was damaged in the battle, and the Gloucester pilot orders Lelouch to turn around so he can open the hatch externally. Suddenly, soldiers spot Zero standing on a nearby building. They open fire, and Zero dives off the side of the building. Cornelia wonders if that’s a trap, and Darlton says that they don’t know if that Zero is the real one. Lelouch abandons his Sutherland and heads into the sewer, where he finds C.C. dressed as Zero. He says he should’ve won because the conditions were the same as Shinjuku, but C.C. tells him he needs a special power to take advantage of those conditions. Lelouch declares that he’ll obtain that power by building his own army.
Things begin to move again with this episode. The opener shows some more insight about Charles, as he sticks with his line about the weak being useless. He holds his own family to that and pits them against each other to weed out the weak from the strong. In the present, we witness Lelouch’s first defeat. After acquiring the Geass and pulling off two surprise victories, he’s become overconfident. He falls for Cornelia’s trap and assumes things will end as they did in Shinjuku. Clovis was a fool, but Lelouch has clearly underestimated Cornelia, who can strategize on the same level as he can. For a moment, things look really bad for him until he’s saved by C.C. masquerading as Zero. Now that he’s had his first defeat, Lelouch plans to fight back with his own army.