As one of the Ikaruga‘s shuttles takes off Minami asks Ohgi if it’s ok for him to stay behind, but Ohgi answers that it’s his responsibility to evacuate everyone. In the air, another FLEIJA bomb detonates, and Lelouch gives orders for his forces to keep charging in and force Damocles to fire FLEIJA continuously. Schneizel tells Nunnally that the next FLEIJA warhead has been prepared, so she pulls the trigger. Another FLEIJA warhead detonates, causing Lelouch to realize that real-time tactics are meaningless now. Jeremiah hopes to break through and attacks with all of the Sutherland Sieg‘s weapons, but they’re deflected by a massive Blaze Luminous shield protecting Damocles. Cecile tells Lelouch that if Damocles continues to ascend, they won’t be able to attack it anymore. Lelouch asks Suzaku if he can break through, but Suzaku says Damocles’ energy output exceeds his own. C.C. launches in the Lancelot Frontier and says if their attacks are ineffective, it’s the same as sitting around. Lelouch orders the remaining forces to gather around the Avalon and charge into Damocles. Lloyd asks if that’s ok, and Lelouch takes his presence on the bridge to mean he has a solution. Li asks Schneizel if he intends to kill the hostages, and Schneizel gives him 10 minutes to rescue them. Milly comments to Rivalz that their student council members are fighting the world, and he laments not being able to protect Nina. The Avalon is hit from the rear by a Black Knights force led by Li’s Shen-Hu, so Suzaku’s Lancelot Albion moves to intercept. He and Li begin fighting with swords, and Suzaku cuts off part of the Shen-Hu’s flight pack. He tries to make a killing blow, but he’s knocked away when Tohdoh slams into him with his damaged Zangetsu. Tohdoh asks him what he desires, and when Suzaku answers that he desires the future, Tohdoh tells him that future is meaningless. Suzaku then slashes into the Zangetsu, forcing Tohdoh to eject his cockpit and be rescued by Chiba’s Akatsuki Zikisan. Chiba attacks Suzaku, and while he’s distracted, Li fires his baryon cannon at the Avalon and disables its primary float system. Black Knights forces invade the ship, and Suzaku slashes apart Tamaki’s Akatsuki, forcing him to eject too. Inside the ship Li’s forces search for the hostages. Lelouch tells everyone they’ve served him well and leaves the bridge. Schneizel wonders if he should fire FLEIJA and take out the Black Knights too, but he decides that would be too greedy. Lelouch tells Nina that what he’s going to do is his own wish, and she says that must be Euphemia’s wish as well. She reminds him that he’ll have to enter environmental data into the final program or it won’t work. She wants to come along, but Lelouch tells her she’s given Euphemia’s murderer enough help already. Nina says she can’t forgive Zero, but she wanted to find her own answer. Lelouch meets with C.C. in the hangar, and she tells him he may have to kill Nunnally himself. He says he will if she becomes an obstacle to Zero Requiem, and C.C. asks if he hates her for giving him Geass. He answers that it’s because of Geass he was able to take his first step, but just then Kallen’s Guren SEITEN smashes into the hangar. She tries to blast Lelouch with her radiation wave, but C.C. attacks with the Lancelot Frontier. Lelouch escapes in the Shinkirou and flies toward Damocles. Schneizel orders his men to drop the Blaze Luminous and target FLEIJA at the Shinkirou. Nunnally pushes the trigger, and Lelouch begins the calculations to override FLEIJA 19 seconds before it detonates. Suzaku then grabs a lance attached to the Shinkirou and tosses it at the FLEIJA warhead, causing the bomb to disappear. Lelouch uses his absolute protection territory to keep a hole open in the Blaze Luminous and allow Suzaku to break through. Nunnally drops the trigger key and falls out of her wheelchair to look for it.
Schneizel comments that Lelouch has done well to force him to use his last strategy: escape and trap Lelouch inside Damocles before destroying it with FLEIJA. Lelouch and Suzaku speed inside Damocles, and a Vincent Ward following them is destroyed by Gino’s Tristan Divider. Gino declares that he doesn’t acknowledge Lelouch and cuts off the Shinkirou’s right arm at the elbow joint. Lelouch fires his cannon, but Gino dodges. Suzaku steps in and tells Lelouch to escape, but Gino throws a sword through the Shinkirou as it speeds off. Lelouch ejects from the cockpit and escapes on foot before the Shinkirou explodes. Suzaku asks Gino if they have to fight, and Gino says he wants to protect what’s in his heart. FLEIJA’s target is changed to inside Damocles, and as Lelouch runs to the control room, Schneizel, Kanon and Diethard take an elevator away from there. Schneizel says that Damocles and FLEIJA are just weapons that can be rebuilt, but Kanon points out that the Toromo Institution doesn’t have the resources anymore. Schneizel counters that many people will be happy to build the weapon that rid the world of its enemy – Lelouch. Kanon is worried that will lead to terrorism and thinks they should get Nunnally’s opinion, but Diethard says the bait doesn’t matter. Kanon asks if they’re going to abandon her, and Schneizel comments that world peace can’t be compared to a single life. Nunnally blindly searches for the key and says she must stop Lelouch. Outside, Jeremiah comes under attack from Anya’s Mordred. Kallen destroys several Vincent Wards while fighting C.C.’s Lancelot Frontier. Kallen says C.C. fights for nothing, but when C.C. gives a reason, Kallen asks if that means she loves Lelouch. Kallen closes in and slashes into the Lancelot Frontier, forcing C.C. to eject the cockpit. Schneizel enters his shuttle and gets a video call from Lelouch in the control room. Schneizel asks if this is a checkmate, unaware that all the guards outside the shuttle have been Geassed. He asks Lelouch how he figured out his strategy, and Lelouch answers that he read Schneizel’s nature. Lelouch says that Schneizel always plays chess from where he can’t lose, but this time he’ll lose. The Avalon crashes into the ocean, and Tianzi runs out of an elevator and greets Li. Sayoko says they’re allies and that Lelouch threatened them, which Kaguya believes. On the Black Knights island Viletta asks about Ohgi. In a hospital bed Cornelia tells Guilford that Schneizel has no ambition and would’ve been a good king during a peaceful time. Lelouch asks Schneizel if he wants to control the world with Damocles and Schneizel answers that he just wants to create the peace everyone wants. Lelouch believes that Schneizel wants to suspend the world in its current state, and while Charles yearned for the past, he wants the future. Schneizel thinks the future will lead people to having ambitions, and Lelouch answers that people are always rebelling against misfortune. Schneizel tells Lelouch to kill him, and he’s surprised when Lelouch taps him on the shoulder and uses Geass to order him to serve Zero. Diethard grabs a guard’s gun and tries to kill Lelouch, but Schneizel shoots him. As he dies, Diethard asks to be killed by Geass, but Lelouch says he’s not worth it. Lelouch orders Schneizel to deactivate the self-destruct, and Schneizel points out that Nunnally has the FLEIJA trigger. Outside, Suzaku continues to fight Gino and slices off the Tristan Divider’s lower half, but Gino manages to destroy the Blaze Luminous generator with a slash harken and let Kallen in. Lelouch enters the room where Nunnally is and says he wants the trigger because it’s too dangerous for her. He’s shocked when she opens her eyes and asks if he’s going to use Geass on her too.
As the penultimate episode, Schneizel is taken out of the equation with the same trick Lelouch used earlier on Mao. It was easier to believe the first time because Mao was basically a moron, so I’m having a tough time believing Lelouch could predict an entire conversation with Schneizel and pre-record his responses. Still, it was worth it to see the look of surprise on Schneizel’s face when Lelouch appears in the shuttle. As an unstable egomaniac, it’s not surprising to see Diethard meet a bad end here, which is perfectly topped off by Lelouch telling him he’s not worth being killed by Geass. We learn that Cornelia did survive the machine gunning Schneizel gave her, but it’s odd to see her express admiration for him. It’s also surprising to see Guilford alive, but I guess it’s possible since his Vincent was at the outer edge of the first FLEIJA explosion. The poor old Lancelot comes back with an ugly new paint scheme for C.C., only to be taken down by Kallen. As far as mecha battles go, it’s obviously going to come down to the final confrontation between Suzaku and Kallen. This series has always loved its cliffhangers, and this last opportunity to do one isn’t missed since it ends with Nunnally opening her eyes and countering the Geass Charles put on her eight years earlier.