Al takes multiple pictures of the Gundam Alex and stops when he hears two EFF soldiers coming around the corner. By the time they reach the vending machines where he was standing, he’s managed to climb up to a pipe to hide. Bernie is furious upon Al’s return to the airlock, and Al explains that he saw a mobile suit. Bernie asks if it was a GM, and Al answers that he doesn’t know what it’s called but he got pictures of it. At the warehouse, Steiner watches a TV news report about the Riah Republic protesting the second incursion of their territory by Zeon. Another news item mentions that legislation was approved to ban all Zeon ships from Side 6. At night, Garcia ventures into the town’s red light district and visits the Pink Elephant bar. The bartender, Charlie, announces that they’re closed, but Garcia sits down and says the code phrase of requesting a flat beer. Garcia follows Charlie into a storage room to use a computer to find data on the potential EFF base, which they think is a rented civilian facility. Charlie finds the information and gives Garcia a map to a converted factory and the building’s blueprints. He notes that the blueprints are from before the renovation and shouldn’t be relied upon, and he asks Garcia to deliver a letter to Steiner. Bernie and Al exit the Colony Corporation service tunnels, and Bernie comments that Al is an optimist to assume that his pictures came out fine. Al doesn’t know what that means, and Bernie explains that it means thinking things will never go wrong. Al then prints out some of his pictures of the Gundam Alex. Back at the warehouse, Garcia punches Bernie in the face and calls him an idiot for pulling such a stunt and putting the mission at risk. Steiner tells them both to knock it off, and Misha comments that what’s done is done. Steiner orders Garcia to go back to the bar and order them some uniforms. He then tells Bernie to drive Al home and to never pull a stunt like that again. Bernie tries to wake Al up after pulling up in front of his house, and he sees that Al’s sketchbook contains drawings of all of them. Al refuses to wake up, so Bernie carries him next door and asks Chris to take him. Bernie leaves him on the couch and Chris covers him with a blanket. Outside, Chris offers to tell Michiko that Al was there playing and fell asleep. She formally refers to him as Mr. Wiseman in her goodbye, but he tells her that he prefers Bernie. As the town decorates for Christmas, Misha stops into a store to pick up tools that he ordered. Elsewhere, Garcia poses as a repairman and plants explosives in a building. Misha parks a truck full of supplies in a public lot. At school, a student asks Al why he’s drawing an enemy mobile suit like the Zaku. Al doesn’t agree, and the boy counters that this is what the news says. Al asks Telcott and Chay for their opinions, and they agree that Zeon are enemies. Al thinks that Zakus are cooler and more powerful than GMs, and the boy counters that the best mobile suit is the Gundam. Al doesn’t know the name, and Chay says he heard it’s already destroyed over 100 Zakus. Chay then comments that Zeon are scum, and Telcott adds that only scum likes scum. They then say that Al has been acting weird recently and stopped playing with them. Dorothy tells them to go back to their seats, and Chay assumes that she and Al must be dating now. Steiner meets Charlie at a public park, and Charlie explains that the Cyclops team is just a decoy to find the Gundam. Steiner had suspected that when he was assigned a total rookie like Bernie as a replacement soldier and told to find an escape ship on their own. Steiner assumes there are other plans, and Charlie hands over the uniforms they ordered. Charlie suggests running because the war is going to end soon, and Steiner comments that Zeon is going to lose. At the warehouse, Bernie tells Al that the mobile suit they found is a new model Gundam. Al asks if they can beat it, and Bernie jokingly says it’s a piece of cake before admitting that their odds are probably 50-50. Bernie asks if Chris has said anything about him, but Al answers that she hasn’t. Later, Steiner shows the team a computer map of the EFF-controlled buildings and the factory where the Gundam is located. Misha displays the locations where he’s stashed weapons for the Kampfer, and Garcia outlines where they’ll blow a hole in the colony’s outer wall to escape. Steiner outlines the plan, which calls for Misha piloting the Kampfer through the city streets to create a distraction for the rest of the team. Steiner explains that they don’t know if the Gundam is operational, so their only options are to steal or destroy it. As the team prepares, Garcia tells Bernie not to get killed because he likes having someone he can order around. Al calls the warehouse and tells Bernie that Chris is going to let him visit the base tomorrow, but Bernie tells him not to go. Bernie yells at Al to stay away from the base and hangs up. Steiner has a smoke and Misha has a drink to offer a toast to those who are about to die.
Dressed as EFF soldiers, Bernie, Steiner and Garcia enter the Colony Corporation service tunnels and use a blowtorch to cut through one of the reinforced doors. Al arrives at the U.N. Medical Center for his appointment with Professor Dick Lumumba. In his laboratory, Lumumba is interviewed by a reporter and dismisses rumors that the facility is secretly a military installation. The reporter notes that Lumumba’s research is in mechanical arms and that mobile suit technology is used to design mechanical arms and legs. Lumumba retorts that toasters and cannons share similar technology, and he ends the interview when Al arrives. Steiner and Bernie stand guard outside the control center while Garcia kills the two soldiers inside. Another soldier makes small talk with them, and they both claim to have just transferred. The soldier comments on Bernie’s accent and asks if he’s from Australia, and Bernie answers that he was born and raised in Sydney. The soldier asks if Sydney is a nice place, and Bernie comments that at this time of year the city would be covered with snow. Inside the control room, Garcia accesses a computer and disables the warning system. Elsewhere, Misha takes off in the Kampfer and smashes through the warehouse. An officer from the Riah Republic calls the EFF about the Kampfer, and he’s told by Capt. Stuart of the Gray Phantom that the EFF will only act as back up for Riah. Stuart comments that it would do the Riah soldiers good to have some real combat experience. Stuart has the Gray Phantom enter the colony and orders that GMs and Guncannons form a defense line if the Kampfer approaches them. Al uses the mechanical arms in the lab, and Lumumba explains that the control system is still too big for humans to use. Al comments that mobile suits are useful, and Lumumba responds that they’re a necessary evil and were never made to make anyone happy. Citizens flee in terror as the Kampfer walks through the city’s streets. The Riah Defense Forces deploy Missile Cars and light Draken E mobile suits to confront the Kampfer. While Lumumba is distracted by a phone call about the Kampfer, Al steals his security card and slips away. The Kamper speeds through a street toward the residential block, and Bernie and the others reach the hangar where the Gundam Alex is stored. The soldier they spoke to earlier chases after them and aims his machine gun at Bernie, noting that at this time of year it’s summer in Australia. Al rides the elevator down to the mobile suit hangar, and EFF soldiers search Bernie and Steiner and find Zeon guns. Steiner taps his foot, and Garcia opens fire from the stairs, killing several soldiers. Bernie and Steiner attack the soldiers nearest to them, and Steiner is shot while tossing a shotgun to Bernie. Al hides next to some crates while Bernie uses the shotgun to kill a soldier and Garcia shoots several more with two machine guns. A soldier from across the hangar fires his machine gun and hits Garcia. Outside, a Missile Car opens fire at the Kampfer and instead hit Al’s school. Misha uses his shotgun to take out the Missile Care and a Draken-E. The Gray Phantom launches the Scarlet team, which includes two GM Sniper IIs, several GM Commands and the Guncannon Mass Production Type. Misha uses his shotgun and sturm fausts to shoot them down before they can even land on the ground. A destroyed Guncannon crashes into a civilian area and causes a massive blackout. Garcia makes a run for the area where Bernie is barricaded with the mortally wounded Steiner. Misha destroys the last suit of the Scarlet team, and Stuart orders Chris to launch in the Gundam Alex. She objects to fighting in the colony, and Stuart asks if she’d prefer the Zeon to capture the Gundam. Garcia tells Bernie to escape with Steiner while he stays behind to destroy the Gundam. Garcia makes a run for the Gundam Alex with several mines, and Al watches him take another shot. Mortally wounded, Garcia triggers the mines and blows himself up, which damages the hangar but leaves the Gundam Alex intact. Bernie uses the chaos from the blast to drag Steiner away, while Chris runs toward the Gundam Alex’s cockpit. Al, having been knocked away by the force of Garcia’s blast, sees Chris from behind as she enters the Gundam Alex but doesn’t recognize her in a pilot suit. The Kampfer reaches the base and continues attacking, blasting a hole in the roof and giving it a clear shot at the Gundam Alex. Chris uses her thrusters to smash through the building and dodge. Misha gets in close to fire the shotgun again, but the Gundam Alex’s Chobham armor absorbs the shot. Al runs out of the building and watches the Gundam Alex draw its beam saber. Misha falls back to one of the trucks where he’d planted weapons and pulls a chain mine out of the trailer. Misha wraps the chain mines around the Gundam Alex and detonates them, but the suit is completely intact after shedding its Chobham armor. Misha tries to get in close to attack with a beam saber, but Chris fires her Gatling cannon and hits the cockpit, killing Misha. The explosives that Garcia set earlier detonate, blasting a small hole in the colony’s outer wall. Al runs away and finds Bernie with the dying Steiner in his arms.
There’s an old cliche that states “no plan survives contact with the enemy” and that’s definitely true in this episode. Bernie is reprimanded for pulling a foolish stunt in infiltrating the EFF base, but in the end it’s a much smaller slip up that causes everything to go south. Bernie claims to be from Australia and erroneously states that Australia is covered in snow in December, when in fact it’s still summer in the Southern Hemisphere. However, I wouldn’t expect a Spacenoid to know about the nuances of Earth seasons. The mention of Sydney has led many people to claim a continuity error because the city was destroyed by the colony drop in Operation British at the start of the war. While this is a well-established piece of lore now, that wasn’t the case in 1989. In fact, it wasn’t until Gundam 0083 in1991 that it was officially established that Sydney was the city destroyed in the colony drop, not the generic city that had been depicted in Mobile Suit Gundam. The Cyclops team puts up a good fight on all fronts, but in the end it’s not enough to accomplish a mission that was meant to fail. Misha scores several impressive skills, but in the end the light armor that boosts his mobility was his undoing. Al, having ignored Bernie’s demands to avoid the base, has now witnessed events that are surely traumatizing for a child. Of course, with two episodes left, the trauma isn’t over yet.
Original Review: June 3, 2000