Although the Union forces helped end the attempted coup in Azadistan’s capital, terrorist attacks continue. Marina addresses the citizens on TV and urges them to stay calm. Shirin informs Marina that even though they’re working with the Union, they have yet to find Massoud. Shirin thinks to herself that the situation can’t get any worse since the Union is involved and Celestial Being appeared. On Wang’s VTOL plane, Lockon raises the possibility that a third party was in involved in setting off Azadistan’s civil war and kidnapping Massoud. Although it’s his opinion, he tells Hong Long that even Veda has predicted this possibility. Wang asks why he thinks that, and he points out that a long-range missile attack was carried out on the solar energy receiver antenna, most likely by a mobile suit. Because of that, Lockon has sent Setsuna to investigate the site. Setsuna scans the area on foot and picks up residual traces of a mobile suit. As he climbs a hill, he quickly hides behind a rock when he spots Billy and Graham on the other side. Billy begins to say something, but Graham stops him and calls out to Setsuna, saying it’s rude to eavesdrop. Setsuna reveals himself, and using a boyish voice, he claims that he’s there because he heard there was a battle in the area. Billy tells him that the area is still dangerous, so Setsuna excuses himself and begins to walk off. Graham asks Setsuna what he thinks about the civil war and which side he’s on. Setsuna says that he’s on neither and that both sides have their justifications, but the end result is that people still die. Setsuna thinks that the presence of soldiers will cause more death, but Graham points out that Setsuna is also fighting and asks about the gun that he’s hiding behind his back. He then switches topics and asks Billy about the recent attack being carried out by an AEU Enact, which was stolen from PMC Trust. As they walk off, Billy asks Graham why he did that, and Graham answers that his tongue slipped. Setsuna thinks about that information and realizes that it must be Ali who’s responsible. As Howard and Daryl fly a patrol over the city in their Flags, more terrorist bombs explode, but there’s nothing they can do in the air with their mobile suits. At the royal palace, a woman comes to see Marina and pulls out a gun, declaring that Marina is a reformist puppet. Before she can shoot, two bodyguards open fire and kill her. Setsuna calls Lockon and tells him that he wants to investigate a specific location. As Lockon prepares to leave, Wang asks him to bring Hong Long along because he’s good at rescuing people. In an abandoned town, Ali expresses annoyance over how Celestial Being has disrupted his plans. His men then call him and inform him that the Gundam Exia is approaching.
Setsuna approaches the abandoned town where he fought years earlier as a guerilla. Ali realizes that Setsuna must be the pilot of the Gundam since he knew about their hiding place. Setsuna rushes in to attack when Ali appears with his Enact. Setsuna contacts Ali and asks him why he’s here if the war is over and the Krugis nation has been destroyed. Ali fires at Setsuna, but Setsuna dodges his attacks and returns fire. After slicing into the Enact, he angrily demands to know why Ali is here and where his God is, but Ali refuses to answer. Ali then slams into Setsuna and slams him into the ground. He says that the Gundam is wasted on Setsuna and tries to rip the cockpit open. Setsuna uses his GN sword to slice off the Enact’s right arm, forcing Ali to withdraw. At the same time, Ali’s men escape from the town with Massoud in tow. As they travel across the desert at night, they come across the Gundam Dynames, which opens fire. When the trucks stop, a masked Hong Long dropkicks two of the mercenaries. In the next truck, three men point guns at Massoud’s head. Hong Long demands that they hand him over, and Lockon kills all three with a personal sniper rifle. Massoud asks Hong Long who he is, and Hong Long explains that he’s with Celestial Being. The Gundam Exia then lands nearby, and Setsuna asks Massoud to get in. On the Ptolemaios, Tieria yells at Sumeragi about her plan, but Allelujah agrees with her and says that they need to display their beliefs to the world. At the royal palace, Marina is informed that Celestial Being sent a message stating that they will hand over Massoud and that they want her to begin cease fire negotiations. Later, protesters gather outside the palace and are held back by the army, with Graham and his men watching from nearby. Leaders from around the world watch news reports of Celestial Being’s alleged rescue of Massoud. Louise and Saji also watch the news, but her mother sits too close to Saji for her comfort. The unarmed Gundam Exia lands in the courtyard and approaches the palace. Shirin can’t believe it came without weapons, and Marina gives orders for the army to not open fire. However, several men in the crowd open fire on the Gundam Exia because they want it to leave their holy land. Setsuna ignores them and slowly walks forward. Four Anfs demand that he hand over Massoud and open fire. Setsuna absorbs the damage and continues walking forward, and the Anfs are forced to make way for him. After reaching the balcony, Setsuna opens the cockpit, and Massoud thanks him before leaving. Although Setsuna’s face is masked by his visor, Marina calls out to him, and he tells her that what happens from this point on will determine if Celestial Being returns. As Setsuna leaves, Howard and Daryl want to give chase, but Graham says that if they do so, the entire world will turn against them. Lockon wonders if the problem will go away, and Wang says it probably won’t, but they’re a step closer to the day when people stop fighting. Later, Marina and Massoud issue a joint statement calling for an end to the civil war and terrorist attacks, but the fighting continues.
The end of this episodes closes off the first quarter of the series, as well as the Azadistan arc. There’s quite a few things going on here. First, Setsuna has an encounter with Billy and Graham, and Graham seems to know exactly who Setsuna is, despite Setsuna playing dumb with a softer voice. However, Graham’s accidental “tongue slip” gives Setsuna the necessary information he needs to realize that Ali was the one behind the civil ware’s incitement. The past sort of comes back here, as Setsuna confronts Ali in the place where he fought earlier as a child guerilla. Also, by being able to safely return Massoud, Setsuna does his part and is able to “become the Gundam.” Although Setsuna, Lockon and Hong Long manage to ruin Ali’s plans, I’m sure he’ll be back later. The rescue of Massoud was certainly a bit odd, with masked Hong Long beating up mercenaries and Lockon showing his skills with a real sniper rifle. In the end, I think handing over Massoud will give Celestial Being some much-needed PR spin. Rather than just being a mysterious group that throws its power around, they’ve shown themselves as being capable of stopping violence and being some part of a peace process. Although the fighting doesn’t stop, Graham understands what’s going on and how the world will now see Celestial Being.