In the desert, Andy Waltfeld and his men examine the nearby Archangel. He tells his assistant Martin DaCosta that he wants to attack it and test its capabilities. The men ask if they can destroy it, and he says they’ll do that when the time comes. He reminds them that Rau’s team couldn’t shoot the ship down, and that Halberton sacrificed his fleet to get the Archangel to Earth. In the Archangel‘s hangar, Mu and Murdoch work on preparing the Sky Graspers for Mu to use. Elsewhere, Murrue sleeps in her room and holds a locket in her hands. Miriallia and Tolle come out of their room to head to the bridge to begin their shift. They see Sai talking at Flay’s door, and none of them realize that she isn’t there. Tolle tells Miriallia that he never realized Flay was engaged to Sai. He says that she’s been acting weird, and he hopes things don’t become strange. On the bridge, Chandra shows Kuzzey a map of Earth outlining Neutron Jammer activity. Kuzzey asks about removing them, but Chandra says that’s impossible because they’re buried too deeply and because no one knows how many there are. He explains that N-Jammers disrupt all nuclear reactions and make using nuclear weapons impossible. Natarle comes to the bridge and gives Neumann a drink. She asks him about his report, and he explains that the land in the area is unstable. Andy decides it is time to attack and sends out Agile attack helicopters ahead of the quadruped BuCUE mobile suits. A battle alert is sounded, and Murrue rushes to the bridge. Kira gets out of bed and gets dressed while Flay stays in the bed. After he leaves, she laughs and cries and hopes that he’ll protect her and destroy all the enemies. As the Agiles begin attacking, the Archangel fires back. Mu tells Murdoch he wants to go out, but Murdoch says that the Sky Grasper isn’t ready. Kira calls the bridge and demands to be sent out. Murrue doesn’t like his tone, but she gives him the order to launch. Kira launches in the Launcher Strike Gundam and crashes into the sand. The Agiles begin to attack him as he sinks deeper into the sand. Andy watches the battle from nearby and orders the BuCUEs to launch.
As Kira struggles to move in the sand, the BuCUEs move in and attack. He tries to shoot at them with the Agni cannon, but their high level of mobility allows them to dodge all of his shots. He jumps around in the air to shoot them, but they are still able to dodge his shots. Andy watches the battle from nearby and sees that the Strike Gundam and its pilot are both pretty good. As Kira jumps in the air, he quickly modifies the OS and the motion control systems so that the Launcher Strike can run on the sand without sinking into it. He lands on the ground and kicks away a BuCUE. He then jumps onto it and destroys it with the Agni cannon. Andy has the Lesseps fires its main guns at the Archangel, and Murrue has the Archangel quickly take off to avoid the attack. Mu is finally able to launch in the Sky Grasper and sets off to find the Lesseps. With three BuCUEs and several Agiles remaining, Kira suddenly goes into SEED mode and begins destroying the Agiles and fires at the rounds fired by the Lesseps. As he continues to fight, the Strike Gundam’s power begins to drain from overuse of the Agni. Murrue wants the Archangel move forward to cover Kira, but Natarle says he wouldn’t be able to withstand a hit from them without his Phase Shift. Kira is surrounded by Agiles, and they are destroyed by armed half trucks from the Desert Dawn guerillas. Cagalli establishes a direct radio line with Kira and tells him that if he wants to live he’ll listen to her instructions. She shows him a map and tells him that a trap has been set up nearby and he needs to lure the BuCUEs there. Kira begins jumping over the sand and leads the BuCUEs to the designated area. Cagalli sets off powerful explosives that destroy the three BuCUEs. Andy orders his forces to retreat, and the Strike Gundam lands in the sand and Phase Shifts down. Mu reports that the enemy flagship is the Lesseps, and Murrue realizes that ship belongs to Andy.
This episode has stirred up quite a bit of controversy, for no real reason. At the beginning, it’s quite clear that Kira and Flay had sex. This technically makes Kira the first Gundam protagonist to have sex during a series, and some have hailed this as a sign of daring and creativity. I don’t think so. Sex is sex, and throwing a bit of it into Gundam is certainly nothing special or noteworthy. Neither is the constant fanservice and any attempt to show off Murrue’s breasts. Kira’s encounter is somewhat relevant to the plot, since Flay is using him to get revenge on ZAFT for her father’s death. Kira, being as naïve as he is, plays into her hands completely. This episode also introduces Andy Waltfeld, who is the Ramba Ral of this series. We also get to see the dog-like mobile suit BuCUE. Introducing a dog mobile suit to Gundam is one of the worst ideas I’ve ever seen. This thing looks like it’s some reject from Zoids.