In the desert, several VoLPHAU transport planes from Gibraltar unload two ZuOOT units for Andy, along with the Duel Gundam and Buster Gundam. Andy asks why they didn’t get more BuCUEs, and DaCosta explains that Gibraltar couldn’t spare any. He thinks they tried to make up for that by sending two Gundams, but Andy doesn’t like it. Yzak and Dearka only have space combat experience, and he doesn’t care much for where they came from because he dislikes Rau. Andy and DaCosta go out to welcome Yzak and Dearka, and Andy notices Yzak’s scar. He says that when soldiers don’t remove scars it’s because they’ve vowed something to that scar, and Yzak is embarrassed. He asks where the Archangel is, and Andy tells him it is about 180 kilometers to the south at the resistance base. Elsewhere, the resistance fighters load their vehicles up with weapons and ammunition before leaving with the Archangel. Kisaka asks Cagalli about the object she’s looking at, and she tells him it was a piece of malachite ore that belonged to Ahmed. His mother gave it to her because he was planning on doing so himself. On the Lesseps, Andy is informed that the Archangel has launched, so he immediately orders a sortie. In the Archangel‘s mess hall, Mu tells Kira that he needs to hurry up and eat before they go into battle. He hands Kira yogurt sauce for the kebab and says it’s the best, which causes Kira to remember what Andy told him. Mu says that Andy obviously has good taste, but it’s best not to know anything about your enemy. He says it’s harder to fight an enemy if you know them, which makes Kira think of Athrun. The area around the ship suddenly explodes, which were caused by Andy’s men setting off Desert Dawn’s land mines. The Lesseps and Petrie approach and launch their Agiles, and Mu orders both Sky Graspers to be prepared in case he has to switch. Kira asks him what a berserker is, and Mu says it’s a crazed warrior that is usually calm but becomes very strong in battle. Mu then launches in the Launcher Grasper. Murdoch asks Kira if he’ll be ok with the Aile pack, and Kira explains that he needs mobility rather than firepower against BuCUEs. Several BuCUEs launch from the Lesseps, and Kira and Mu destroy several Agiles approaching the Archangel.
Yzak protests Andy’s orders to stay on the deck of the Lesseps, and Andy asks Yzak if Rau lets his subordinates question his orders. He says their suits are designed for long-range artillery and can’t keep up with the speed of the BuCUEs. Yzak says that he and Dearka have experience fighting the Strike Gundam, but Aisha notes their experience is only in losing. Dearka tells him to drop it and tells him he will have a chance in the chaos of battle. Andy in Aisha then launch in the LaGOWE, a commander’s version of the BuCUE. Kira jumps onto a BuCUE and destroys it while Mu uses the Agni cannon to destroy a ZuOOT. Kira beheads a BuCUE and blasts it with his beam rifle, and he slices another in half with his beam saber. When the LaGOWE attacks, he notices that it’s different from the BuCUE and wonders if it’s a commander type unit with Andy inside. Yzak and Dearka attack the Archangel from the deck of the Lesseps, but the power of their beams dissipates in the atmosphere. Yzak jumps off the ship to fight, but he quickly sinks in the sand and is unable to move. The landship Henry Carter appears from behind and attacks the Archangel. Murrue has the ship fly over the ruined Talbadiya factory district, but the ship gets stuck. Kisaka drives up to the ship, and Cagalli jumps off and boards the ship. She gets into the second Sky Grasper unit and tells Murdoch that there’s no time to be wasting units that can fight. He reluctantly agrees and opens the hangar doors for her to launch. Cagalli joins Mu and uses the Sword pack’s rocket anchor and sword to slice the guns off one of the battleships. Dearka fires at the Archangel, but his attack allows the ship to break free and fire back at the Lesseps. Dearka jumps off the damaged ship and also sinks into the sand, while Yzak is attacked by rebels with bazookas. Kira slices off one of the LaGOWE’s legs, but Andy knows that Kira is about to run out of power. With the Lesseps coming under heavy attack, Andy orders DaCosta to gather up the surviving men and retreat to Banadiya. Kira asks Andy to stop because the battle is over, but Andy says he can’t as long as they’re enemies. Andy moves in for a final attack, and the Strike Gundam Phase Shifts down. Kira goes into SEED mode and he ejects his shield and Aile pack. He pulls out his combat knife and plunges one into the LaGOWE. Andy and Aisha embrace before the LaGOWE explodes, and Kira cries because he didn’t want to kill Andy.
As expected, Andy and Aisha launch a futile attack upon Kira. The same thing happened in the original series, but under slightly different circumstances. Whereas Ramba and Hamon attacked out of desperation and a lack of weapons, Andy and Aisha attacked while in a superior position and still lost. Part of that is probably due to the Archangel being practically invincible. No matter how many times that ship is hit, nothing seems to be able to cause it any serious damage. Most of this episode focused on the battle, which is a welcome change from the slow pace. Cagalli shows that she has skills as a pilot, but she still gets shot down. Kira also seems to have improved dramatically and can perform well without using his SEED mode. However, it struck me as odd that he even had to use it. He did much more complicated moves without it, and when he did go into SEED mode, all he did was run at the LaGOWE and attack it. I think now he recognizes that it happens in battle, but he still doesn’t know exactly what it is. With the desert arc over, it looks like it’s now time to hit the ocean next.