At Area 51 in 2022, Bowman uses binoculars to watch a Warthog open fire on a group of abandoned Exoframes and destroy them. Afterward, technicians study the Exoframe remains and determine that they can’t survive armor-piercing rounds. Some of the damaged Exoframes continue to function and can swap parts due to their modular design, so Bowman concludes the best way to stop one is to kill the pilot. A scientist named Michelle shows Loewner and other marines an Exoframe development facility, and he asks if she’s figured out something about the alien technology. She answers that despite considerable investment, they determined that Exoframe technology is far beyond human comprehension. She tells them that they have investigated the GEL-system that powers the Exoframes, and she proceeds to drink down a bottle of the Gel, explaining that it’s harmless. Some researchers test Exoframe abilities by playing basketball with them. Marine Fernando watches the basketball game and wants to pilot an Exoframe. Michelle shows Bowman and his team the Gavial, an experimental Exoframe that uses technology like biomimetic armor. She claims that based on their data, it’s the best Exoframe in the world right now. Later, Bowman and Fernando try out the Gavial in close quarters by boxing, and Fernando notes that if the Marines used Exoframes it would cause the Sankt-Gallen Agreement to collapse. Loewner comments that if the U.S. military admits that its weapons are inferior to Exoframes, then the defense industry will fall apart. He and Rei spar as well with the Gavials and trade punches. Rei comments that someone is using Exoframes to fan the flames of war globally, and Fernando asks if he means the guys with the skull emblems. Loewner is sure that Reshep is behind it all, and Bowman adds that the Marines need the equipment to take on these guys. After the sparring match ends, Fernando notes that Congress won’t keep quiet if they find out about this. Bowman wants that to happen so they can adapt to the next generation of combat. Loewner asks what will happen if the Pentagon decides to stick with the defense industry, and Bowman takes a long pause before answering.
It’s interesting that of all places, the U.S. military is using Area 51 to secretly test militarized Exoframes. This episode is also exposition-heavy, but it fills in more about the themes of military upheaval through Exoframes and the scramble by more developed nations to fall behind. So far, we’ve seen the advantages of Exoframes in combat and how cheap they are to acquire. However, the American military-industrial complex is deeply rooted and has lots of power, so it wouldn’t be a shock that defense contractors would want to convince the Pentagon to keep using their outdated weapons so they can maintain their profit levels. That’s the question that Bowman leaves unanswered at the end of the episode, because he knows it would mean that America would fall behind against other countries if they didn’t embrace Exoframes.