On Earth, Kira and Lacus watch the detonation of the nuclear warheads in space, and Kira is reminded of Rau Le Creuset. In the PLANTs, the PLANT news agency announces that the Alliance attempted to make another nuclear strike that was prevented at the last minute by ZAFT. Across the PLANTs, citizens are outraged that the Alliance would unilaterally attack them with nuclear weapons once again. Athrun watches the broadcast from Durandal’s office and can’t believe it. Durandal says he was surprised not only by the swift attack, but also by the fact that nuclear weapons were used. With the situation now being quite precarious, he notes that they are in a position similar to the last war. Athrun asks Durandal what he will do, and Durandal answers that if they use military force, the PLANTs will once again be plunged into a full scale war. However, they also obviously can’t keep the nuclear attack a secret now that it is public information. Athrun begs Durandal not to respond out of hatred and spread the foolishness that his father Patrick did two years ago. He says that because he believed his father’s words, he killed many people and nearly killed Kira. Durandal interrupts Athrun’s plea by telling him that he heard from Shinn what the Junius Seven terrorists said. Durandal asks Athrun if Patrick was always evil, and Athrun says he wasn’t. Durandal says that however misguided he was, Patrick did everything for the sake of the PLANTs. He says that people only hear what they want to, and that the terrorists twisted Patrick’s words to fit their anger against Naturals. He also says that Athrun shouldn’t bear the burden of what his father did or what others did because of his father’s actions. Durandal then tells Athrun he’s glad that he’s dedicated to peace and came all the way up to the PLANTs to discuss it. Across the PLANTs, angry citizens protest the current situation and demand the extermination of Naturals to keep themselves safe. Suddenly, the fake Lacus appears in a TV broadcast sent out to all the PLANTs.
The fake Lacus says that the drop of Junius Seven and the nuclear attack by the Alliance are both tragic events. However, she says that responding in anger will only result in another war. Durandal tells Athrun it is quite pitiful that he has to resort to using a fake Lacus, but her influence is much greater than his. The fake Lacus asks everyone to calm down and trust in the efforts for peace made by Durandal and the Supreme Council. She then begins to sing a song, and all the citizens take her words to heart and calm down. Durandal asks Athrun to come with him and takes him to a restricted area. Once inside, Durandal unveils the new Saviour Gundam. He says its abilities are somewhat different, but it was developed around the same time as three Gundams stolen by the Alliance. Durandal asks Athrun how he would respond if he offered to give him the Saviour Gundam, and Athrun asks if that means returning to ZAFT. Durandal says that the offer is just as he stated with no strings attached. He explains that people with similar visions for peace should work together. He says that it’s hard to go against the entire world alone, so you need to have power. He wants Athrun to be in a position of power and correct the world if it strays off to the wrong path. He also tells Athrun that he should know the answer to the question of what you need to be able to do the things you’re capable of doing and want to do. He finishes off by saying that he wants Athrun to take some time to consider the offer. Athrun returns to his hotel and finds the fake Lacus waiting for him. When he asks her who she is, she tells him that her real name is Meer Campbell. Meet takes Athrun by the arm and tells him they should go eat dinner together. She asks him if she performed as well as the real Lacus, and he tells her she did a good job. Meer says that she’s always been a fan of Lacus and used to sing her songs. Because she sounded like Lacus, she received a call for help from Durandal. Athrun tells her that Durandal doesn’t need her power, but rather that of Lacus, and Meer says that’s okay. She says no one needs for for anything, so he doesn’t mind being Lacus. Athrun thinks about everything that has happened so far. He then thinks of the Saviour Gundam and Durandal’s words.
There’s not quite as much going on here as in the last episode, but there are some developments. Athrun meets with Durandal and finally sheds his alias “Alex Dino” once and for all. I think that up to now his character arc has been that he’s hiding from his true self and his destiny. This may be why more focus has been placed on him instead of Shinn, who’s supposed to be the real main character. The fake Lacus is revealed to be a girl named Meer Campbell, and it’s quite surprising that Durandal is using her to spread peace instead of having her try to rally the people for war. Finally, Durandal presents Athrun with the new Saviour Gundam. The entire scene is very reminiscent of the scene in SEED where the real Lacus gave Kira the Freedom Gundam. In fact, if you examine the two scenes closely, you’ll see that most of the animation is the same, with Athrun, Durandal and the Saviour Gundam being swapped in for Kira, Lacus and the Freedom Gundam. Athrun’s made his decision and will definitely return to the battlefield. Let’s hope this time he doesn’t self-detonate his Gundam again.