The Minerva is joined by the land battleships Desmond and Bagley on the journey through the Gulnahan ravine. Talia increases the alert status and orders all the pilots to assemble in the briefing room. A young girl named Conille Almeta contacts the Minerva and board the ship via an underside hatch. Shinn arrives at the briefing room with Lunamaria and asks if they are going to be working with the local resistance group. Arthur enters the room and is joined by Athrun and Conille. Shinn is surprised that Conille is just a kid, and Arthur begins the briefing. He explains that the Ruddle squadron has been unable to take out the base and hands over the briefing to Athrun. Athrun displays a map on screen and points out the position of the Lohengrin cannon, along with the town behind the base and the power plant. He explains that the mobile armor Gells-Ghe is equipped with a positron reflector shield similar to the Zamza-Zah. Shinn jumps in and says that their objective must be to destroy the Gells-Ghe and Lohengrin cannon. Athrun explains that how they do that is the next part of the briefing, and Shinn says he’ll take care of things if he feels like it. Athrun then trips up Shinn by saying that everyone else will just wait for him to do everything. Conille asks if Shinn is really going to be the pilot and thinks Athrun should do it because he’s the commander. Athrun says he thinks Shinn is capable and gives Shinn the mission disk. Shinn refuses and says that maybe Athrun should do it instead if he’s such a better pilot. Athrun tells Shinn to stop being such a spoiled brat and says that if he felt Shinn was incapable of carrying out the mission he wouldn’t be assigning it to him. Conille tells Shinn that there was an uprising in town when ZAFT attacked the base. Because the attack failed, the Alliance forces retaliated against the citizens and killed many people. Athrun leaves with Conille, and Lunamaria tells him he did well in controlling Shinn. She says that even from the academy days Shinn has always had a problem with authority. Athrun says that Shinn isn’t a bad person and is just awkward at getting along with people. Athrun says he is also awkward about socializing with people, and Lunamaria thinks he just blew her off.
Joachim announces the start of the operation from the Desmond. Shinn launches in the Core Splendor, followed by the Chest Flyer and Leg Flyer. According to Conille’s data, an extremely narrow and unknown tunnel runs through the ravine and exits right below the base of the Lohengrin cannon. Shinn flies through the ravine and is annoyed when he enters the pitch black tunnel. He thinks about Athrun’s briefing and the plan to lure the Gells-Ghe and the Dagger Ls away from the base to allow Shinn to get near the Lohengrin cannon and destroy it. The Alliance base detects the ZAFT attack force, so the base commanders orders the launch of the Dagger L squad and the Gells-Ghe. Athrun launches in the Saviour Gundam, followed by Rey in the Blaze ZAKU Phantom and Lunamaria in the Gunner ZAKU Warrior. Shinn continues to fly though the narrow tunnel and thinks that he has to do it because Athrun doesn’t want to. The Minerva ascends and fires its Tannhauser at the Dagger L squad, but the Gells-Ghe places itself in the middle and deflects the blast with its shield. The dispersal of energy pushes back the Minerva and several BuCUEs from the Desmond. The Alliance base commander thinks that the ZAFT strategy is good, but he doesn’t think it will work because they don’t have a shield. He fires the Lohengrin at the Minerva, and Talia has the ship perform a hard descent and quick landing to evade the blast. The base commander recalls the Gells-Ghe to protect the Lohengrin while it recharges. On the ground, Lunamaria and Rey fight off the Jet Dagger Ls while Athrun attacks them in the skies. Shinn reaches the end of the tunnels and blasts his way out. He combines with the other flyers to form the Impulse Gundam. He then begins to destroy the Dagger Ls surrounding the Lohengrin. The base commander orders the Lohengrin to be lowered underground. Meanwhile, Athrun takes on the Gells-Ghe and slices off its two arms. Shinn destroys several Dagger Ls and uses his Folding Razor knives on one unit guarding the Lohengrin. He then fires at it with his vulcans and throws it into the hole. The Dagger L explodes and destroys the Lohengrin, setting off a chain of enormous explosions across the entire base. As more ZAFT reinforcements arrive, the civilians begin to kill all the Alliance soldiers. Shinn is greeted as a hero, and Athrun congratulates him. Shinn playfully complains about the difficulty of navigating the tunnel, and Athrun reminds him that he did it despite the difficulty. Talia recalls Shinn and Athrun now that their mission is over.
The attack on Gulnahan commences and ends on a good note for ZAFT. Shinn displays more childish behavior in the briefing room that really only serves to embarrass him. One thing is to clash with Athrun privately, but Shinn chooses to do it in front of Lunamaria, Rey and a bunch of other pilots. I’ve always wondered why the Impulse Gundam never launches in combined form, and this episode finally gives a decent excuse as to why. Shinn flies through a pretty treacherous course to get to the Lohengrin. Not surprisingly, the imposing mobile armor Gells-Ghe isn’t very tough and is easily defeated by Athrun. Fukuda seems to love his gory deaths and displays it in this episode. You can see Shinn’s combat knife actually cut into the head of a Dagger L pilot. When the base explodes, you can see someone get crushed by falling debris. It’s strange then that when Athrun watches the execution of several soldiers in town there’s no blood when they’re shot in the back of the head. Shinn and Athrun pat each other on the back at the end of the episode, so hopefully Shinn is finally starting to accept Athrun and will put an end to his childish behavior.