Athrun thinks about his fight with Kira and wonders why it had to happen. At night, Shinn knocks out one of the nurses in the infirmary and tells Stella’s he’s going to keep his promise to protect her. He wheels Stella down to the mobile suit hangar and attracts the attention of several guards, but Rey knocks them out. He asks Shinn if he’s taking Stella back, and Shinn says she’ll die in her current state. He doesn’t want her to be used as a guinea pig before that. Rey asks if Shinn is going to come back and offers to open the gate for him. Talia heads to the bridge when the alarm sounds, but she’s too late. Shinn takes off in the Core Splendor and forms up to the Force Impulse before escaping. He then transmits the Gaia Gundam‘s IFF code and heads to a small island, where Neo eventually meets him at. Shinn says he’s giving Stella back because he doesn’t want her to die, and he asks Neo to promise that she won’t have to fight again. Neo agrees to the promise, and Shinn carries her over to him. As Neo leaves, Shinn gives Stella a jar with the seashell and asks her not to forget him. Shinn returns to the Minerva and is placed under arrest. Talia runs down a list of his crimes and calls it an absurd breach of military conduct. Shinn says that Stella was going to die, and Talia tells him she can’t accept such an excuse. She then has Shinn and Rey locked up in the brig. Athrun comes to speak to Shinn and apologizes, saying he didn’t know how much Stella meant to Shinn. Shinn says she didn’t mean much to him, but he couldn’t stand to see what was happening to her. Athrun tells him that she killed many of their comrades, and Shinn counters that she didn’t make the choice to be in the military. Athrun says that’s all the more reason not to have taken her back, because she can’t choose to quit fighting on her own. Shinn asks if he should’ve just let her die, and Rey tells them both to stop. Elsewhere, Neo takes Stella to the land battleship Bonaparte. He shows her the massive Destroy Gundam and tells her she has to pilot it, or scary things will come to kill them. She says she doesn’t want to die, and Neo tells her she has to fight to prevent that. The Bonaparte sets off and launches the Destroy Gundam. Meyrin tells Talia she has a message from headquarters, and moments later Shinn is released from the brig. Arthur reads the message and is surprised that headquarters is letting Shinn off. Crew members whisper about Shinn as he walks through the ship, and he snidely tells Athrun that not everyone agrees with his opinions. Stella uses the power of the Destroy Gundam to destroy ZAFT forces defending Berlin. Meyrin informs Talia that ZAFT is ordering all forces to prepare for a counterattack in Central Eurasia. ZAFT’s forces in Berlin continue to fight against the Destroy Gundam, but they’re no match for it. Members of the Supreme Council want to retreat, but Durandal notes that retreating won’t make the Destroy Gundam go away.
The Destroy Gundam comes under attack from the Freedom Gundam as the Archangel arrives in Berlin. Kira’s shots do nothing, and he’s surprised by how large the Destroy Gundam is. Neo warns Stella that the Freedom Gundam is dangerous, so she transforms the Destroy Gundam to mobile suit mode. The Archangel fires its Gottfrieds to support Kira, but the Destroy Gundam easily deflects them. Amagi asks Cagalli to let the Murasames launch because the pilots don’t want to sit around doing nothing. Kira dodges Stella’s attacks and is also placed on the defensive by Sting. Cagalli launches in the Aile Strike Rouge and is joined by three Murasames, which attack Sting. Kira goes into SEED mode and fires all of his weapons to counter Stella’s attacks. Neo attacks Kira, and Kira feels something strange about his Windam. Cagalli stays on the ground to defend civilians from stray beam blasts. The Minerva then arrives, and Shinn forms up to the Force Impulse after launching. He attacks the Destroy Gundam and dodges its chest cannons. He gets close enough to slash open the cockpit. Stella wildly fires in every direction, destroying more buildings. Shinn rushes in for a second attack, but Neo rams into him and tells him that Stella is piloting the Destroy Gundam. Shinn zooms his camera in and sees Stella in the cockpit. Kira attacks again and asks Shinn if he’s trying to be a target. Injured by Kira’s attack, Stella cries that she doesn’t want to die. Neo attacks Kira, but Kira disables his Windam and asks Murrue to take care of him. The Windam crashes into the ground and ejects Neo from the cockpit. The Murasames press their attack on the Chaos Gundam and slice it in half. Stella begins another large scale attack, and Shinn asks her to stop. He then attacks Kira and tells him he doesn’t know what’s going on. Shinn puts away his beam saber and calls out to Stella as he approaches the Destroy Gundam. He tells her that she won’t die because he’s going to protect her. Stella remembers Shinn and stops attacking momentarily, but she panics when she sees the Freedom Gundam and starts charging her chest cannons. Kira rushes in and stabs the chest cannon with his beam saber, setting off a large explosion. Shinn lands and pulls Stella out of the cockpit. She tells Shinn that she loves him and dies in his arms. Murrue goes down to the ground and is shocked when she sees Neo’s face. Shinn takes Stella to a lake and places her body inside of it. Later, Durandal addresses the world and has Meer speak as Lacus. Durandal then reveals the existence of Logos and calls them merchants of death. He displays the names and photos of every Logos member and states that he wants to wipe them out. People around the world take up arms nd cheer for Durandal.
Later, the Archangel comes under attack from ZAFT forces as it tries to reach the sea. Kira tries to disable the attacking mobile suits, and Murrue wonders why ZAFT is suddenly attacking them. As the Minerva approaches, Athrun argues with Talia about why they’re suddenly attacking the Archangel. She agrees with his position, but the order came down from on high, and ZAFT believes the Archangel is an obstacle to peace. Amagi asks Murrue for permission to fire back, but she refuses and says ZAFT might be trying to corner them into a fight. She tells everyone to hold out until they can reach the ocean. Rey tells Shinn that he’ll be ok, and that he can defeat the Freedom Gundam. Athrun walks into the room and tries to speak to Shinn, but Shinn ignores him and leaves. Shinn then launches in the Core Splendor and forms up to the Force Impulse. He then attacks Kira, and the Minerva blocks the Archangel‘s path. The Minerva fires missiles, but Neumann maneuvers the Archangel over the Minerva to dodge. The Archangel returns fire, but Talia sees they’re trying to avoid direct hits. She calls the Archangel and offers to guarantee everyone’s safety if the ship surrenders. Murrue doesn’t want to make Talia an enemy, and Amagi reminds her of what ZAFT would do if they got their hands on Cagalli. Kira sends them a message and tells them to get to the water. Murrue calls Talia back and declines the offer, saying they still have work to do so long as the world divides itself between Alliance and PLANT. The ZAFT forces then press their attack on the Archangel. Shinn rushes at Kira and dodges Kira’s disabling attacks. He goes into SEED mode and recalls Rey telling him that Kira always tries to disable a mobile suit. He dodges Kira’s predictable attacks and tosses his shield, which he then bounces a shot off of. Kira slashes at the Force Impulse, and Shinn calls Meyrin to send a replacement Chest and Force Flyer. He then ejects the Chest Flyer and rams it into the Freedom Gundam before destroying it with the Core Splendor’s vulcans. As Kira falls through the sky, Shinn docks with the replacement parts. Shinn attacks again with his beam saber and accuses Kira of murdering Stella. Kira tries to slash at Shinn, but Shinn separates from his Leg Flyer and attacks Kira from behind. Shinn destroys Kira’s beam rifle and asks Meyrin for a Sword Silhouette. He tosses a beam boomerang at Kira and grabs a sword. As the Archangel begins to descend into the water, the Minerva fires its Tannhauser. Shinn then rams his sword through the Freedom Gundam and destroys it. Although the Force Impulse is heavily damaged, Shinn cries and laughs that Stella can rest in peace. Across the world, armed rebels begin attacking Logos members directly. Durandal arrives on Earth with Meer, and Shinn is greeted as a hero upon returning to the ship. He tells Athrun that he got revenge for both of them, and Athrun responds by grabbing his neck. He says that Kira wasn’t an enemy, and Shinn asks if he should’ve been the one to die instead. Athrun then punches Shinn in the face, but everyone breaks up the fight.
The Minerva returns to Gibraltar, where a large force is gathering. Meyrin relays orders to Talia to send Athrun and Shinn to Durandal. They meet with Durandal and Meer, and Durandal shows them their new mobile suits: the Destiny Gundam and Legend Gundam. Shinn is overjoyed, and Athrun angrily asks if defeating Logos will end the war. Durandal tells Athrun that they have to fight Logos to put an end to them. He says that no one wants to fight, but that Logos takes advantage of peoples’ weaknesses. He states that defeating Logos will create a world without war. A defecting Alliance fleet (which Kisaka has infiltrated) comes to Gibraltar to join forces with ZAFT against Logos. Rey meets with Durandal, and Meer looks at spy pictures of Athrun meeting with Kira. Shinn works on the Destiny Gundam, while Athrun stays in his quarters on the base and thinks about recent events. Meer visits him and tells him that he’s acting suspiciously. She tells him that Durandal and Rey were talking about how Athrun would be useless to their plans, and she shows him one of the pictures. Durandal told Rey that although Athrun was just a soldier, he spent too much time thinking about trifling things. Meer warns Athrun that if he doesn’t stick to the program, Durandal might have him executed. Several soldiers knock on Athrun’s door, and Athrun tells Meer that he won’t become Durandal’s mindless puppet. The soldiers break into the room when they hear a window smash, and Athrun knocks them out. He asks Meer to come with him, but she refuses. He tells her she can’t act like Lacus forever because Durandal will have her killed too. She tells him that she isn’t Meer anymore and that she doesn’t mind living a role. Athrun then runs away and sneaks into Meyrin’s room. Soldiers knock on her door, and she takes Athrun into the bathroom. She then takes off her clothes and wets her hair to make it seem like she was taking a shower. Lunamaria tells her to put some clothes on, and the soldiers leave. Meyrin begins to cry, and Athrun thanks her for helping him. He then gets up to leave, but she stops him and says he’ll need help with the hangar. She sets off a false alarm at the port, and they drive over to the mobile suit hangar, where Rey spots them. Athrun prepares to steal a GOUF Ignited, but Rey starts shooting at him. Athrun fires back and shoots Rey’s gun out of his hands. He and Meyrin board the GOUF Ignited and takeoff. Rey calls Shinn and tells him to prepare for launch to chase Athrun and Meyrin. Rey takes off in the Legend Gundam, followed by Shinn in the Destiny Gundam. Shinn asks what’s going on, but Rey lies and insinuates that they’re spies. Shinn feels conflicted, but Rey tells him they have orders. Rey opens fire on Athrun, and Shinn joins the attack. Athrun returns fire and tells Shinn he doesn’t know what’s going on. He tells Shinn that Durandal and Rey are deceiving him, and Rey interrupts with a beam saber attack. Rey calls Athrun and Meyrin traitors, and Shinn goes into SEED mode. He blames Athrun for everything and slams his anti-ship sword through the GOUF Ignited’s torso. He then pulls away, and the GOUF Ignited explodes as it falls into the ocean.
Back at Gibraltar, Lunamaria can’t believe that Meyrin and Athrun were spies. Shinn returns to the ship and apologizes to Lunamaria about Meyrin, which makes them both cry. Later, ZAFT and the defecting Alliance fleets attack the Alliance fortress at Heavens Base, with Durandal leading the attack on the Minerva. Shinn promises Lunamaria that he’ll fight to end the war. Several Destroy Gundams, including one pilot by Sting, open fire on the attacking fleet. Shinn launches in the Destiny Gundam, followed by Rey in the Legend Gundam and Lunamaria in the Sword Impulse. Shinn goes into SEED mode and destroys Sting’s Destroy Gundam with his anti-ship sword. Lunamaria gives Rey her sword, and they both destroy a Destroy Gundam. Shinn slices another one in half, and the three tag team yet another. Djibril can’t believe this is happening and escapes in a submarine. The Archangel arrives at Orb’s Onogoro Island, and Athrun wakes up and finds Kira and Cagalli watching over him. He tries to move and is surprised that Kira is alive. Rey tells Shinn and Lunamaria that Djibril escaped before Heavens Base fell. In space, Lacus, Andy and DaCosta examine a journal of Durandal’s, which mentions the “Destiny Plan.” The Eternal is spotted by a GINN Recon Type and several Nazca class cruisers. Murrue calls Kira to the bridge and tells him that the Eternal is being targeted. Athrun calls the bridge and asks Kira to save Lacus. In space, the Eternal comes under attack from a large number of ZAKU Warriors. Kira launches in a booster-equipped Aile Strike Rouge, which has had its Phase Shift colors re-tuned to the original Strike Gundam. Andy launches in a re-colored Gaia Gundam to help defend the Eternal, but he loses his rifle to a GOUF Ignited. Kira arrives and ejects from his booster. He immediately starts to disable the ZAFT mobile suits, but both his arms are blown off by a Gunner ZAKU Warrior. Cagalli asks Athrun to forgive her, but he says that he should be the one apologizing. The Aile Strike Rouge loses both legs while attempting to dock with the Eternal, and Kira rushes to meet Lacus. Athrun tells Cagalli that he was too impatient and wanted to do something to stop the war. Lacus takes Kira to the mobile suit hangar where the Strike Freedom Gundam is stored. Kira then takes off in the Strike Freedom and begins disabling ZAFT mobile suits. Two GOUF Igniteds grapple onto Kira with their heat rods, so he blasts them with his wing DRAGOONs. The three Nazca class ships open fire on Kira, and he disables them all with his DRAGOONs. At Gibraltar, Shinn has a nightmare where he’s killing Stella and Athrun. Rey wakes Shinn up, and when Shinn mentions killing Athrun and Meyrin, Rey says there was no choice and that Shinn is too soft. Later, Shinn and Rey attend an awards ceremony and are appointed to FAITH by Durandal. An officer reports to Durandal that Djibril has been found in Orb.
A ZAFT launches for Orb, and the Minerva is assigned as its flagship. Yuna makes a public announcement denying the presence of Djibril in Orb, and claiming that the ZAFT fleet is threatening Orb’s sovereignty. He demands that ZAFT withdraw, and Durandal decides to proceed with the attack. ZAFT initiates Operation Fury and sends its mobile suits to attack Orb, with orders to capture Djibril. Athrun struggles to move, and both Meyrin and Neo tell him to keep still. Yuna arrives at the command center and is surprised that Durandal didn’t believe his lie. An officer criticizes the government’s stupid reaction, and Yuna orders him to launch their mobile suits. Cagalli wants to use a Sky Grasper to fight ZAFT, but Murrue tells her that’s ridiculous. Cagalli then bumps into Kisaka and Erica Simmons, and Kisaka tells her to come with him. They take Cagalli to an underground hangar where the mobile suit Akatsuki Gundam is stored. She then hears a pre-recorded message from her father stating that this mobile suit should be used if the time comes when she needs power. ZAFT’s forces begin to overrun the Orb forces, and Cagalli launches in the Akatsuki Gundam, followed by Amagi’s Murasames. Cagalli calls the command center and asks Yuna if he acknowledges her. When he does, she orders the nearest officer to place Yuna under arrest for treason. An officer happily responds by punching Yuna in the face. Meyrin takes Athrun to the bridge because he wants to volunteer in the CIC. Murrue sets Neo free and lets him take the Sky Grasper. She begins to cry and says that Neo isn’t Mu. The battle begins to turn in Orb’s favor, but the Minerva then arrives. Rey offers to launch alone, but Shinn insists on fighting. Shinn then launches in the Destiny Gundam and immediately comes under attack from Cagalli. He fires his cannon at her, but the Akatsuki Gundam’s armor reflects the shot. Three Murasames appear to assist Cagalli, but Shinn easily destroys all of them. Shinn uses a beam boomerang to cut off one of the Akatsuki Gundam’s forearms and tosses another at Cagalli. Kira re-enters the atmosphere in the Strike Freedom, followed by Lacus in the Infinite Justice Gundam. Kira fires his railguns and destroys the beam boomerang before it can hit Cagalli. Kira then attacks Shinn, while Lacus lands the Infinite Justice on the Archangel. The Minerva and Archangel open fire on each other, and three DOM Troopers arrive from space and join the battle on Orb’s side. Meyrin helps Athrun limp down to the hangar, where Lacus is waiting for him. Shinn attacks with his anti-ship sword, but Kira blocks it with his beam shields. He then fires his railguns at point blank range, and Shinn goes into SEED mode. Athrun asks Lacus if she also thinks his role is just to fight, but she tells him she has no answer. Lacus is afraid that Athrun has closed himself off and is giving up. Several missiles from the Minerva fly toward the Archangel, but Neo shoots them down in the Sky Grasper. He tells Murrue that he hates the Minerva, and that he can make the impossible possible. Rey joins the battle against Kira, and Athrun takes off in the Infinite Justice.
The third Special Edition covers the events from episodes 30-42. Because the series started to go downhill around this point, that same flaw is present here and no cut down compilation can fix that. The pacing is pretty good here, although the transition was a little rough between the revelation of Logos and the attack on the Archangel. Also, because of the cuts, there’s no explanation in this version for the miraculous survivals of Kira, Athrun and Meyrin. We simply see their suits explode, and later they’re all fine on the Archangel. Like the other Special Editions, it feels as though Shinn’s role is decreased in favor of having Athrun as the narrator and sort of main character. It would’ve been nice if the battle at Heavens Base had been a bit longer, because here it’s reduced to about two minutes of Destroy Gundam cannon fodder destruction. There isn’t anything in the way of new animation here, so if you’ve watched the first two Special Editions, you know what you’re in for here.