The Archangel and Minerva continue to trade fire, and Neo’s Sky Grasper is damaged by the Minerva. The Archangel opens one of its hangars so Neo can dock, and he has a memory of doing the same thing as Mu. On the ground, Cagalli attacks ZAFT mobile suits that are closing in on the Orb command center. The three DOM Troopers attack multiple ZAFT suits on the ground. Cagalli enters the command center and punches Yuna in the face. Kisaka says they have to find Djibril soon, and Cagalli thinks if they can hold ZAFT back there’s the possibility of calling for a ceasefire. Kira and Shinn trade fire with each other, and Rey joins the fight. Shinn wonders why he can’t get Kira and tries to attack with his palm cannons, but Kira knocks him away. Kira takes aim to fire, but Rey stops him. Rey repels Kira, and just as Shinn is about to fire, Athrun slams into him with the Infinite Justice. Shinn is shocked that Athrun is alive, and Athrun asks him if he knows what he’s attacking right now. He asks if destroying Orb will help end the war against Logos. The DOM Troopers perform the Jet Stream Attack and destroy multiple ZAFT mobile suits. Yuna escapes from the soldiers who are guarding him, but he’s killed when a damaged GOUF Ignited crashes into him. Rey steps in and starts attacking Athrun, and Kira moves to back up Athrun. Athrun blocks Shinn’s path and tells him he can’t fight without knowing the reasons for his anger. Shinn tells Athrun that he doesn’t know anything and is just a traitor. He tosses both his beam boomerangs, but Athrun deflects them. The Archangel descends into the ocean, and Talia orders the Minerva to pull up. Shinn attacks Athrun again and goes into SEED mode when he thinks about Stella. Athrun also goes into SEED mode and destroys the Destiny Gundam‘s anti-ship sword. Talia calls the fleet commander and asks to fall back, but his sub is destroyed by the Archangel. Djibril takes off in a Seiran family shuttle, and Talia orders Lunamaria to launch and stop the shuttle. Two Murasames try to chase the shuttle, but Lunamaria overtakes them with the Force Impulse. She fires her beam rifle at the shuttle, but the air resistance causes her shots to miss. Talia takes command of the battle and orders Arthur to fire the retreat signal flares. She orders all forces to temporarily retreat to outside of Orb’s territory. Cagalli gives orders to not pursue the ZAFT forces. Athrun passes out and goes into freefall, but Kira catches him and takes him back to the Archangel. Kira sees that Athrun’s wounds are all bleeding and calls for a medic. Later, Talia reports to Durandal that Djibril probably escaped in the shuttle. Murrue joins Neo on the deck, and Kira and Lacus visit Athrun in the infirmary. Kira tells Athrun he’s glad they’re able to talk again because they take things for granted when there’s peace. He then turns on the TV to watch Cagalli’s speech. Cagalli’s speech is interrupted by Meer, who asks why Orb would harbor the leader of Blue Cosmos, who has committed so many atrocities. Lacus then hacks into the broadcast and calls Meer out as an impostor. Lacus states that she doesn’t support Durandal, and Durandal has Meer’s broadcast cut off. Lacus warns people against falling into Durandal’s trap.
Meer apologizes to Durandal, and he tells her he was also surprised by what happened. He says they’ll have to change their plans, and Meer remembers what Athrun told her at Gibraltar. Meer is then escorted to a shuttle that takes off for space. Shinn asks Rey what he thinks about the Lacus at Orb, and Lunamaria wonders which is the real one. Rey says that’s ridiculous and that the enemy just wants to confuse them. Rey asks if the real one is always right and the impostor is always evil, and he says he doesn’t care because he thinks Durandal is right. In space, Yzak and Dearka’s team launches to face an Alliance fleet that is gathering around a cut out colony cylinder named Gounod. Durandal’s shuttle reaches space and docks at the asteroid base Messiah. On the Moon, Djibril prepares to fire the Requiem cannon at the PLANTs. Requiem’s relay stations move into position, and Djibril sets the target as ZAFT’s capital city, Aprilius. ZAFT forces begin attacking Gounod directly, and Djibril personally fires Requiem. The beam travels through the relay stations and curves through space. It then cuts through three PLANTs and causes massive devastation. The news of the attack spreads to Earth, and the Minerva crew is shocked to see the damage to Januarius. Yzak’s forces press their attack and destroy several Alliance battleships. Several Nazca cruisers and Gunner ZAKU Warriors open fire at Gounod at the same time and destroy it. Rey uses a computer to show Shinn and Lunamaria that the Alliance attacked from Daedalus, while ZAFT was focused on Arzachel. Lunamaria asks how they could’ve fired from the opposite side of the Moon, and Rey explains that they must’ve fitted the abandoned colonies with Geschmeidig Panzers to curve the beam. By changing the location of the relay stations, they could target any point in space or Earth. Rey says this is all their fault for being weak and letting Djibril escape. The Minerva is fitted with a space booster and takes off. ZAFT forces in space gather to launch an attack on Requiem and destroy it. Djibril tells his men to protect Requiem so they can fire again and hit Aprilius this time. ZAFT and the Alliance begin attacking each other, and the Minerva exits Earth’s atmosphere. Cagalli thinks that Durandal will blame Orb for letting Djibril escape, and Athrun says that Durandal probably wanted to finish Orb off with that last battle. Murrue wonders if the war will end with Logos is eliminated, but Lacus says the world Durandal wants to create has no place for a country like Orb. Kira then mentions the Destiny Plan, which would determine people’s place in the world based on their genes. As Requiem continues to charge, Dearka and Yzak destroy a Zamza-Zah. The Minerva rushes through space to join the battle. Cagalli asks if everything they’ve done for the world is useless now that Durandal is taking over. Athrun says he won’t give up easily, and Murrue says the same thing. Kira says everyone on the ship feels the same way, so they should go to space.
Lunamaria launches in the Core Splendor and forms up to the Blast Impulse. The Alliance deploys a squad of Windams along with a Zamza-Zah and Gells-Ghe. Shinn and Rey join Lunamaria and begin attacking the Alliance forces. Kira tells everyone they have to stop Durandal because fate doesn’t determine the future. Lunamaria speeds across the Moon’s surface while the Minerva dodges enemy fire. Three Destroy Gundams launch, and the Minerva fires its Tannhauser at the Ghells-Ghe. Shinn destroys one of the Destroy Gundams with his palm cannons, and Rey destroys the other with his beam saber. Djibril orders the firing of Requiem, even though it’s not fully charged. Shinn destroys two Windams that are attacking Lunamaria and slices apart the Gells-Ghe. The Minerva fires at the base, and Rey destroys the last Destroy Gundam. Lunamaria flies down into the Requiem shaft, and Yzak leads an attack on the Faure relay station. Djibril wants Requiem to fire again as a diversion for him to escape. He boards the Girty Lue, and Lunamaria blasts into the chamber where the Requiem cannon is located. Lunamaria destroys Requiem’s control room, and Shinn destroys several battleships inside the hangar. Rey blocks the Girty Lue after it takes off and destroys the ship with his DRAGOONs, killing Djibril. Later, Shinn and Lunamaria hug after returning to the ship. On Earth, Cagalli addresses the Archangel‘s crew and assigns the ship to an Orb fleet. Murrue announces that the ship will launch in 30 minutes, and Cagalli gives the Akatsuki Gundam to Neo. Cagalli runs into Meyrin and asks Meyrin to take care of Athrun since she can’t go with them. At Messiah, Durandal is informed that there were three more relay stations for Requiem. The Archangel reaches space and lands inside the lunar city Copernicus. The crew visits the city, and Lacus gets a message from Meer, stating that she fears for her life. Athrun approaches Meer at an old theatre, and she’s surprised that he’s alive. Lacus then appears and introduces herself to Meer. Lacus asks Meer to come with them, and Meer has a breakdown, stating that she’s Lacus. She pulls out a gun, which Athrun shoots out of her hand. Lacus tells Meer that she can have her face and voice, but nothing can change that they’re separate people. Meer’s assistant Sarah tries to target Lacus with a sniper rifle. Lacus steps forward and tells Meer to sing for her own dreams. Birdy draws Athrun’s attention, and they duck as Sarah begins to fire. Several men open fire with machine guns, but Athrun kills two of them. He then shoots Sarah in the arm, and everyone runs as another man tosses a grenade. Athrun kills him, and Kira shoots a grenade back in Sarah’s direction. Neo lands inside the theatre with the Akatsuki Gundam, and Kira asks him to take everyone to safety. Sarah takes aim at Lacus, but Meer pushes her out of the way and takes the shot. Athrun shoots Sarah, and Meer gives Lacus a photo of what she used to look like before the plastic surgery. Meer says she wanted to know everyone better and dies in Lacus’ arms.
Durandal addresses the PLANTs and states that people have foolishly repeated the mistakes of the past. He blames Logos for instigating battles, but they’re gone now. He says they must now face a greater enemy: human ignorance and ambition. Supreme Council members are confused because Durandal’s speech isn’t the memorial address they were expecting. He states that humanity can now overcome the need to fight through his Destiny Plan. Messiah activates a massive computer system filled with genome information, and a video explains that the Destiny Plan contains all known information about genetic engineering. Rey tells Shinn that he shouldn’t be surprised by the kind of world Durandal wants to create. Shinn thinks it’ll be a problem to introduce such a plan so quickly, and Rey says it’s their job to help Durandal. That, he says, is the point of the Destiny Gundam and why Shinn was chosen as it’s pilot. Lunamaria tries to enter the room, but Rey angrily tells her to come back later. Rey tells Shinn that he was chosen because of his strong desire to create that new world. Rey says that mankind has to change if it is to be saved. He mentions Stella and says they can’t let something like that happen again. Rey then stumbles to his bed and takes several pills. Durandal is informed that only Orb and Scandinavia have voiced opposition to the Destiny Plan, and that Alliance forces are launching from Arzachel. Durandal gives orders to fire at Arzachel and then Orb. Rey tells Shinn to believe in Durandal no matter what, and Shinn tells him he sounds like a dying old man in a movie. Rey explains that he doesn’t have a future because he’s a clone. Requiem fires curves through several relay stations, destroying Arzachel on the other side of the Moon. Durandal summons Shinn and Rey to Messiah, and Lacus tells Murrue that they should rendezvous with the Eternal. She tells everyone that they have to keep on fighting for the future denied to those who have died. The Archangel then takes off and meets with the Eternal on their way to Daedalus. Shinn and Rey take off, and Durandal gives orders to intercept the enemy. Kira and Athrun launch and dock with their METEOR weapons platforms. Lacus announces to ZAFT that she’s going to destroy Requiem. The Archangel and Eternal open fire on the ZAFT forces defending the first relay station. Durandal briefs Shinn and Rey on the situation, and Rey states that they have to implement the Destiny Plan to save humanity. Durandal asks Shinn if he feels the same, and Shinn thinks about everything Rey said of his background. The Minerva arrives at the relay station, joined by the Gondwana and several other ships. Neo destroys several ZAKU Warriors, and Lunamaria takes off in the Force Impulse. She targets the Eternal, but Meyrin calls her and asks her to stop.
The Minerva fires its Tannhauser at the Archangel, but Neo absorbs the blast and regains his memories as Mu. He then fires his beam rifle and destroys the Tannhauser. He deploys his DRAGOONs to create a pyramid shield around the Archangel. Dearka and Yzak suddenly join up with Athrun as he and Kira destroy the relay station. Messiah appears over the Moon and fires Neo GENESIS at the Orb fleet, destroying several ships. Durandal orders a second firing and tells Shinn and Rey to launch. Kira and Athrun undock from their METEORs to fight Shinn and Rey. Rey deploys his DRAGOONs against Kira, and Athrun attacks Rey. Mu destroys several suits attacking the Archangel, and Athrun tells Kira they have to do something before Requiem fires again. Athrun slams into Shinn, and ZAFT moves another relay station into position to fire Requiem. Kira tells Athrun and the Archangel to destroy Requiem while he stays behind with the Eternal. Kira attacks Rey with his DRAGOONs and repels a blast from Shinn’s cannon with his chest cannon. Rey attacks Kira with his DRAGOONs and tells Shinn to go after Athrun and kill him for sure this time. Kira dodges Rey’s attacks and realizes that the pattern is very similar to Rau Le Creuset. Kira destroys several DRAGOONs and asks who Rey is, and Rey answers that he’s Rau. Neo disables several ZAKU Warriors, and the Archangel quickly maneuvers to avoid the Minerva‘s missiles. Lunamaria encounters Athrun and remembers what Meyrin said. She attacks Athrun, and he slices off one of her arms. She fires her vulcans, and he slices off one of her legs. Shinn arrives and attacks Athrun with his anti-ship sword, but Athrun blocks. Shinn then goes into SEED mode and tries to slam Athrun into the Moon’s surface. Kira is shocked, and Rey tells Kira he has to be eliminated this time so that the world can be reborn. Rey recalls Durandal telling him that Rau was gone, and that he’s Rau too. Kira destroys Rey’s DRAGOONs and tells him that his life belongs to him, not Rau. He then fires all his weapons and severely damages the Legend Gundam. Shinn wonders why he’s losing to Athrun, and Athrun tells him he’s being possessed by his past. He asks Shinn if he wants to destroy his future too, and Shinn thinks about Stella and his family. Shinn rushes toward Athrun to attack with his palm cannons, and he doesn’t stop when Lunamaria gets in his way. Athrun goes into SEED mode and blocks the attack. He then attacks with his beam sabers, and the Destiny Gundam’s forearms are destroyed while trying to block them. He then slices off one of Shinn’s legs, and the damaged Destiny Gundam crashes onto the Moon’s surface. The Archangel performs a barrel roll and blasts the Minerva from above. Athrun then slams his backpack glider through the Minerva‘s engines, causing the ship to crash on the Moon. Durandal is informed that they’ve lost the signals from Shinn and Rey. Kira docks with his METEOR again, and Rey floats over to Messiah. Yzak warns the Eternal to fall back because Messiah is about to fire again. The Archangel and Eternal manage to escape, but the blast destroys several ZAFT ships. Requiem begins to charge, and Athrun and Mu force their way into the chamber. They use Athrun’s backpack and Mu’s DRAGOONs to destroy the cannon.
Shinn has a vision where he’s floating naked in space and sees Stella. Shinn tells her she shouldn’t be there, and she tells him she’ll see him tomorrow. She had a yesterday, so now she can tells which day is tomorrow now. Durandal is shocked when he watches Requiem’s explosion. Lunamaria pulls Shinn out of his cockpit, and she tells him Orb wasn’t destroyed by Requiem. Kira begins slicing into Messiah’s outer ring, destroying its shield. He then flies inside the fortress and causes heavy damage. Shinn begins to cry and hugs Lunamaria. Talia orders the crew to abandon ship and asks Arthur to take command while she leaves. Kira enters the command room and finds Durandal waiting for him. Kira pulls a gun, and Durandal does the same. Rey runs through the fortress, and Talia flies over in a shuttle. Durandal says the world will fall back into chaos if Kira kills him. Kira knows that might happen, but people are capable of choosing a different path. Durandal thinks people will eventually forget and repeat the same history. Athrun enters Messiah, and Rey appears behind Kira. Kira says that people can understand each other and change, and that no one wants to live in a world without change. Durandal mentions that Kira is the Ultimate Coordinator, but Kira proclaims that he’s no different from any other person. Talia enters the room, and Rey aims his gun at Kira. Durandal asks Kira how he would deal with a chaotic world, and Kira says he’ll fight. Athrun enters the room, and Rey fires his gun at Durandal. Talia runs over to Durandal, who asks if she shot him. She tells him it was Rey, and Rey cries that Kira wants a future. The room begins to explode, and Talia tells Kira and Athrun to leave. She mentions she has a son and asks if Murrue can visit him. Kira and Athrun leave, and Talia asks Rey to come over to her. Durandal apologizes to Talia and says he’s happy. Kira and Athrun escape as Messiah explode and crashes into the Moon. The Minerva‘s crew escapes in a shuttle, and Lacus asks ZAFT to agree to a ceasefire. Both sides then fire signal flares to retreat. Athrun lands on the Moon to pick up Shinn and Lunamaria, while Mu returns to the Archangel and Murrue. Later, ZAFT and Orb agree to a ceasefire that ends the war. Lacus, who served as a mediator, returns to the PLANTs at the Supreme Council’s request. Shinn, Lunamaria, Athrun and Meyrin visit the Orb war memorial and lay down flowers. Shinn says he’s hated the place for a long time, and Kira arrives with Lacus and Birdy. Athrun introduces Shinn to Kira, and Kira offers his hand. Shinn initially hesitates, but puts out his hand and shakes Kira’s. Kira tells him that no matter how many times the flowers are wiped out, they can plant more. Athrun says that’s their battle, and when Kira asks Shinn to fight alongside them, he cries and agrees. Later, they return to Aprilius, with Kira dressed in a ZAFT commander’s uniform. Kira runs over to Lacus and hugs her. She then enters the Supreme Council chamber, followed by Yzak.
The last Special Editions covers episodes 43-50, but thankfully it uses FINAL PLUS as its base instead of the TV ending. This Special Edition improves on the pacing by cutting out extraneous bits like the Meer clip show, and it substantially cuts down on the Meer episode that preceded it. Unfortunately, the flaws in the story are still present here, and as I stated in the last SE review, no compilation can fix that. Dearka and Yzak have little more than cameos here, even compared to their limited role at this point in the TV series. Shinn still gets the short end of the stick in the last battle and comes across as little more than a third-rate loser nemesis, like Zeta Gundam‘s Jerid Messa. All the action is still hogged up by Kira and Athrun, but if you’re fans of them, I guess that’s OK for you. There’s only a smattering of new animation here, including a change to the scene where Lunamaria is trying to shoot down Djibril’s shuttle. Although this SE uses FINAL PLUS as the basis for its ending, it actually goes a bit further. After the reconciliation between Kira and Shinn, there’s a new scene in the PLANTs depicting Kira in a white ZAFT commander’s uniform. There’s no explanation given for why Kira is in ZAFT now, although I guess the intention was to have all the good guys on the same side instead of fighting each other. This move means that Kira has served in the militaries of all three major powers in the Cosmic Era universe. Athrun is in the Orb military again, and I guess ZAFT doesn’t want him back for a third time. Interestingly, Shinn is shown without his FAITH badge. Perhaps he was busted back down to a regular pilot since Durandal was buttering him up as a lapdog of evil and letting him break all the rules.