Welcome to another Gundam SEED Destiny Doubletake! Each post, I dive into an episode or two of SEED Destiny and present two “takes” from it — two commentaries on plot or character points that stood out to me. I then explore each point from two perspectives — a fan’s perspective and a fiction writer’s perspective.
Frongi, Gundam DEE CORe... LAUNCHING!
Take 1 — On What Durandal’s Deal Might Be
The Archangel crew, hiding out, discusses its next course of action... and reaches an amusing consensus. None of them know what Durandal is up to. They all seem to agree that his actions are peaceful and diplomatic, but Kira especially is skeptical and uncomfortable to learn about Fake Lacus.
Reaction as a fan: THANK YOU. NOW I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE VOICING THESE CONFLICTED OPINIONS ABOUT DURANDAL.
Reaction as a writer: Yes — a nice piece of lampshading. Now I am not the only one who can’t decide what Durandal’s angle is, and whether he is good or bad. Destiny has addressed my frustration. The writers are saying, “Look, see — literally no one else has a clue about what Durandal’s deal is either; they're all as uncomfortable as you are!” This says to me that Destiny’s writers are definitely setting this up on purpose. This very discomfort is exactly what they want viewers to feel. And... trust me, I am feeling it. I am so invested in where this is going.
Take 2 — The Slap Follow-Up
Athrun catches Shinn alone, and they clash again, but this time more calmly (discussion, not violence). Shinn still believes he did the right thing. Athrun concedes minimally and creates some common ground between them, but then gives Shinn a reality check. He warns that if Shinn doesn’t rein himself in, Shinn will become the same type of destroyer as the destroyers who murdered his family.
Reaction as a fan: OHHHH. Also, MUCH BETTER. That’s how to put someone in line and change their thinking, Zala!
Reaction as a writer: The seed for Shinn’s character development into someone stronger and more mature has been planted — assuming that Shinn takes Athrun’s warnings to heart. And while it’s still not clear whether it’s Shinn or Athrun who is more in the right... now it doesn’t matter. The story can move forward as viewers consider both character’s sides/perspectives equally. Destiny shines here, doing what SEED does best — presenting the moral and ethical debates and gray areas found in war.
Bonus Take — Repeating History Theme
The characters keep bringing it up — the idea that history can repeat itself. Most of the characters don’t want history to repeat itself; they don’t want this new war to turn out like the last one. But then there’s Durandal, seeming to hope for certain points to repeat. He’s repeated Lacus Clyne with Meer, and seems to want to repeat the Archangel’s deeds with the Minerva’s....
Reaction as a fan: I am uncomfortable.
Reaction as a writer: I get it. We have a theme here about history repeating itself. But by now I’m doubting it’s only a theme — possibly because the point’s getting beaten to death, but possibly because the writers want me to pick up on something extra here. The repeated history idea is just... starting to feel... literal or something. Is... someone in this show actually trying to help or force history to repeat itself, unbeknownst to other characters who are desperately trying to avoid repeating history? I’m either over-analyzing, or I’m onto something.