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 — Stella Revealed As The Gaia’s Pilot
Shinn shoots Stella down and finally learns that she’s been piloting the Gaia. Astonished and frantic, he takes her aboard the Minerva for medical care, where he also discovers she’s an Extended. Stella is hysterical upon waking in the hospital room; she doesn’t recall meeting Shinn earlier. But eventually, her memories seem to return. Shinn appears overall highly invested in Stella, and sympathetic toward her condition.
Reaction as a fan: I figured this would be an adorable and tragic meeting when it finally happened. I AM NOT DISAPPOINTED. They’re so cute. Poor Stella! But when Shinn is with her, we see his best side — so I’m kind of hoping that this drama goes on.
Reaction as a writer: This meeting was a long time coming. Now it’s here, so I don’t have much commentary, other than to say I think the moment has been handled well. The question is what will come after this. Will ZAFT be able to help Stella get back to normal? Will Stella join ZAFT? Will Stella tragically die? More likely, I feel this is an opportunity to link Neo and Murrue Ramius — another plot point I know is on its way. Stella is a Natural, and so, if it turns out she doesn’t want to fight any more, but she doesn’t join ZAFT, and if Shinn cares about her... then where might Stella end up? There’s no way Shinn would allow her to fall back into the hands of the Earth Forces. I can therefore perhaps see Shinn coming around regarding the Archangel... and handing Stella over to them for safekeeping, maybe. If Stella and Murrue Ramius can meet, it’d be easy from there to get Murrue news about Neo, to set up Murrue’s reunion with Mu. I just.... That reunion with Mu has to get here SOMEHOW. Dang it, Destiny — get the pieces in place!
Take 2 — Boss Bitch Back In Action
Lacus Clyne is far from a “bitch” in the traditional sense of the word. It’s just that my weight-lifting, bikini-muscle-contest-winning sister once dubbed a badass woman a “boss bitch,” so now I use that phrasing. Whoops.
ANYWAY, considering how Lacus handled Athrun Zala in the first SEED — on that stage, in that aqua-blue dress, where she fed him the world’s best reality check — we know she kicks huge amounts of ass. In this episode, she kicks it again. She chooses to leave on a solo mission to the PLANTs to investigate what’s going on.
Reaction as a fan: Pfffft— the way she impersonates Meer Campbell’s impersonations of her is awesome. I am cheering for Lacus so hard; it’s about time she got to be cool again. But I swear to you, Destiny, if you kill her off....
Reaction as a writer: If I were Destiny’s writers, this is exactly where I would kill Lacus off. People have already been trying to assassinate her. We just got to see her do something really cool. Kira and Athrun are both uncertain again about what is right. I would absolutely kill Lacus Clyne off — because if she died at this point, it would create maximum tragedy and feels for both characters and viewers, and would also serve as a push, as story momentum. Kira and Athrun would have to re-evaluate again, and then DO something. Remember how I’ve said that good characters make decisions and act on them? Even Lacus thinks so. In the hot tub, Lacus says to Cagalli, “First, decide. Then just do it. That’s the only way to achieve anything of real value in this world.” Remember how I also said that characters who have their shit together don’t tend to feature prominently in stories, because characters with their shit together aren’t good hubs for the conflict that drives narratives?
So, for me at least, everything points toward it being a good time for Lacus to die. That said, do I actually think the SEED Destiny writers will kill Lacus off? No. I think they’re too chicken, considering they made up Heine Westenfluss so they could kill him instead of anyone else important. Lacus is important and dear to our hearts. Me, that’s WHY I would considering offing her, but Destiny’s team... nah. Ultimately I assume she’ll be left alive... but I do think they’ve at least got to put her in some danger if they’re not going to kill her. That, or... I guess just send her in like a drone to blast apart ALL of Destiny’s problems and open a path to the next half of the show? (We do have the Eternal still existing somewhere. I mean... don’t we? WE HAD BETTER STILL HAVE THE ETERNAL EXISTING SOMEWHERE, IF THE ARCHANGEL CAN.) Either way, it’ll probably be thanks to Lacus somehow that we’ll see revealed the truth about Durandal at last. I’m antsy waiting for that dang reveal....
Take 1 — Lunamaria’s Stalking, Part 2
We find out that Luna was ordered to tail Athrun by Captain Talia Gladys — in order to gather information on the Archangel’s whereabouts.
Reaction as a fan: SHIT. Lunamaria, I’m sorry — I was wrong about you and your motives! (Thank you for pleasantly surprising me.) Damn it, Talia — I know you like having as much information as possible, and it’s nice that you genuinely trust and like Athrun despite that you chose to have him spied on, but still.... You clearly don’t realize that having information about the Archangel endangers it! Suppose the Chairman gets a hold of that!
Reaction as a writer: I feel better about Lunamaria now. Do I still think she can be petty? Yes. But now it’s clear she was simply following orders, being an excellent soldier. She has also now proved herself to be shrewd. Even though Talia orders Luna to forget everything she learned while eavesdropping... it’s clear Luna feels conflicted about that. There’s a big ball still in Luna’s court; what will she decide to do with what she knows? Will she help or hinder Athrun and Kira’s ultimate goals? The writers have set Luna up to play a fantastic role. She’s turning out to be a more important character than I had pegged her for. I like that.
Take 2 — Captain Todaka
Todaka of Orb is a boss. He’s just a side character, but every time he shows up on screen, he’s doing something wonderful. He’s the person who looks out for Shinn after Shinn’s family dies, and then suggests that Shinn goes to live in the PLANTs. He’s the guy who lets the Freedom and the Archangel escape from Orb after Kira kidnaps Cagalli — by creatively interpreting the orders he is given to stop them from escaping. Todaka has a wicked strong moral compass and is never afraid to underhandedly screw over his superiors if he thinks his superiors are being dumb. But lately, Yuna Roma Seiran has been breathing down his neck, making it difficult for him to fight for what he believes in.
Reaction as a fan: This guy is INCREDIBLE. ...He is a goner, isn’t he.
Reaction as a writer: Yeah, I think he’s a goner. But I think if he’s going to get killed off, then he’s going to go down like a boss, to help the Archangel he’s a fanboy for.