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Doubletakes: Gundam SEED Destiny (Episodes 34 & 35)

May 3, 2019

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!

 

 

EPISODE 34

 

Big Take — Minerva vs. Archangel, And No One Is Happy

 

For reasons as of yet unclear, and despite Durandal’s new declaration of war against Logos, the Minerva receives orders to shoot down the Archangel. Despite diplomatic efforts by both ships’ captains, the two ships are forced to clash in battle — and Shinn takes the opportunity to go after the Freedom. He completely destroys Kira’s mobile suit (at no small cost to the Impulse), and it’s unclear whether Kira gets killed or not.

 

Athrun pretty much loses his shit seeing Kira shot down either way, and the episode ends on his dramatic yell.

 

Reaction as a fan: I should not be enjoying this fight between the Freedom and the Impulse, but oh god, I am. These two are so epic pitted against each other in battle.... I’m so annoyed at Athrun, though! I know he doesn’t have a mobile suit any more to speak of, so he’s pretty much helpless, but.... He’s so helpless. He obviously doesn’t like what’s going on, obviously doesn’t want this... so get creative, Athrun! DO SOMETHING, DO ANYTHING!

 

Reaction as a writer: If I had to guess, I’d say this defeat of Kira’s is meant to serve as the beginning of his just deserts for killing Stella, and for following his previous, overly-idealistic-and-yet-violent path alongside the Archangel. I’m guessing the Freedom is toast and isn’t gonna get rebuilt. But Kira’s still a protagonist (assuming he’s not dead), and still has to correct his mistakes, so a new mobile suit will have to turn up — one that can stand for something different than the Freedom did, something better, a method of eradicating war that will actually work (because you can’t leave a protagonist without a Gundam in Gundam, come on). Overall, taking Kira out is exactly the development that needed to happen. Kira has already been thoughtful, but he obviously needed to be forced to reevaluate his methods in a big way before he was going to change. He’ll have no choice but to reevaluate now that Shinn has robbed him of his badass weapon. We don’t even know at this point if the Archangel is okay! That ship is my favorite ship of any space ship anywhere — so I’ll be sad to see it go, but if the Archangel team needs to start completely from scratch, too, before they can change direction, so be it.

 

Athrun needs to move after this. He NEEDS to. It is now absolutely time for him to make further decisions. Yeah, the Savior is gone and supplies are hard for the Minerva to come by — I don’t care. If this guy doesn’t finally start making use of his FAITH agency, if he doesn’t get a new mobile suit, like, immediately now that he’s seen his best friend shot down... I am going to feel outraged, and like the writers are wasting Athrun’s character potential.

 

I’d also like to know how long Lacus intends to hide out in the Eternal, at the ready for god knows what. We haven’t seen what’s been going on in her head, what she discovered after reaching the PLANTs, what her plans are, what she’s waiting for. If she’s got something figured out that I don’t, I would very much appreciate knowing WHAT. If she’s this game’s winning ace, then WHY IS SHE JUST SITTING THERE?

 

Lastly, I want to point out the brilliance that is showing Shinn laugh-crying after having defeated the Freedom. He seems to believe he has avenged Stella. He outwitted the Freedom — the thing he wanted and planned for so badly. But he is visibly unhappy despite achieving his goals. Honestly, he looks two breaths away from cracking completely. This is a beautiful way for the writers to show us — to confirm for us — that in case we forgot, yep, fighting definitely doesn’t solve anything permanent. Viewers are supposed to root for peace; even though Shinn had darn good reasons to go after Kira, and even though Kira needed his ass handed to him... battle can only end in tears. And death. Nothing else. Tears and death. All the characters need to find another route forward.

 

For real, lastly — Kira has to join ZAFT. I’m still calling it. GO HOME TO YOUR SPACE PEOPLE, ULTIMATE COORDINATOR.

 

 

EPISODE 35

 

This episode was a cool-down episode designed to give viewers a breather and to re-orient us, filling us in on what all characters everywhere are doing. As such, I don’t have much to say, but I’ll sum up the events shown and give brief thoughts.

 

Kira is alive, and the Archangel has managed to escape destruction. Kira doesn’t know what to do without the Freedom. Cagalli and the others are taking care of him in the sick bay, and since Mu is there too, we get to see Murrue interact with him. (It seems Murrue had her cry earlier and is now handling this weird new Mu like a champ.) Back on the Minerva, Athrun and Shinn clash some more over ideals — no big surprises there. Rey is the person to calmly reprimand them both, and to remind Athrun that if he doesn’t like that the Freedom was shot down, then oops, too bad, because Athrun joined ZAFT, and ZAFT’s orders were to take the Freedom out. In space, Lacus looks like she’s about to start moving with whatever her plan is with the Eternal. Yzak and Dearka are up there, too, being Yzak and Dearka (amazing), getting worked up about Durandal’s new war on Logos and preparing for whatever comes next. Durandal and Meer both head down to Earth, apparently to participate in whatever calamity has birthed there as a result of the frenzied citizens hunting down Djibril and the other Logos members (all thanks to Durandal’s speech). Everyone pretty much assumes that Durandal will order ZAFT to participate in rooting out Logos as well.

 

Then the kicker. In Gibraltar, where the ZAFT forces are assembling, Durandal calls both Shinn and Athrun to him and presents them each with new machines. Shinn is puppy-eyed ecstatic. Athrun, though, has reservations about trusting Durandal this time — and for good reason, as in this episode Durandal finally begins showing his true colors as a villainous manipulator. It’s revealed that he was the person who wanted the Archangel and Freedom destroyed, and that now he has something fishy orchestrated for Shinn and Athrun as well.

 

Reaction as a fan: This is all wonderful. Kira in his hospital bed with Cagalli shoving food in his face is adorable. Yzak being pissy and beautiful, whipping soldiers into shape while Dearka tries to rein in Yzak’s temper is my favorite thing in this show, I swear. Overall, this episode was fun as heck — but I’m nervous about Meer’s fate, suddenly — and all from two brief, subtle looks she shoots Durandal as Durandal is going about being... himself. I feel like Durandal probably hasn’t told Meer the whole story, here. I’m worried Meer genuinely wants to be good, but has started to realize that Durandal isn’t. And if she figures that out and tries to fight back or do something about it to obtain justice (like the real Lacus would)... I have a feeling she’ll be toast. My writer side predicted Lacus might be killed. Maybe now it’s “Lacus” who’s a goner, instead?

 

Reaction as a writer: Good. Cute. A breather episode to orient us before moving the plot again was necessary, so I’m pleased with the time taken to deliver it. This episode even threw a few new developments in successfully. But from here on out I’ll be chomping at the bit. Athrun has a new mobile suit now, FINALLY. So get. The boy. DOING SOMETHING. It is his time to shine and I swear, if I have to watch him waffle for ONE MORE SECOND, I will throw my SEED Destiny DVDs out of sheer frustration and break them. Every single one.

 

**Edit: As I draft these write-ups, if I don’t pause to draft them in the middle of watching episodes, I always pause as soon as the ending theme starts playing to finish my drafting then. I did that this time, finished writing the above, then let the ending theme and the next episode preview play.

 

It looks like the next episode features Athrun actually doing something. THANK. GUNDAM. That’s really all I can say.

 

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