Mobile Suit Gundam:
Series 2, Episode 21
It's interesting to chart how fandom views McGillis. When the show started, everybody hated him, and it seemed most people enjoyed his presence but disliked him as a person by the end of the first series. Then, at some point in the second series, people decided they liked him, and then -- at about the point where he was revealed as a paedophile, but I'm not going to examine that case of 'correlation is probably not causation' too deeply -- that they loved him.
Now, as we enter the very last stretch, public opinion has shifted back around to hate again, as people increasingly view McGillis as a charlatan, a charismatic conman whose plans were never as well thought through as he thought they were, and whose mistakes are now coming back to haunt Tekkadan.
In this week's episode, Tekkadan and McGillis' fleet make a hasty retreat from the battle, leaving Earth to Rustal, and head towards Mars to make their last stand. On the way, everyone reels from the loss of Shino, and from their catastrophic defeat in battle. As Orga's resolve weakens, Yamagi struggles with his grief, and Eugene struggles to keep the group together. But with Rustal and his fleet in pursuit, and Tekkadan's forces decimated, a battle that they may not be able to win looms.
|Isurugi, wait, no.|
So, apart from a burst of fighting at the beginning, this is mostly a talky, cool-down episode -- but what a burst of battle it is. In just a short span of time, Julieta nearly dies, and Isurugi actually does die, his suit impaled through the stomach with the Kimaris' drill knee. McGillis actually seems quite shocked by this parti
For reference, this means that the important named Mobile Suit pilots on each side stands as follows. Team Rustal has Julia, Gali-Gali, and Iok, while Team McGillis has McGillis, Mika, Akihiro, maybe Hash, and maybe Orga. Of those, Team Rustal has one Gundam pilot, and Team McGillis has three, so in terms of that, Team McGillis still has the advantage -- except Rustal also has a nigh-unstoppable Dainsleif squadron.
This battle also sees Tekkadan hit a new low, as despite always having gone back for the bodies of their friends before, this time they have no choice but to leave Shino behind, and despite the fact that that arguably makes no difference -- he's dead either way -- it's still quite tragic.
|A shocked Gali.|
In the aftermath, we get to see that Shino was, in fact, aware of Yamagi's feelings for him, which makes his offer to drink the night away with Yamagi all the more meaningful, since it makes it a clear indicator that he was willing to try a relationship (even if he was a little confused about how that would work when Tekkadan is purportedly a family). I wouldn't have chalked Eugene for Shinagi shipper du jour, but apparently he was, and I'm okay with that.
We also get to see McGillis trying to sell more snake oil to Orga. It's pretty clear that at this point, Orga is at least somewhat aware that McGillis can't follow through on all his promises, but since Rustal will literally never let Tekkadan survive now, they really have no choice but to bet on McGillis and his troops.
In fact, the fact that McGillis can't follow through comes into play not long afterwards, when Gjallarhorn's Mars Branch refuses them the right to dock at Ares, meaning that basically the only place the fleet can go is -- well, Chryse, probably.
|Zen and the art of mecha maintenance.|
So, we get doubts from Orga, Mika and Yamagi talking him around, the usual stuff for one of these episodes. I'd be annoyed by how often Orga gets beset with doubt, but then, this is undoubtedly the last time this will happen, so I don't mind so much.
On Rustal's side of things, we get Gali-Gali chatting to Julieta, who proclaims that she will not be getting AV surgery, and will instead surpass human pilots without it. That's a sweet sentiment, but she is definitely going to die in the upcoming battle. She's easily the best pilot in the show, but without the Reginlaze Julia, I'm really not sure she can fend Mika off. Maybe Rustal will give her a Gundam, who knows.
Next episode looks like it'll be rising action to build up towards another battle, so let's start taking bets on who will live and who will die in the upcoming battle. For Team Rustal, I bet that Rustal, Iok, Gali-Gali, Ein (again), and Julieta will all die. For Team McGillis, I'm betting that Mika and Akihiro will both die, while Orga, Hash, Eugene, and Yamagi will all end up living. Oh, and Atra. Atra too.
I'm actually a little annoyed, because the show seems to be slightly hinting at Atra being pregnant, given Hash's comment about how she seems different, and if so I will be deeply vexed that Iron-Blooded Orphans even accidentally managed to play into fanboy's absurd waifu dreams.