Still in fun intro times here. Let’s jump right in.
Episode 4: The Victoria Nightmare
Lake Victoria is an Alliance training academy, as well as a mobile suit manufacturing base. Two hot targets in one. Wufei (05) heads straight for it. Zechs is tracking him, and makes plans to be there as well, though his new suit won’t be ready for a few months. In comes a call from Lt. Lucrezia Noin.
Her body language and tone of voice say it all. She has a huuuuuge thing for Zechs.
She has such a raging crush on this guy she keeps track of the hours since she last saw him. Noin is usually considered to be a reasonable person, but her thing for Zechs is highly unreasonable. Even he knows that when they were at the Academy together, same year, “She was always trying to be number two” to make him look good. At first, from the feminist perspective, this is infuriating. But later Noin refers to him as “Peacecraft,” hinting at a secret we don’t yet know.
So, to recap, Noin wants to bang Zechs, and he knows it but won’t act on it. We don’t know why. (13×6 fangirls have a theory!)
Anyway. Noin is a trainer as well as one of the highest ranking officers at the base. She’s currently preparing a class for graduation into the Specials, the Alliance’s elite troops. Their first mission is to get off base with their shiny new Taurus suits before the gundam arrives to kill him.
Zechs arrives and there’s more flirting. Noin takes Zechs to what is essentially a nightclub on base for the trainees, and she taps her sword against his in a suggestive manner. He just stands there. (I mean, he’s on the phone with his mechanic, woman.)
Oh, they also argue a little about the purpose of battle. Noin hates wars, but she loves space. She believes she’s trained her soldiers so well they won’t be killed in battle. She thinks that “battles that risk men’s lives are miscalculations.”
That night, Wufei attacks the base. He wires the trainee barracks with explosives and takes out the entire graduating class. This is, indeed, a nightmare, and probably one of the worst acts of war in the series. Noin is furious, and suits up to take him on herself. Wufei is using a motorcycle to get from the base back to his gundam, and Noin manages to slow him down. She accuses him of weakness for attacking the trainees. She realizes that he’s just a kid, and he realizes that she’s a woman. He uses her hesitation to blind her and escapes to his suit, Shenlong. When Noin’s men show up with a special laser canon, she tells them not to use it… and Wufei cuts them down, knocks her aside, and uses the canon himself to take out a carrier full of Tauruses (which Zechs told them not to launch, but did they listen to him? Noooooo…).
Soldiers: Target in sight: fire!
Noin: Don’t shoot!
Soldiers: Lt. Noin, why not?
Wufei: ‘Cause she’s a woman. *smug, destroys everything she holds dear*
Wufei tells the downed Noin that he doesn’t “kill bleeding hearts or women.” Basically, anyone too weak for him. Noin’s suit is disabled and she’s so angry she can’t stand it. More of her men bring her back to base where she has to face Zechs. He helps her out of her suit (!!!) and reminds her that she’s one of the best. She asks to fight with him, she doesn’t want to be a trainer anymore. She wants to get this guy.
On the other side of the planet, Duo and Heero are still on that ship fixing up their suits. Wing is in worse shape than Deathscythe. Duo complains that Heero “won’t even acknowledge our help … he’s antisocial, thinks he’s Eval Knieval and hardly speaks!” Best lines of the episode definitely go to Duo. Heero just tells him to shut up and stop touching his suit.
Then an alert comes in over Wing’s comm. There’s an Alliance ship carrying gundanium. Heero says he’ll get to it in the morning and Duo reminds him that his suit is broken. No way he can fix it in one night, especially without parts. Heero says, “It’d take a miracle for you, maybe, but I can handle it.” He’s not arrogant at all.
Quick cut to Relena, standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Number of times Relena screams, “HEEEEEEEEEEEEROOOOOO!”: 2
Bonus points: Asks him to kill her.
Ok, so what she’s really doing here is trying to bait him into coming back. She doesn’t really want him to kill her–she doesn’t really believe he would. But she’s worried about him, so she tries.
Cut to her father in a meeting with a bunch of Alliance generals arguing over how to use their forces. They want to control the colonies even more tightly, which Vice Foreign Minister Dorlian (Relena’s dad) objects to. They accuse him of being a spy for the colonies. All of this is in the name of peace and he wants to know when they’ll realize that they are the greatest threat to peace.
Now here’s one of my favorite parts. Pop to a flower-surrounded Greek pavilion at sunset. Treize is taking a bubble bath.
While taking this bath, he gives orders to his assistant, Colonel Une. She dislikes the praise he gives to Zechs. And she will have rose oil ready for his next bath. This pleases him.
Returning to a major plot thread, Heero has fixed Wing overnight and takes off to complete his mission. Duo is amazed and admiring. How’d he do it? Why, he stole parts from Deathscythe, that’s how.
Number of times Duo screams “
NOOOOOO! TRAITOR!”: 1
The boys are off to a great start.
Our other favorite pair of boys, Trowa and Quatre, have the cutest little interlude where Quatre is playing the violin and Trowa joins him on the flute. It’s adorable, you guys. It gives me warm fuzzies. And if you’re a 3×4 shipper, you love this scene like nobody’s business. You make faces like Treize in his bath.
We end with Wufei yelling at a pack of hyenas that wanted to eat him. Yes, he yells and they go away. Because he’s strong, you see. “Fighting a weak enemy leaves me feeling so empty afterwards…”
I think I covered the lunacy that is Noin’s hard-on for Zechs. Her motivation for letting him win all the time will become clear later.
Wufei is an angry young man, and he makes a lot of viewers angry, too. There are supplemental materials that make his worldview come clear, and actually can give one sympathy for him. In the manga Episode Zero, which is all about the pilots’ lives pre-series, we learn that Wufei came from a gentry family in the colonies. They betrothed him young, at the age of 14, to a girl who insisted she was strong enough to be a great warrior. She was supposed to take the gundam, but she died from her wounds in battle. Wufei put aside his own beliefs and adopted hers in her honor. (Wait, this sounds crazy, too, doesn’t it? Oops.) So, he’s obsessed with weakness and strength. He hates fighting anyone weaker than himself, so he’s always looking for someone stronger. Stay tuned. (I’m not entirely sure how admiring the strength of this one girl turned into ‘all women are weak’ but maybe it’ll come clear on this rewatch.)
He does a legitimately awful thing in this episode, waiting until night to take out the weakest soldiers while they sleep. It’s not hard to hate Wufei at this point.
You could also hate Heero for screwing Duo over. Or think he’s utterly crazy when he takes out the new target and laughs. Yes, Heero has a creepy laugh. But you know what? This is him establishing himself in the living world again. He had one mission that he borked and has spent the last week trying to wipe it and himself off the map. Now he has a new mission, he carries it out successfully… he’s alive and he can still be productive. He IS a good soldier. BWAHAHAHAHA. I know, I know, it’s strange. You need to understand something about his background, too. He has spent as much as the last 7ish years in training. He has been molded into this by his trainer. There is no other way to be. And if he’s not this… who is he? More on that later.
Good Things Relena Does: Um.
Dumb Things Relena Does: Yell into the void for Heero to come kill her.
I’m sorry, guys. I’m rooting for her but it’s looking bad right now. Good: 6, Dumb: 8.
Episode 5: Relena’s Secret
Relena accompanies her father into space again. This time Treize’s second, Colonel/Lady Une joins them. Her purpose is to find out if these colonial rebellion rumors are true… and something else. She has a special makeup compact that she plants outside the door of a meeting Dorlain is in. When Relena knocks on the door to let her father know she’s going out, she sees the compact and recognizes it as belonging to Une, so she takes it back to her. Une hurls the compact through the window of the meeting room where it explodes, killing everyone but Relena’s dad. Relena makes it upstairs in time for colonial rebels to remove her and her father while the Alliance tries to shoot them down. Lucky save for Relena.
The rebels can’t take Dorlain to a hospital, they’re all watched by Alliance forces. But they have doctors in their “organization.” Dorlain is lucid enough to tell Relena a great secret. He’s not her biological dad, she’s the daughter of the Peacecraft (!) family, which once fought so hard for peace. The family were the rulers of a nation (Sanq) that the Alliance wiped out in their play for total control. Dorlain was a senator in that nation, and when he fled he took Relena with him to hide her. Relena’s too overwhelmed by her father’s impending death to take any of this in. The rebels drug her so she passes out.
Back in the desert, Trowa leaves Quatre’s base. Quatre is sad. His second in command, Rashid, asks, “What if he attacks?” Quatre says, “I almost wish he would. Then at least I’d be able to see him again.” (THEY’RE SO CUTE, OMG. Screw neutrality, I’m in the Quatre/Trowa camp.)
Zechs and Noin see Une on the news talking about the attack. Zechs just says, “Poor girl.” Remember that they’re both really Peacecrafts. Noin wishes he would open up.
Relena wakes up to find that her father has just died. The rebels are very sorry they couldn’t do more. The TV shows Une speaking to reporters about them as “evil terrorists” who kidnapped Dorlain and his daughter. Relena isn’t sure who to trust, so she grabs one of the rebels’ guns and demands to know who’s responsible for her father’s death. OZ, right? Then someone new enters. Dr. J.
Dr. J explains to Relena that he knows Heero because he trained him to be a professional assassin. “How’s that rascal doing? What a kid. Hee hee hee hee hee.” J argues that Heero is only assigned to kill bad people, and thus helps the cause of peace. Relena doesn’t buy that–how can killing someone ever lead to peace? J then disproves his theory by giving a history lesson.
Twenty years ago, there was a man named Heero Yuy (!) who ruled all the colonies with a pacifist hand. OZ wanted war, so they assassinated him. That’s where they got 01’s code name. (Relena: Code name? sad she didn’t get his real name or something) If left unchecked, OZ will take over the Alliance and everything will be guided by military interests. Relena asks why Heero (01) has to take on this huge responsibility. Dr. J says Heero understands the pains of the colonies. “But still!” says Relena.
Meanwhile, Heero is taking out another target when Duo shows up. Looks like they’re after the same thing. They’ll have to fight for it.
Dr. J drops Relena off somewhere that can get her back home safely. Relena asks why he saved her. Is it because she’s Dorlain’s daughter? No. It’s because she had the same look as Heero. He’s really a kind-hearted boy, you see. They’re probably the only two people who believe this.
Heero takes aim–and takes down an Aries that was about to get Duo from behind. “I’ve returned the favor. HAHAHAHAHAHA.” And he takes off back to his safe house.
The final scene is Relena flying home to Earth and remembering her father–the man who will always be father to her.
This is an exposition-heavy episode but it doesn’t really feel like it. Everything changes because of these revelations, although the audience won’t necessarily see that on first viewing. Relena’s hidden identity is a major plot point.
Dr. J is an interesting figure. As Heero’s trainer and the builder of Wing, he holds a lot of secrets. He’s obviously seen a lot of life himself. Who is he really?
And how was he able to train Heero so harshly when he knows that he’s really a “kind-hearted boy”? It must kill the kid to do these things. Heero is an onion, man. Many, many layers.
Good Things Relena Does: Kindly returns a lost item. Listens to Dr. J (I can’t believe this is on the good list). Believes that Heero is really a kind-hearted boy.
Dumb Things Relena Does: Accidentally leads to her fathers demise anyway. Pulls a gun on her rescuers. Believes that Heero is really a kind-hearted boy.
Good: 9, Dumb: 11.
Episode 6: Party Night
Relena returns home. The paparazzi are all over her but she ignores them. (Did I mention she has a pink limo? She does.) She goes to her mother, who is just happy Relena’s okay. Relena remembers what her father said about being a Peacecraft and throws her arms around her mom. “You’re my mother. You’ll always be my real mother.”
Treize and Une confer. Treize says Dorlain is the sort of sacrifice needed for “the new era.” Then he releases a pair of budgies from their cage.
Everyone take a shot, because this is the first episode where a red shirt exclaims, “It’s a GUNDAM!” before being annihilated. Wufei has the first honors.
Relena’s school is putting on a big party, but Heero’s upstairs hacking his school records to remove himself from the database. He looks down at the party and says to himself with a smile, “I’m not involved.”
Relena does come to the party even though she’s in mourning. She hears that Heero’s leaving and immediately seeks him out. He pulls a gun on her but she points out that if he killed her now it would draw too much attention. So instead she invites him to come dance. And for some reason, he says yes.
Jump to Trowa, who’s late for his circus gig. Catherine Bloom, the knife thrower, is supposed to hurl knives at Trowa for their act. He is unflinching. In fact, Catherine realizes he’s practically begging for his death. This rattles her and her last knife causes a small cut on his cheek. When she goes to apologize to him she says he’s wild, like the lion. She also tells him to smile more. It’s a little flirty. (There are people who swear Trowa and Catherine are meant to be, but general consensus is that their relationship is more like siblings. We’ll see.)
Treize sends Une on a new mission, and his budgies come back. I still don’t get what the budgies mean.
Wufei is blowing things up and calling them weak, per usual. Quatre, meanwhile, is doing his research and realizing there are four other pilots. He wishes he could meet them. Back on the boat, Duo is watching the moon while his engineer buddies get high as balls on a “cup a joe” though Howard is clearly holding a wine bottle… Whatever, Duo’s wondering about “that guy” and what he’s up to. (Cue 1×2 fangirl squeals.)
What’s Heero up to? Dancing with Relena.
Relena: Heero. I know too much about you. Are you still gonna kill me?
The man is so eloquent.
Then Une shows up. She’s here to take out Dorlain’s daughter. Heero thinks that OZ has found his hideout. So he runs back to Wing and starts fighting. Une was not anticipating any kind of defensive action and so her small unit is wiped out.
In the heat of battle, Heero gets one perfect moment. Relena’s standing all alone, everyone else has fled. She’s completely vulnerable. If he killed her now, it would be chalked up to the battle, no one the wiser. Then a part of the building comes crashing down toward her.
And he saves her. He moves out of instinct and shields her from the falling brick. He’s absolutely stunned and doesn’t move for several minutes while they just stare at each other. The enemy is confused. Then, hulk SMASH. Heero whips around and destroys the last mobile suit. “What’s wrong with me?!”
By this point, Une is ready to kill Relena herself but she gets a call from Treize. She’s to turn back and let Relena live. Why? Noin has put in a request on Zechs’ behalf. That Peacecraft thing? Zechs is one, too. Which makes Relena his only living relative. Treize can certainly do a favor for his oldest friend. (A note for Treize fans: he did not know Relena was more than a rumor. I was under the impression he knew everything, but leave it to Zechs to be close-lipped.)
After clearing out the enemy, he goes back to Relena, who’s still standing there and he tries again. He thrusts that arm right at her.
And he misses.
What IS wrong with him? Why can’t he kill her? He knows intellectually that it would be better if she died. He has an obligation to the mission to kill her. And yet.
So he up and leaves, because it’s easier than dealing with what just happened. Relena calls after him to not run away from her. She is a sad, concerned girl. And he is… stony.
This may be my favorite episode. The emotions just run so high between Relena and Heero. A lot of fanworks depict Heero as completely cold and unfeeling, but it’s clear here that he does feel things. Things he isn’t comfortable with.
It’s like watching him hit puberty in real time. It’s awesome.
On her end, Relena is actively challenging him to feel. She has this innate sense that he is a good person, a compassionate person, and she wants to bring that out of him. That that would be cruel in the middle of a war doesn’t seem to matter to her. The boy still has a job to do. He can go all to pieces later.
Are we starting to see how the hints of romance keep piling up? Duo literally moons over Heero. Noin wants to do the horizontal tango with Zechs. Treize and his rose-scented bath tub. And none of it ever comes to fruition! It’s maddening! So draw your own conclusions about all these hints because we never find out in the series if any of it is true or not.
If you want to accept the new novel Frozen Teardrop as canon–and many of us don’t–there are a few things about the future we do know. But, that’s an even more messed up book than this show, so I’m going to ignore pretty much all the post-series parts and just listen to pre-series history. Which is also really, really messed up.
Good Things Relena Does: Vows allegiance to her adoptive parents. Gets strategic RE: can’t shoot me now.
Dumb Things Relena Does: Challenges Heero to go ahead and shoot her. Asks the boy with the gun to dance with her. Asks again if he’s going to kill her. Stays still so he has two opportunities to kill her.
SIGH. Good: 11, Dumb: 15.
Next week, things get darker.