Let us commence with the rewatch!
Episode 1: The Shooting Star She Saw
Five gundams descend to Earth. All land safely except for 01 (Heero) which is intercepted by OZ’s Lieutenant Zechs. The suit falls into the ocean and the pilot is presumed dead. Elsewhere, Relena and her father are returning from a trip to space, during which they did not get to spend much time together. An Alliance officer offers to take Relena’s father to his next meeting instead of home; Relena would rather walk than take a military car. On her way, she spots a figure washed up on the beach and discovers that this soldier is still alive.
She calls an ambulance, but just as it arrives the boy, Heero, wakes up. He immediately thinks to abort the mission and hits his self destruct button. It fails, so he steals the ambulance and drives away. Relena is shocked and curious. Meanwhile, the other four gundams are doing their thing and making the Alliance nervous. A lot of destruction in a small amount of time. Zechs and Treize are pretty chill about the whole thing, though. Relena returns to school, where other girls inform us she’s the richest girl in school and super popular. She doesn’t seem that interested until a new kid shows up in her class–Heero.
How? Why? And why is he pretending not to know her? Naturally, the thing to do is offer him an invitation to her birthday party, in front of everyone.
Yeah, that doesn’t go so well. Relena is shocked, and asks, “Why?” As he leaves, Heero pauses to say softly, “I’ll kill you.”
So, this does a decent job of setting up the world and everything. We understand who the bad guys are. The world sort of makes sense.
But really, really, the first few episodes are all about Heero and Relena. A lot of people think she’s crazy from the get-go. I mean, she does show poor judgment, but she is fifteen. (or 14.9999.) So, I think maybe we should keep a tally of Things Relena Does…
Good Things Relena Does: Not let military goons boss her around. Care about a dead/injured person.
Dumb Things Relena Does: Inspects the body before calling 911. Thinks the obviously covert operative wants to go to her birthday party. Shocked, just shocked when he promises to kill her.
So, not a great score for this episode. Good 2: Bad: 3. We’ll keep an eye on that.
But really, this sets the tone for their relationship for a long while. Heero runs, and Relena follows. Heero is 100% mission-oriented. He will die for his mission (somehow this never happens, he’s indestructible). His first priority is to keep his mission a secret, which means that the girl who saw his face has to die. We know Heero has no problem killing, because his first shot on Earth took out two mobile suits at once and he laughed. He laughed.
One argument I make for this show is that they’re all a little crazy.
Episode 2: The Gundam Deathscythe
It start at Relena’s school, where some dude goes up to Heero and is all, “Hey, why were you mean to her? I don’t take kindly to that.” And Heero whips out these badass fencing skills from nowhere and drives the broken end of his epee into the guy’s helmet, inches shy of killing him. (Seriously, how was Heero trained? My headcanon says he was taught to be like James Bond when necessary.) This impresses everyone. Then, one girl sees Heero practicing riding a horse. Only he’s making it jump really high.
He’s just showing off now… or is he? It’s implied that he uses the horse to launch himself to a third story window, where he does some hacking. His mission has become “destroy the gundam before OZ gets it” and he makes plans to get some super strong torpedoes that he will launch at his own suit.
In the land of OZ (hah), Zechs is playing politics to ensure he gets to the suit first. His men find it, but suddenly all the mobile suits in the water start disappearing from radar. They’re being destroyed. BY A GUNDAM.*I know that’s a later iteration of Deathscythe, shush. I’m going for drama.
So, Duo, 02, in Gundam Deathscythe, takes out all the suits. He also finds Heero’s gundam, Wing (HAAAAH the NAME of the SERIES, YOU GUYS!), and he figures he’ll use it for spare parts. Nice. He brings it to the surface.
At the same time, Trowa (03) is joining the circus. He impresses them by befriending a lion. It’s chill, ‘kay? And apparently these circus people are desperate for good animal trainers because they let this new kid haul around a giant truck with his gundam stashed on it. Just saying. Somewhere in the desert, Quatre (04–are you seeing how these numbers work?) is admiring the beauty of the Earth. He wonders if the people he’s fighting realize how beautiful it is.
And Wufei (05) is buying a crap ton of explosives in cash. Because that’s how he rolls.
Relena’s birthday party starts but she’s distracted. She’s JUST realized that Heero wants to kill her because she knows his secret (facepalm). When she hears from someone that they saw him heading for the military base she abandons her own party to chase him down. He’s just getting ready to blow up his own gundam when she shows up demanding to know what he’s planning to do.
Stupid line of the episode goes to Relena: “Those are torpedoes, aren’t they? I can tell!”
Here’s where it gets interesting. Heero does his best to ignore her at first. Then, when he finally looks at her, it’s with this incredibly vulnerable, sad expression.
And then he’s all like this:
Relena is unphased. Just as Heero’s about to pull the trigger, a bullet hits him from the side. Duo returns! With a snappy line about Heero obviously being the bad guy in this situation… only for Relena to go and bandage Heero’s wounds with fabric from her party dress. How did Duo end up the bad guy here? But Heero’s not down, yet, he still has a mission! At that moment Deathscythe and Wing rise from the water and Heero fires the torpedoes right at them.
Number of times Duo screams “NOOOOOO!”: 1
Duo realizes Heero must be the other pilot. Relena finally asks the excellent questions, “What’s happening? Who are these guys?” And Zechs says something about a “jinx”–those who see a gundam shall not live to tell the tale. How this jinx has come to be in 24 hours, I don’t know. The final image is Heero face-down in the water where he flung himself, relieved that his mission is now complete.
Duo is the best. Duo is still one of my favorite characters. In all honesty, I’ve learned to love nearly every character, but Duo was my first love. He’s smart, he’s witty, he’s deadly, and you have to admire a guy who isn’t afraid to wear his hair in a long braid.
Every time I watch I try to remain open-minded when it comes to relationships. I have a bunch of favorite pairings, and some of them even conflict. There are people who swear Heero and Duo are meant for each other, and I can see them growing to like one another… eventually. Their relationship does start on a very bad foot.
On the other hand, there’s Heero and Relena. He tries to ignore her. He doesn’t want to hurt her, but the mission comes first. Maybe it’s because she’s one of the first people to show him kindness in a very long time. Maybe his training just didn’t involve girls. Whatever it is, she’s gotten under his skin. She cares about what happens to him.
Then he throws himself into the water to drown, mission complete. Idiot.
From a storytelling POV, this is one of the better episodes. It neatly weaves together the three main plots (OZ’s search, Duo’s business, and Heero/Relena) while also keeping an eye on what the other guys are doing.
Just in case you get the impression that I’m not having fun, I am. I’m having tremendous fun screaming at my TV and quoting lines. I’m probably insufferable right now. You’re welcome.
Good Things Relena Does: Figuring out why Heero wants to kill her. Defending and bandaging Heero.
Dumb Things Relena Does: Figuring out why Heero wants to kill her after way too much time has passed. Chasing down Heero. The torpedo line.
That’s another 2:3 for totals of Good: 4, Dumb: 6.
Episode 3: Five Gundams Confirmed
Open on Treize at a shooting range, being his elegant self. He’s talking over vidphone with Zechs (they don’t have cell phones but they all use video phones) about the recent gundam problem. Zechs is persistent, and Treize asks, “Do you want to go? It’s written all over your face.” (HAH, he’s not even looking at his face and Zechs wears a mask and HAH.) Then Treize shoots a bird instead of a target. The implication is clear. He wants Zechs to “Shoot ’em down for me.”
We then cut to a very weird hospital room with a surveillance window. Heero’s strapped to a… conveniently timed Christ allusion.
He’s being overseen by Major Sally Po, one of those women who is important to the plot. Sally is shown to be a compassionate doctor–they’ve strapped him down because they aren’t sure of him, but she also objects to the use of a truth serum. (Also, they haven’t bandaged him. wtf?) Heero appears to be asleep still, but he wakes without causing any of the monitors to fluctuate. Somehow he knows exactly which floor of which building he’s on. He also can’t free himself from the straps. But that’s okay, because Duo is coming to rescue him! Yay!
Over in Asia, Wufei is blowing up a base. He feels insulted that they aren’t putting up more of a fight. See, he thinks not fighting is weakness. Get ready to hear a lot about that later.
Relena goes to the hospital to pay Heero a visit and Sally asks her probing questions. Who is this kid? Relena wants to know, too–so he’s not an Alliance soldier? They’re on their way out when there’s an explosion. Duo busts Heero out of the hospital by blowing out a window and jumping. He has a nifty helicopter-type tool (which we sadly never see again) and he’s given Heero the parachute backpack. Only Heero doesn’t open it. His mission’s over, remember? The last thing he wanted was to be captured by the enemy. Death will remove that from happening again. He’s plummeting head-first toward the rocky beach when Relena makes it to the open window.
Number of times Relena screams, “HEEEEEEEEEEEEROOOOOO!”: 1
BAM, his eyes open and so does the chute. It’s too late for an easy landing but he lives. He hates that he lives, but he lives. Duo is not at all amused, but continues to help him to safety.
Meanwhile, Gundam Heavyarms (03, Trowa) attacks a base. He’s doing just fine clearing it out on his own until he runs out of ammo. (His one weakness!) He’s about to get the smackdown when–Quatre and the Maguanacs appear to save the day! They finish off the Alliance goons and then face off. Are they enemies? Are they allies? They start to fight, then Quatre realizes, no, they should be friends. (AWWWW.) He steps out of his suit in a gesture of peace, and Trowa follows suit. It’s the start of a beautiful friendship, for real.
While they’re making friends, Zechs is making off with an old model mobile suit, the Tallgeese, which is believed to be comparable to a gundam.
It’s happyhappy time everywhere, with Duo and Heero safely aboard a ship where they can get their suits fixed up. Duo’s pulling them up from the ocean, and then realizes Heero is setting his own broken leg.
But, there is hope. It ends with Heero looking at Wing with something like affection. Maybe we can move on from “the mission is obliterate everything.”
Ok, this episode has some cute moments. Trowa and Quatre’s friendship is amazing, whether or not you believe that it escalates to Lourve(tm). This is where it all begins, with Quatre’s compassion and idealism winning the day.
1×2 shippers (that’s Heero and Duo) like to cite this episode as proof, PROOF that there’s something in there. I can kind see it. Either way, it’s the beginning of a rough partnership. Duo gives and gives and Heero… well, you’ll see in the next episode.
And let us not forget that, once again, Heero was moved by Relena. This time she saved his life. He hates that, and he’s going to keep denying that he’s anything more than a perfect soldier.
There are also inklings here of a Treize/Zechs connection that could be stronger than ‘we grew up and trained together and know each other’s dark deep secrets–why would you think there’s anything more to that?’
As you can see, a lot of this commentary revolves around the nonexistent romance. It’s just too fascinating to ignore. Who would be interested in who? What’s the evidence? Why don’t they act on it? Don’t they want to act on it?
Don’t worry, in latter episodes we’ll get more interested in things like peace vs war and man’s role in battle and what it means to be a soldier. It’s not all fodder for teen fangirls.
Good Things Relena Does: Get Heero to the hospital (off screen). SAVE HEERO’S FRIKKIN’S LIFE.
Dumb Things Relena Does: Clumsily counter-interrogate Sally, tipping her own hand.
Good: 6, Dumb: 7