Fair Warning: Spoilers WILL Follow.
I don’t normally do these, I usually just leave them to Ishmael, but this episode... man it hit me so hard that it just wasn’t possible for me to not do one of these. I was beginning to waver a bit on IBO because the second season has felt like a bunch of smaller plots with no ultimate direction compared to season one where the plot was clear and it was a straight shot from beginning to end. It feels like IBO will get a third season because it doesn’t seem like there’s enough time to left to believably tie everything up with a pretty bow without rushing it. However, having said that, Episode 40 has singlehandedly restored my devotion to this series. I can still hold that IBO is one of the best Gundam series to ever be produced. That could change if it really goes down hill, but as of right now, it just hit its strongest note.
Last week saw the return of Iron-Blooded Orphans after a two week hiatus and that episode immediately drove home that things were not going well for the Turbine’s. Jasley, our resident Teiwaz a-hole, tipped our resident Gjallarhorn man-child Iok off to the Turbine’s relationship with Tekkadan who Iok blames for everything rather than blaming the person who is really responsible: himself. And because he refuses to recognize that, he decides to try and off Turbine’s himself. Oh, and Julietta comes along for the ride. His plan is to 1) frame the Turbine’s with a banned weapon thus getting them cut off from Teiwaz, and 2) wipe them out to take out Tekkadan’s support.
And that brings us to this week where Naze opts to make a last stand against Gjallarhorn in an effort to get his people out of there alive. He tells Orga to not come to his aide and the Teiwaz boss tells him that if he goes to Naze’s aide then Gjallarhorn will target them as well which will ruin everything they’ve built up until now and cause trouble for Teiwaz. Orga’s hands are tied and he doesn’t like it one bit. Luckily, Akihiro, Shino, and Ride come up with a plan to assist Turbine’s that won’t get them in Gjallarhorn’s sights and keep them in Teiwaz’s good graces. The Gusion, Flauros, and the Riden-go will launch via boosters and assist the evacuation of Turbine’s people under the guise of performing maintenance on a relay or something of that nature.
I knew Iok was an idiot and I think all of us can agree on that as fact by this point, but this episode tipped him from prideful idiot to cold-blooded murderer. As the battle begins, Iok’s fleet stares down Naze’s one assault ship, piloted by just him and escorted by Amida in her mobile suit. The Turbine’s civilian transports leave in the opposite direction. The first thing Naze does is throw up a cease-fire signal. And what does Iok do? He acts like he didn’t see it and fires on Naze’s ship. Ok, it was just a cease-fire, whatever, those don’t always work. But then Iok takes it a step further, pulls out that banned weapon from before, en masse though, and fires on the civilian vessels, crippling two of them and likely killing some passengers(And need I remind you that there are likely small children and babies on board.). After the second barrage, Naze throws up a smoke screen to block the mass drivers line of sight, but there were already mobile suits sent out to destroy the civilian vessels and Lafter and Azee can only defend them so much before one or two ships explode killing everyone on board. This is around the time that Tekkadan shows up and keeps the Gjallarhorn suits at bay and preventing any more ships from being taken out. Iok’s actions here cemented him as the very image of the corrupt Gjallarhorn that McGillis seeks to overthrow.
In an effort to stop the bloodshed, Naze throws up a signal flare to surrender. Iok ignores it once again. Amida then concludes that she has to take out the leader if the killing is to stop. Before she can reach the flagship however, her MS is struck by a mass driver round, knocking it out of commission. With the last of her strength she fires a round that hits the bridge of Iok’s ship, but only cracks the glass. And then this happens:
I don’t think I’ve ever cried while watching a Gundam show before, but this... it got me. I teared up and the music, god the music, it didn’t help anything. The score is just on point for this episode and the imagery really drives it home. As Naze charges his ship at Iok in a kamakaze attack, a barrage of mass driver rounds pierces the ship and one rams straight through the bridge, exposing Naze to the vacuum of space and killing him. It would have been awesome if the ship hit its target and took Iok out, but it grazes the ship which sent it colliding into another ship which then exploded. So rather than the death all we want, we got the death we didn’t want, and we got this:
Oh, and this one too:
And lastly these:
All set against the backdrop of some very beautiful, but very tear inducing music the likes of which I didn’t think IBO was capable of having. Not that the soundtrack was ever bad, it’s phenomenal, but this was a whole ‘nother level.
I hope Iok dies an excruciatingly painful death.