Having departed Side 6 without making any significant repairs, the White Base is in need of resupply. Thus, this week’s episode begins with our heroes meeting with a Federation supply ship to restock and get their new marching orders. In an unexpected twist, the captain of the supply ship is none other than Commandant Wakkein!
This is honestly a neat little interaction. Bright meets with Wakkein (in case you’ve forgotten, Wakkein is the guy from way back on Luna II; he and Bright didn’t get along so well) and is informed that the White Base is to join the Federation offensive at Dozle Zabi’s stronghold, Solomon. Bright takes the command in stride, and Wakkein–whose opinion of White Base has clearly risen quite a bit–lampshades the fact that our fearless Lieutenant has made a lot of progress as a commander. I’m glad Tomino elected to bring Wakkein back for this scene. It serves a similar purpose as Char’s long absence: by re-introducing a character from the early episodes, we can get some commentary on the growth of our main cast. It’s also good to see that Wakkein has softened a little towards Bright.
As for Zeon, things are going poorly on Solomon as Dozle prepares his defenses, largely because Gihren has elected to send only a single mobile armor as backup (and an experimental one at that). Dozle growls that a handful of proven mobile suits, like Doms, would have been much more useful.
Side 6 is also lacking in pleasantries; Char gets a bit of lip from Cameron as he prepares to depart the colony. It’s never a good idea to mouth off to the Red Comet, and he immediately fires back at Cameron, saying that Side 6 is only able to stay neutral because Zeon allows it; there’s a not-so-subtle threat there that Cameron is quick to pick up on. Before the Zeon forces depart, Cameron briefly meets Lalah, who Char describes as “like a sister” to him.
That’s… hm. That’s an interesting line. It’s… not the relationship that the series will largely imply from here on out, nor is it the comparison Char will later make in a pivotal scene of the film Char’s Counterattack. For right now, let’s just accept that Char and Lalah’s relationship is complicated and move on. It’s definitely something we’ll revisit in the future, though, especially as Zeta Gundam delves a bit more into Char’s view of himself and his relationships in a broader sense.
At this point, the preparations on both sides are complete, and the assault on Solomon begins!
There’s not a whole lot to talk about here, honestly; the Federation attacks the space base. Dozle evacuates his wife, Zenna, and his daughter, Mineva, though he insists this is only a precaution and that Solomon won’t fall. There’s a lot of Doms getting blown up and GMs deploying from Federation ships.
Then we get a look at the Federation’s new weapon–the one the Tianem fleet was sent out to support.
The weapon is called the Solar System, and it’s a massive array of mirrors that focus light into a huge, deadly laser beam. The Solar System fires on Solomon, obliterating a solid chunk of Zeon’s forces and blowing a hole in the side of the base.
As the battle rages on, Hayato is badly injured (naturally) and has to retreat to White Base. It’s here that he has the conversation with Fraw Bow that has set me so harshly against him: he admits that his entire motivation, since the start of the series, has been to be better than Amuro. That’s it. He’s just a petty jerk who’s jealous of Amuro.
I just want to remind everyone that Hayato already hated Amuro before the two of them got caught up in the war. All the way back in the first episode, Hayato was going to abandon Amuro in the Side 7 evacuation zone. Do you remember pre-White Base Amuro? He was a socially-awkward loser with an abusive dad and an absentee mom. He was good with computers and friends with Fraw Bow and… that’s it. By contrast, Hayato seemed to have his stuff relatively together, and yet he still made room in his heart to blindly hate a guy that he doesn’t even seem to know that well. You know, Kai is the one painted as the sarcastic hoodlum, but Hayato has been the bully all along.
At any rate, the fight continues, and Amuro proves every bit as unstoppable this episode as he has been for the last few. He manages to break through enemy lines and actually land on Solomon, giving the Federation another leg up. But, as the episode draws to a close, Char’s Zanzibar receives orders from Kycilia Zabi: head to Solomon to provide Dozle with assistance…