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Episode 20: Brother

 

Review by Chris Guanche

February 24, 2016

 

Summary

 

After landing on Earth, the shuttle crew unloads supplies and takes them to the shore of a small island. Mikazuki helps with the supplies because the Gundam Barbatos needs maintenance. He and Atra and Kudelia look up and see the crescent moon that he's named for. Makanai comes to the shore to speak with Orga. On the Sleipnir, a doctor tells Gaelio that the only way to save Ein is to put cybernetic parts into him, which makes Gaelio furious. He wants Ein back to normal and can't let someone else die for him. The next morning, Takaki, Yamagi and Ride sit on the beach, where Takaki complains about the smell. Yamagi thinks it's good to relax sometimes, but Ride is bored and wonders if they'll get a bonus now that their job is over. At a nearby base, Shino wonders aloud to Akihiro if they'll become famous on Mars because of this job. Nadi tells Mikazuki that they'll have to modify the Gundam Barbatos, but Lafter and Azee offer to help. A man brings everyone a delivery of fish from Makanai, which freaks out the Martians. Mikazuki notices the man being awkward, and Nadi explains that the man thinks his back is gross because no one on Earth has Alaya-Vijnana. Gaelio can't believe that McGillis is suggesting putting Alaya-Vijnana into Ein, and McGillis explains that the belief that humans must be natural was spread by Gjallarhorn out of fear that the advanced technologies from the Calamity War could be used against them. McGillis insists that Alaya-Vijnana is the only way to save Ein. The Tekkadan crew arrive at the meeting site, and Merribit tries to reassure Kudelia that negotiations will go well. Akihiro and the others feel uneasy about having their fish stare at them, and Atra takes Mikazuki's plate because he's eating his dates instead. Atra wonders how famous Kudelia will become once they get back to Mars. Makanai greets Kudelia, Merribit, Orga and Biscuit. Orga wants to dispense with the pleasantries, but Makanai tells them they don't have to worry about Gjallarhorn because the island falls under the Oceanian Federation. Orga doesn't understand why the federation would protect them, and Makanai reveals that the Dort union workers got the reforms they wanted thanks to Kudelia. He says that productivity will drop off for a bit in the Dort colonies and hurt the African Union, which benefits the other blocs. Kudelia asks about the de-regulation of half-metals, which Makanai supports but can't make happen because he's currently in exile. Orga is angry that they came all this way to speak to an old man with no power, and Kudelia asks if all their actions were meaningless. Makanai responds that there's a way to turn things around.

 

Later, Merribit tells Mikazuki and the others that there's an upcoming Arbrau parliamentary election for prime minister, and Makanai wants Tekkadan to take him there. Shino thinks they should take Makanai if he can get re-elected, but Biscuit points out that his rival, Henri Fleurs, has Gjallarhorn's support. Orga notes that there's another problem - during the meeting, Makanai threatened to have the Oceanian Federation withdraw its protection if Tekkadan didn't accept his request. Kudelia thanks everyone for their help getting to Earth and says everything from now on his her job. They then get a call from Eugene, who reports that both the Isaribi and Hammerhead are being harbored in space by the Oceanian Federation. Orga wants to speak with Naze, but before that, Eugene has something to tell Biscuit. Orga later makes contact and explains the situation to Naze, who tells him not to feel obligated to McMurdo because they've done all that was asked of them. Orga then reveals that he's thinking of taking on Makanai's request for the long-term benefit of Tekkadan after they return to Mars, and Naze vows to support whatever Orga does. Orga goes to the beach and tells Biscuit that he's going to accept the job, but Biscuit surprisingly says he'd rather go back to Mars. Orga thinks going back now would eventually lead to them being taken advantage of, but Biscuit cuts him off and tells him to think more about his comrades. Biscuit asks him not to take the dangerous path, but Orga thinks it's the best for their future. Orga won't back down, so Biscuit yells that he'll quit Tekkadan and walks away. Biscuit thinks about the message forwarded to him that was found with Savarin's body after he committed suicide. Orga speaks with Merribit and tells her that they're taking on the job. He tells her that he was surprised by Biscuit's resistance, so she reveals what she heard from Eugene about Savarin. In his message, Savarin stated that he got in over his head, but he wanted Biscuit to find the kind of life he wants to live and be happy. Biscuit passes the hangar and runs into Nadi, who is still tuning the Gundam Barbatos for ground combat. Atra and Mikazuki visit Kudelia with food since she hadn't eaten earlier. Nadi asks Biscuit if he's serious about quitting, and Biscuit wonders if they've gotten as far as they have out of simple luck. Nadi doesn't think so and believes that aside from luck they got this far because of everyone's actions, including Biscuit's. Orga tells Merribit that even in the CGS days, Biscuit would support every reckless action of his, which made his sudden rejection surprising. Makanai calls Orga and tells him that Carta contacted the Oceanian Federation to demand that they hand over Kudelia and Tekkadan.

 

Commentary

 

This episode carries the same sort of feeling as in an RPG when, after completing a long journey, you find out the final boss isn't really the final boss. Tekkadan has fought long and hard to get to Earth and negotiate with Makanai, only to be hit with the gut punch that he's not actually in power anymore. But now their journey will continue because they have to help him get back into power to get what they want. I find it interesting that Makanai puts on the appearance of a congenial old grandpa, but he drops that facade when he wants to make his threats clear. Outside of this tense situation, Biscuit has to contend with personal tragedy after learning that Savarin committed suicide. It's a sad but not at all unexpected end for a character who wanted to do the right thing, but in an extremely misguided way. This leads to conflict between Biscuit and Orga, but I don't expect that to last long. The news that the Dort workers achieved what they wanted seems like it happened a little too fast - it hasn't really been that long since Tekkadan left the colonies for their trip to Earth. I suppose it could be chalked up to the African Union not wanting further bad PR following the Gjallarhorn massacre. Finally, I find it interesting that McGillis claims the taboo on putting technology into people was created by Gjallarhorn to maintain control. On the surface, it brings to mind the advanced technology taboo from Frank Herbert's Dune novels, or more recently, Gundam Reconguista. Whatever kind of cyborg Ein is going to become, I'd expect that his humanity will be stripped away in the process, leaving only a revenge-obsessed killing machine.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 20 Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 20

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Buy the collection (eps 14-25) on Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon
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