Anyways, episode 3 was just on TV...although the last 4 minutes was actually leaked by a staff member (at least, that's what we're assuming) a few days ago. There were rumours that this week's episode wouldn't be aired because staff were trying to scrambling around to change the leaked portion. I'm glad they didn't though, because the story has been developing in a very interesting fashion so far.
Thankfully, the screenwriter's were quick to bring the viewer back to the same position of knowledge as their protagonist. The second episode began with the resolution of the cliffhanger from last season, revealing that Suzaku turned Lelouch over the the Emperor, in exchange for a higher position within the command hierarchy. Now one of the Knights of Rounds, he has reverted completely to his sullen [俺] self, whose primary goal is probably to avenge the memory of Euphie by killing Zero (I think he already regards his friend, Lelouch, as dead). I'm surprised he actually had the presence of mind to use Zero's life as a bargaining tool, given that the emphasis placed on how Lelouch was the brains and the former the brawn of the pair, though perhaps he had a lot of time to think about it.
The Emperor's Geass turns out to be capable of erasing and writing new memories, explaining Lelouch's amnesia and the puzzle of no one in Ashford Academy having blinked an eye at the sudden replacement of Nunnally with Rollo. Quite a dedicated [I'd say 細かい in Japanese] operation too, as episode 3 reveals, given that several students have disappeared from all school records. All this effort was exerted in order to capture C.C., whom the Emperor felt was dangerous enough to risk Lelouch getting away from him again, which he does, despite the intervention of a strange new Knightmare, one of the mass-production units based on the Lancelot. One that appears to have the ability to move through space. Having geassed the ambassador from the Chinese Federation, Zero proclaims his return from the safety of the Chinese embassy.
With last season's cliffhanger put to rest, two more questions are obviously raised: where is Nunnally? (C.C. has been unable to discover her whereabouts), and of course, who is Rollo? The episode ends by revealing that it was Rollo who was piloting the new Knightmare, and even more shockingly, that he also has Geass. Here (in episode 3), viewers are let into the secret before Lelouch discovers it. Lelouch again shows how ingenious he is, deceiving Villetta, Rollo and the rest of the team watching him as to his "reawakening" whilst forcing a confrontation with "his brother". (C.C.'s foresight in providing him with purple contacts shows how well she planned the whole operation, so kudos to her as well.) Unfortunately for Lelouch, Rollo's Geass turns out to be one that stops time... Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador's retainer(?) bursts into the HQ of the 黒の騎士団, seeking answers...
So far so good. I was surprised by several developments, which may be an indication of how little I've thought about CG over the last 10 months. The resolution to the cliffhanger was very satisfactory, with Lelouch only managing to destroy Suzaku's communicator, and Suzaku aiming for Lelouch's gun all along, relying on his superior athletic ability to take his opponent down 「強力ばかだから」. Though I imagine the detractors would still enjoy finding trouble with Lelouch missing at that range...
The Knight of Rounds seems to have an interesting groups of characters (sidenote: it was only on the second viewing that I recognised Hoshi's voice, even though I knew which character he was), so I'm looking forward to seeing more of them. I'm assuming that Suzaku found out about them through Lloyd's faction, or perhaps V.V. - after all, we still don't know what their conversation was about. Others have been speculating just when it'll be that Suzaku will betray the Emperor - his Knightmare is, after all, Lancelot. At present however, the ending suggests that Suzaku's hands are completely bound, whether by the Emperor holding something to keep him in place (e.g. Nunnally) or his guilt at Euphie's death. I would especially like to know how much V.V. revealed to Suzaku, as it may particularly important in understanding how he came to his decision about Lelouch (though it might also have no impact whatsoever). However, one thing stands: there is no way in hell that Suzaku will forgive his former friend for destroying Euphemia and everything that she stood for.
Lelouch's interaction with Shirley was also quite well done, IMHO. With his apparent cold-heartedness so far (he never showed any remorse at killing his brother, Clovis, despite how close they apparently were over 10 years previously), many little details show just how much Lelouch cares for those he considers his friends. In episode 2, he gave Karen his school jacket so that she could cover herself up (not that it prevented Sunrise from providing some fanservice a few moments later), and in the ep 3, he regrets the consequences his actions have brought to his friends, whose memories have all been modified. These little interactions also suggest that Lelouch is going to have some problems with love, as the producers have indicated before... Given that he should be gone from school from next episode on though, I suppose Shirley is out of the running...?
And with the revelation of not one but two more Geass users, I'm wondering just what the limits to their powers are... Looking forward to next week, but also to being able to fully understand episode 3...