Episode twenty-two of Code Geass R2 ended with what I can only describe as a "No way!" moment that wasn't - If I was a betting man I would have put good money on Nunally re-entering the scene somehow, and indeed that's exactly what happened.
I was hoping that there might be a good explanation for Nunally's survival, and I suppose you could argue that the reason for it was somewhat plausible, but somehow to concept of Schneizel having a decoy craft that wasn't caught in the blast felt a little bit weak. That aside, Lelouch handles Nunally's re-appearance with a reaction which was surprising in terms of both its relative control and its vitriol towards her - Does Lelouch really have bigger fish to fry than protecting his sister now, or was it all just an act? Perhaps more to the point, why is Suzaku also so happy to leave Nunally to her own devices to focus on Lelouch's grand plan?
From the on, this episode focueses almost solely on what could well be the war to end all wars, with Lelouch and Britannia on one side and Schneizel and the Order of the Black Knights on the other. In Schneizel's case, his mask has finally slipped, to reveal a character seemingly more deranged than even Charles was, a man quite happy to do away with Cornelia to protect the future as he sees it. Then again, Lelouch's mysterious "Zero Requiem" plan is similarly baffling, leaving us with two factions who seem quite content and indeed aiming towards destroying the world for reasons that still aren't quite clear yet.
Objectives aside, the main battle was exactly what you'd expect from a conflict between Lelouch and Schneizel - Lots of tactics, counter tactics and Lelouch seemingly left short of ideas at the end of it all by the end of the episode. While I don't have the heart to call this an average episode, it did seem rather heavy on the hows and light on the whys, leaving me wishing that the point of the battle that dominated this episode had been expounded on a little more. I know if there's one thing Code Geass loves to do it's keep us in the dark and surprise us, but there's nothing wrong with throwing us the odd bone.
Finally, special mention has to go to Lelouch's Push-button Volcano - The hot new toy that all the kids will want this Christmas, priced £29.99 at all good toy stores. Pre-order now!