Juri is waking up. She walks out of her room and begins preparing tea. As she does, she begins to hear noises, like weeping voices. This makes her perk up, and she starts looking for the source.
Asuka (off): Mama...
Juri follows the sound to the room where Asuka is staying. Carefully, she slides the door open and peeks inside. She finds Asuka still asleep, crying in her sleep. There are tears spilling from Asuka's eyes.
Juri leans against the doorframe for a moment, before looking down sadly and closing the door.
Flashback of last episode. Shinji and Utena are dueling.
Shinji to Utena: What are you talking about, Utena? Every one of us is sacrificing our lives for it. You, me, Juri, Miki, Asuka...all of us are giving up our childhood! We've been asked to give up our freedom to save the world, so how is it any different for Ayanami? If being the Rose Bride could mean saving the world, wouldn't you do it too?
In the present, Utena and Rei are having tea in their dorm room. Utena is watching Rei; her expression is concerned.
Back in the past, Shinji is holding his rapier toward the kneeling Utena.
Shinji to Utena: And if she didn't want to be the Rose Bride, do you think we'd be here in the first place?
In the present: Utena is watching Rei. She sets down her teacup.
Utena to Rei: Ayanami?
Rei looks over at Utena.
Utena to Rei: You really can't stop being the Rose Bride, can you?
Rei to Utena: I am the Rose Bride, Tenjou-sama. I can no more stop being the Rose Bride than you can stop being you.
Utena to Rei: But...you weren't always the Rose Bride, were you?
Rei to Utena: Humans often don't know who they are. That doesn't change the fact that they are often not what they believe themselves to be, and that they often uncover facts about themselves that they are unaware of.
Utena nods slowly. Rei finishes drinking her tea, collects her book bag, and turns to leave.
Rei to Utena: I must go. Tenjou-sama.
Utena to Rei: Ayanami, wait.
Utena to Rei: What do you at NERV?
Rei pauses for the longest time. Finally, she speaks just before leaving.
Rei to Utena: Trying to create other ways to defeat the Angels so you don't have to.
Rei walks out the door.
Mikage (off): What do you mean, it's gone?
Switch scenes: Mikage is standing with Ritsuko and Misato in the viewing room.
Ritsuko to Mikage: It's confirmed only by a satellite image. There's nothing else left.
The imager on the floor illuminates, and they see an image of a large installation in the middle of a desert.
Ritsuko to Mikage: Watch carefully.
The image plays with a "real-time" counter next to it. When it hits zero, the installation is gone, and all that's left is an impression of something having been there in the sand.
Mikage: Second Branch, along with Unit 04, and thousands of people, annihilated.
Ritsuko: Along with everything in an eighty-nine kilometer radius.
Misato: The Administrative and General Affairs Departments are in a panic right now. We aren't ruling out sabotage.
Ritsuko: Unlikely, given that there was no explosion. Likely, it was swallowed into the Ocean of Dirac, like Unit 01 was.
Mikage: Then the S² engine is gone as well.
Ritsuko: Given the time of the disappearance, the S² engine would have been undergoing installation into Unit 04. From that perspective, the engine would seem the catalyst for the accident.
Mikage looks up from the image to Ritsuko and Misato.
Mikage: What about Unit 03?
Misato to Mikage: The United States is transporting it here. Apparently, after what happened to Second Branch, they don't want to risk a repeat of yesterday's event.
Mikage hehs and shakes his head.
Mikage: They insist upon building Units 03 and 04 by themselves, and then want to be as far away from Eva as possible.
Ritsuko: It's understandable after this tragedy.
Mikage: Keep me posted.
Switch scenes: Touga and Utena are together at Ohtori, walking together.
Touga to Utena: So, you have a friend who can't change who she is?
Utena to Touga: That's what I'm told, anyway. I asked her about it, and she mentioned something along the lines of she couldn't change anymore than I could?
Touga to Utena: Could you change?
Utena to Touga: Hmm?
Touga to Utena: Most young ladies dream of being a princess, rescued and wooed by a handsome prince. Yet you wish to be the prince and do the rescuing. Could you throw all of that away, and become a princess?
Utena to Touga: Your princess, I take it?
Touga to Utena: I won't deny that having the opportunity to rescue and woo you would be something I'd seize in a heartbeat. But for the sake of the argument, could you be anyone's princess?
Utena thinks about this, and the memory of her Prince returns.
Prince: Never lose that strength or nobility, even when you are grown.
Utena looks at Touga as though he might be the Prince.
Prince: I give you this ring to remember this day. One day, it will lead you to me.
Utena to Touga: No.
Touga smiles knowingly.
Touga to Utena: Well, that's your answer then. It's not that easy to change who you are, is it?
Switch scenes: Rei is walking with Gendo in the corridors of NERV.
Gendo to Rei: Are you nervous?
Rei to Gendo: No.
Gendo to Rei: That is good. You know how important this is, don't you?
Rei to Gendo: I know.
Gendo smiles faintly. He looks down at Rei, and notices that her Rose Signet is not on her left hand. This makes him pause.
Gendo to Rei: Rei?
She looks up at him absently.
Gendo to Rei: Where is your ring?
Rei looks at her hand, almost like she expected it to be there.
Rei to Gendo: It must have fallen off...
Gendo straightens, but seems satisfied enough with that answer.
Gendo to Rei: We will get you a new one, then.
Switch scenes: Ritsuko and Misato are together in a different section of NERV.
Misato to Ritsuko: Have the pilots been acting strange to you?
Ritsuko to Misato: Strange?
Misato to Ritsuko: This duel business Asuka mentioned the other day has me curious. She said that she thought Utena was too good to be with them now because Utena had won two duels. Juri said that Utena defeated Asuka in a duel.
Ritsuko to Misato: And?
Misato to Ritsuko: I hadn't noticed it until Asuka said it, but I haven't seen Tenjou with any of the pilots, or with Juri, lately. I don't know. Asuka said, "Are you too good for us..." Not just her, but us. Makes me think someone else was involved.
Ritsuko to Misato: Shinji, or Juri perhaps? I don't see where your concern is.
Misato to Ritsuko: Asuka calls Tenjou a Prince, then brings it up again in reference to not only her, but Shinji and Juri a few weeks later.
Ritsuko to Misato: Have you asked Juri about it?
Misato to Ritsuko: No.
Ritsuko to Misato: You could always ask Shinji about it, too.
Misato looks distant.
Misato to Ritsuko: Maybe.
Switch scenes: Miki is at school, wandering into the Music Hall. Some students say hello to him as he walks, and he says hello back. He goes into the piano room, sits down as we have seen Kozue do so many times. He softly taps the keys once, testing their tone. He pulls out the music to "The Sunlit Garden." He stares at it for a few moments, then opens it. Opening it, a letter from End of the World drops out. He picks it up, examining it curiously.
Switch scenes: Juri is in the Ohtori Library sitting at a table. She is studying something. A letter from End of the World suddenly falls onto her reading material. She blinks, straightens, and looks up. Miki is there in front of her, looking like he wants answers.
Switch scenes: Rei is looking at her left hand. We see her from the shoulders up, and she appears to be naked. She is wearing a Rose Signet again. She just looks at it for a few seconds. Switch angles, and we see her silhouette as she is changing clothes. She pulls something large on. With a flick of the wrist button, the Plug Suit becomes formfitting.
Switch scenes: Juri, Miki, Asuka, and Shinji are all meeting together at Juri's home. Miki's letter is on the table they are gathered around.
Asuka: So...she's won three times in a row. Who'd have thought she was that good?
Shinji: She even beat the Kendo Team Captain, who I've noticed isn't here with us. Shouldn't we start inviting him to these meetings?
Juri to Shinji: We still don't know why Saionji is involved. Until we do, we shouldn't be discussing our business with him.
Shinji to Juri: He's obviously been chosen by End of the World, though. Isn't that enough?
Miki to Shinji: Tenjou-san beat Saionji?
Miki: I would have thought that would have taken a miracle.
Asuka to Miki: A miracle is what she got, then. That's what we all dueling for, isn't it? Should she be capable of miracles?
Shinji to Miki: Are you going to duel, Miki-kun?
Miki: Juri hasn't dueled yet.
Shinji looks at Juri. Juri has been staring off absently.
Juri turns back to the group.
Miki to Juri: Are you going to duel, Juri-sempai?
Asuka to Miki: She can't duel. She's too afraid of losing her friend.
Shinji to Asuka: Asuka!
Asuka to Shinji: What? You always snap at me for saying what everyone else is thinking. Why else hasn't she dueled Utena? We all know she's going to wipe the floor with her when it happens. It's like she's intentionally delaying it.
Shinji to Asuka: You don't know that. None of us expected Utena to beat Saionji, either.
Miki looks over at Juri, who is absently running her fingers over the part of her clothing where her locket would rest underneath.
Asuka to Juri: Hey, Prince!
Juri slowly turns her head to Asuka, still fingering the locket.
Asuka to Juri: The latest letters from End of the World state that the next duel must take place by the end of the week. You and Miki are the only ones who haven't had a turn yet. But if neither of you is going to do it, then I will.
Miki to Asuka: Patience, Asuka-san. We still have a few days left.
Juri stands and walks towards the door.
Juri: Excuse me.
Asuka to Juri: Are you going to challenge the Fourth Children?
Juri (at the door): No. Not yet.
Juri is gone.
Switch scenes: Rei is sitting in an Entry Plug. We can't see which Eva just yet. Her hands are on the control grips, looking at the Rose Signet visible on the left hand.
Akio (in flashback) You no longer need this.
Gendo (off) Rei: Rei, we're about to begin. Are you ready?
Rei is quiet.
Switch vantage points: In the Testing control room, Gendo is looking at a monitor with Rei on it.
Gendo to Rei (on monitor): Rei?
Back to Rei in the Entry Plug. She looks up and nods.
Rei to Gendo (off): Yes.
Back to the Testing Room. Gendo looks over at Mikage, Ritsuko, and Misato.
Mikage to Gendo: Ikari-kun, do you think this is such a good idea? After what happened with Unit 01 recently, I'm not certain-
Gendo to Mikage: All we need is for Rei to synch briefly with the Eva. We can terminate the test after that.
Misato to Ritsuko: Will this time be any different?
Ritsuko to Misato: Readings taken over the past few weeks indicate a balance in Rei that she didn't possess before. The Magi estimate an 88% chance that it will work.
Gendo nods, pushing his glasses up with one finger.
Gendo: Activate Unit 01!
As Ritsuko speaks, shots switch between everyone in the Testing Room, Rei in the Entry Plug, the display on the monitors, and in between.
Ritsuko: Main power connected...voltage now passing critical level...neural links added...junction started...
Mikage: No signs of mental contamination...
Ritsuko: Third threshold exceeded...Evangelion Unit 01 is going to activate!
The eyes of Unit 01 light up. All the readouts on the panel are green, all links connected.
Begin with Misato and Ritsuko speaking in NERV.
Misato to Ritsuko: With this new development, the Dummy Plug Project can be completed.
Ritsuko to Misato: Are you going to allow Rei to pilot?
Misato to Ritsuko: The Vice-Commander forbids it. He doesn't want to take any chances that Rei will lose synch in the middle of combat. It already happened to Miki once. And I wouldn't want to put Rei into the Entry Plug unless absolutely necessary. On the subject, what's the status of Unit 03?
Ritsuko to Misato: The transportation of the Unit is being handled exclusively by the U.N. It will arrive this weekend, and the booting test will occur at Matsushiro.
Misato to Ritsuko: Are you planning on using the Dummy Plug for the booting test?
Ritsuko to Misato: I haven't decided yet.
Misato to Ritsuko: There's still the matter of finding a pilot for Unit 03. End of the World hasn't announced another qualified child since Tenjou came to us. I suppose we do have two qualified children but...
Ritsuko looks at Misato, who seems to be speaking to herself at this point.
Misato: I mean...we have Rei, but she's too much of a risk. And Miki...
Ritsuko looks down.
Ritsuko to Misato: Mi-chan?
As Misato looks at Ritsuko, Ritsuko hands her a pilot folder. Misato's eyes grow wide as she takes it in her hands.
Misato to Ritsuko: What? You can't be serious! Who approved this?
Switch scenes: Now at school. Miki is with Shinji, Toji, and Kensuke. They are stretching out before running.
Kensuke to Miki: Miki? They're letting you participate today?
Toji to Miki: Yeah, aren't they afraid you're gonna break like glass?
Miki: No, the doctors have officially proclaimed me healthy.
Shinji to Miki: That's great!
Kensuke to Miki: Does this mean you're going to be piloting Eva again? I mean, with the new Eva about to arrive and all?
Shinji and Miki both look at him.
Kensuke to Shinji and Miki: I sneaked into my father's office and looked at his papers. I found out that Unit 03 is being transported here from the United States.
Shinji and Miki look at him blankly.
Kensuke to Shinji and Miki: You didn't know?
Both of them shake their heads.
Kensuke to Shinji and Miki: I guess it doesn't concern you until they feel you need to know.
Toji: Lowest rung on the totem, and all that.
Switch scenes: Misato is approaching Kaji. We are outside, on the floor of the Geo-Front, and can see the imposing shape of NERV H-Q in the background. Kaji is watering something. As we approach, it appears to be watermelons. Kaji smiles as he sees Misato approaching.
Kaji to Misato: Hey, Katsuragi.
Misato to Kaji: I'm not in the mood. What do you know about End of the World?
Kaji to Misato: It's not like you to ask others for help.
Misato to Kaji: At this point, I don't really care what other people think about me. What do you know about End of the World, and don't try feigning ignorance.
Kaji to Misato: Why the sudden interest?
Misato crosses her arms, waiting for answer but not giving one herself.
Kaji smiles, finally speaking.
Kaji to Misato: I'll tell you this...End of the World is not an organization.
Misato to Kaji: What do you mean?
Kaji to Misato: End of the World is a person.
Misato to Kaji: What?
Kaji to Misato: Investigate code seven-zero-seven.
Misato to Kaji: Code seven-zero...Ohtori Academy?
Kaji to Misato: All of your answers will be found there.
Switch scenes: Gendo and Ritsuko are looking at the prototype dummy plug, which looks like an Entry Plug but without a hatch for a pilot to enter.
Ritsuko to Gendo: This is the prototype of Rei's dummy. It's impossible to actually digitize the spirit or will of a human, so all it will do is mimic the thoughts. A machine created to impersonate a human.
Gendo to Ritsuko: As long as Eva believes it is a pilot, it will move. That's all I care about. Install the links in all three Units.
Ritsuko to Gendo: There are still problems with it. Rei has never been in actual combat, only in the simulators. We have no idea how the Eva will react to it.
Gendo to Ritsuko: All that matters is that the Eva synchronizes with the dummy. If it believes a pilot is there, it will move.
Ritsuko to Gendo: Understood.
Gendo to Ritsuko: And the pilot of Unit 03?
Ritsuko to Gendo: Already taken care of. The core data was already available from the preliminary testing.
Gendo to Ritsuko: Then I leave the rest to you.
Ritsuko to Gendo: Understood.
Switch scenes: Juri is in NERV. She walks through a few corridors, and finally comes to a room with an open computer terminal. Closing the door behind her, she sits at it, typing in a few entries. Her expression becomes concerned after a bit. As we pull back, we can see a little of what she's looking at. The image on the screen is of a much younger Asuka, the text on the screen says "Personnel Profile: Second Children: Soryu, Asuka Langley"
Switch scenes: Ritsuko enters a room alone, locking the door behind her. She takes out her phone and makes a call.
Ritsuko: Everything has been arranged...Yes, I saw to that...yes, I saw to that as well...
Her expression changes entirely. Ritsuko actually looks flattered.
Ritsuko: Thank you. Listen, regarding Rei...you already know? I'm sorry...Thank you...Major Katsuragi might have stumbled onto something...very well...Thank you. You're too kind.
Focus on Ritsuko's face. She is smiling, practically blushing.
Ritsuko: For the Revolution of the World.
There is a knock on the door. She hangs up and opens it. Miki is there.
Ritsuko to Miki: Kaoru-kun?
Miki to Ritsuko: Akagi-san. Who is to be pilot of Unit 03?
Switch scenes: Miki is walking at Ohtori. He is striding along with serious determination, taking notice of nothing as he goes. He passes by Wakaba and Kozue sitting nearby. Kozue sees her brother's expression and calls out to him.
Kozue to Miki: Miki!
Miki doesn't notice, so she does again, more insistently this time.
Kozue to Miki: Miki!
Miki turns and looks at Wakaba and Kozue. He does not look happy when he does, and Kozue and Wakaba are spooked by this. Kozue recovers quicker than Wakaba, and suddenly looks concerned. Miki starts walking off. Kozue gets up and runs after him.
Kozue (running after Miki): Miki! Miki, wait! Please! Miki!
Asuka walks into the scene.
Asuka to Wakaba: What was that all about?
Wakaba to Asuka: I don't know.
Asuka runs after Kozue.
We see several shots of Asuka looking for Kozue, and finally locating her, curled up and sitting on the floor. She is crying, holding her legs against her chest. Asuka sees this, and sees Miki walking off.
Asuka to Kozue: Kozue? Kozue-chan?
Asuka kneels down, and Kozue throws her arms around Asuka.
Kozue to Asuka: I couldn't help it...Miki's...Miki's...
Asuka is taken off guard, but she slowly starts to comfort Kozue.
Asuka to Kozue: Tell me what happened, Kozue-chan...
Switch scenes: Juri is walking slowly towards her home.
Utena (off) to Juri: Juri! Juri-san!
Juri turns to see Utena approaching at a slight run. She waits for Utena to catch up. Juri smiles faintly.
Juri to Utena: Utena...sama.
Utena hehs. The two of them stand there, regarding each other for a moment.
Utena to Juri: It's been a while.
Juri to Utena: Yes, it has, hasn't it?
Utena to Juri: We...we aren't enemies now, are we?
Juri tilts her head.
Utena to Juri: I mean...this whole business with End of the World. The Rose Bride and the duels. I feel like I'm...I don't know...separate from the rest now. I hardly see any of the other pilots outside of NERV, and I feel like...the two of us...
Juri smiles sadly.
Juri to Utena: You are the One Engaged, Utena. The rest of us are Duelists. Did you expect it would be otherwise?
Utena looks down, a little frustrated. Then back up at Juri.
Utena to Juri: But it doesn't have to be that way.
Utena notices that Juri is looking over her head and behind her. Utena turns to see what Juri is looking at. We see Miki approaching them both.
When Miki stops, he hands a white rose to Utena. Utena, who no longer questions the significance of this, frowns.
Juri to Utena: Are you certain of this?
Miki to Utena: I challenge you to a duel, Fourth Children.
Utena to Miki: Miki...you are part of this as well?
Miki holds up his Rose Signet.
Miki to Utena: The chosen of End of the World, remember? Tonight, in the Arena of Duels.
He turns and walks off.
Utena: Why...why are all of you doing this?
Juri looks down.
Juri to Utena: The power to revolutionize the world. Surely, Utena, it must have occurred to you that you couldn't be the One Engaged and remain unchallenged.
Utena to Juri: You don't seriously believe that one of us is actually going to get the power of miracles, do you?
Juri to Utena: Would you have believed a year ago that you'd be piloting an artificial humanoid weapon to save humanity from creatures known as Angels?
Juri rests a hand on Utena's shoulder.
Juri to Utena: That noble heart of yours has left you naïve. Be careful, lest you get hurt by it.
Juri turns to leave. Utena looks at the rose Miki has given to her.
Utena to Juri: Are you and I so different after all?
Juri doesn't answer as she walks off.
Switch scenes: Utena opens the gate to the forest, ascends the spiral stair, and arrives at the Arena. Miki and Rei are already there. Rei begins fastening the roses.
Utena to Miki: So you want the power of miracles, too?
Miki to Utena: They say you already possess that power. You must be good, to have defeated Saionji, Shinji, and Asuka.
Utena to Miki: I don't want the power of miracles.
Miki to Utena: Then lay down your blade for me, and give it to one who would use the power to help others.
Utena to Miki: You sound just like Ikari.
Rei begins drawing out the Sword of Dios.
Rei: Oh roses of the noble castle, power of Dios that sleeps within me, harken unto your master and reveal to us...
Utena draws the Sword of Dios from Rei.
Utena: ...the power to bring to the world revolution!
Begin soundtrack: Spira Mirabillis Theatre.
Utena leaps at Miki as the duel begins, obviously much more involved than she normally is. Utena has the advantage.
Utena to Miki: You and Ikari, both ready to ignore Ayanami's feelings in the name of others.
Miki to Utena: Don't make yourself out to be so noble. You knew what you were getting into the moment you challenged Asuka.
Utena to Miki: I'm protecting her!
Miki focuses and knocks Utena's thrust away. He's now in control.
Miki to Utena: What are you protecting her from? The role she has chosen? Do you really think she's grateful that you are trying to prevent her from fulfilling it?
Utena is having trouble fending Miki off now. She obviously didn't expect him to be this good so soon out of the hospital.
Miki to Utena: I've heard about the duels with Soryu and Ikari. You keep claiming to be defending her from the other duelists, but has she ever asked you to do this?
Miki presses in for the winning blow.
Miki to Utena: Aren't you just doing this for yourself? So that you can pretend to be the Prince defending a Princess?
This angers Utena more than weaken her convictions. She blocks Miki's strike, knocks him back, and charges him. Without Dios manifesting, she skewers his rose.
Utena turns to Miki.
Utena to Miki: I have no idea why you felt the need to do this, but I hope you're satisfied now.
Utena and Rei walk off, leaving Miki there. He falls to his knees, looking at the remains of his rose.
Switch scenes: Asuka is walking with Kozue, supporting her. Kozue is still crying. The sun is going down. Asuka's expression is solemn and determined.
Switch scenes: Misato and Ritsuko are outside of NERV, a helicraft waiting to take them to Matsushiro. It's late morning, the sun shining down upon them.
Ritsuko to Misato: Unit 03 is on its way.
Misato to Ritsuko: When was this arranged? I'm curious who spoke to the pilot.
Brief cutaway to three people getting into an elevator. We see only their legs. Two of them are wearing black suits; the third appears to be wearing a dark-blue Plug Suit.
Back to Misato and Ritsuko.
Ritsuko to Misato: After Asuka's little security breach. I was the one who made the offer.
The three people in the elevator are now walking up a ramp leading to daylight.
Misato to Ritsuko: What on earth did you say?
They turn, the three walking people almost there and ready to join them.
Ritsuko to Misato: Hardly a word. After bringing it up, the offer was immediately accepted.
The three people stop in front of Misato and Ritsuko.
NERV tech to Misato: The First Children is ready to go.
Misato: Hello, Kaoru-kun. Are you nervous?
Pan up from the ground now: starting at her feet, we now see that it's Kozue in the Plug Suit. She is flanked on either side by NERV technicians.
Kozue and the two techs begin walking to the helicraft. After a pause, Misato and Ritsuko follow behind them.
Ritsuko to Misato: Her only request was that her brother never be allowed to touch an Evangelion again.