This episode is an interesting one. It spends a lot of time going back over past events from Grace’s point of view and gives new context to her actions throughout the first half of the series. 

The first thing we learn about Grace is that she was not acting alone. There are at least three other intelligences housed within her body. Or maybe not within her body, exactly, as she obviously destroyed her original self with the dimension eater. It seems that Grace, and those working with her, enacted a plan to use Sheryl to somehow lead the Vajra to the Frontier fleet where the two would clash greatly weakening Frontier’s military in the process. 

This part of their plan was only partially successful thanks to SMS and their new prototype VF-25s. Grace choose the Frontier fleet for this plan in part because they have no cyborgs or implants and because it would be easier to damage Frontier’s delicate ecological balance. We learn that Frontier has indeed suffered major damage. At least one of the smaller islands is going to be abandoned and others will be shutdown until they can be properly repaired.

While Grace’s original plan was to use Sheryl, there had been rumors that survivors from the 117th fleet were alive on Frontier. When Grace and company found Ranka, they revised their plans significantly, to the point that Grace has decided to dispose of Sheryl as she is no longer necessary. 

So what is Grace’s big plan? We have to piece it together from Grace and her cabal and from what Leon tells Ranka when he summons her at the end of the episode. Apparently, Grace and Brera detected some sort of Vajra command protocol mixed in with Sheryl and Ranka’s singing back when the Macross Quarter went out to save the surviving Galaxy ships in episode 7. Leon seems to confirm this by telling Ranka that her voice may in fact be some sort of trump card against the Varja. 

A little before that, we see Alto and Ranka visit Sheryl in the hospital. The three of them have a conversation on one of the hospital’s upper walkways and that conversation turns into both singers having an impromptu sing off as each tries to express their thanks to Alto for saving them. We also learn that Alto really did hear their singing when he was inside the Vajra ship. 

One final piece of the puzzle is that Cathy and Ozma suspect that Leon is up to something because of the way the Frontier government keeps lying about Brera’s actions. SMS saw him battle the Vajra and fight against both Alto and Klan directly, yet word coming down from the top says he only first appeared at Gallia 4. There’s also Alto’s strange meeting with Richard Birler, the owner of SMS. It is possible Birler is in on this strange conspiracy, as well. He certainly knew about the Vajra long before their existence became common knowledge. 

At the very end of the episode, Grace’s intelligences note that the scene is set and that they are at the beginning of achieving a dream that not even the Protoculture could manage in their 500,000 year existence. We’ll just have to wait and see what that dream really is. 

Specific Scenes I Loved: 

Sheryl and Ranka’s crazy sing off. Alto seems very trapped in the middle. I also like where he noted that they managed to film Ranka’s singing at Folmo mall surprisingly well. 

Grace’s manipulation of Sheryl. It’s clear that Sheryl took a self-esteem hit when Ranka saved the day on Gallia 4, but now Grace is subtly adding to Sheryl’s fears. But, given that Grace tells her cohorts that she plans to dispose of Fairy 9, aka Sheryl, why is Grace even bothering to add to Sheryl’s jealousy? Is Grace just that cruel? 

Episode Impressions: 

The Good: 

We are finally starting to get some answers on what has been going on. Grace is actually home to a number of intelligences working towards some goal that not even the Protoculture could achieve, while Leon, along with Grace, seems to want to use Ranka’s voice as a defense against the Vajra. 

The Bad: 

Ultimately this was something of a clip show and an info dump episode. We learn some of what was going on, but maybe that info could have been better spread across the previous 14 episodes? We saw little hints here and there with Leon and Grace’s behavior, but the big juicy stuff like Grace being a multi-personality immortal cyborg? Yeah, that was just kinda dropped on us from out of nowhere! 

There’s not a lot left to say or spoil about the plot revelations that were revealed in this episode. Grace, Leon, and possibly Richard Briler are all working maybe together maybe somewhat separately towards some end goal that involves the Vajra. But we still don’t really know what that goal is. It does seem that singing will be key to achieving it though, in typical Macross fashion. 

Moment to Moment Notes: 

0:00 – Right from the beginning we hear three new voices alongside Grace’s. It is quickly revealed that Grace wasn’t just a cyborg from Macross Galaxy. She, in fact, was, and still is, carrying around multiple distinct personalities / intelligences that do not even appear to need a body to maintain themselves. Did Grace upload them and herself into the Frontier fleet’s computer systems? Or maybe they exist on the surviving ship from the Galaxy fleet that the Macross Quarter rescued? 

3:58 – That large body of water isn’t looking so good. All that brown could be contamination or places where the water level has dropped too low. Island 1 may have lost a lot of resources when the Vajra beam breached it’s repulsion field and shell last episode! 

4:27 – The Frontier fleet is indeed in a good amount of environmental trouble following the major Vajra attack. Perhaps it is nicer to live on, but it could be that its environmental stability is more easily disrupted than something like the chemical plant ships that Sheryl talked about a few episodes ago?

5:46 – Grace’s mission log seems to confirm this very fact! Interesting that the Frontier fleet seems to be one of the few places that implants and cyborgs are illegal.

6:43 – And they were tracking Ranka? Why?

8:50 – So the Frontier fleet has better military hardware than this group of intelligences accounted for? But what is their goal? Why destroy Frontier’s military? 

11:10 – Is that report from Brera correct? Was the Galaxy’s mainland ship so heavily damaged it would probably not make it? Or, is Grace just lying to everyone now? I don’t think we can really trust anything she says or does anymore… 

11:20 – It is super creepy that Grace is falling back into her role as the soft spoken manager when she seems to be the ring leader for this mystery group that is causing so much death and destruction. 

12:27 – If Sheryl is “Fairy 9” were there other singers that have already been disposed of? And over what time period? This final operation seems to have started at the beginning of Sheryl’s long galaxy tour, but just how long has this whole conspiracy been running? Also, why did Grace switch Sheryl’s blood? Could it have something to do with the pills that Sheryl was (or wasn’t) taking? 

12:40 – Should the trash disposal bot really just sweep up blood like that? Seems like maybe it should alert someone or something… Especially near a hospital…

14:29 – So Leon was also observing Ranka? Separate from Grace? 

16:31 – I like how Alto mentions that he is surprised at how well Ranka’s mall singing was filmed. The news reporters say the piece was put together from cellphone videos and a feed from one of those roving vending machines. Of course, in real life, there was no time or budget for the Macross Frontier staff to redraw that entire scene, so I like the cellphone excuse and Alto’s skepticism as a fun hand wave. 

18:56 – This sing off of Sheryl vs Ranka is both crazy and cute. I like the layered meanings behind it all where both girls are vying for Alto’s attention. The fact that they form a literal triangle with Alto in the middle is just bonkers! 

21:32 – And there we have it. Grace and Leon cooperating if not fully working together. This is bad! 

23:24 – Wait, is that the Galaxy fleet’s main ship. Or its Macross-class battleship? Does that mean it’s ok and hiding somewhere? If anything, I think this means we should expect further contact with the Galaxy fleet in the future. 

Next Episode: Ranka Attack

From the name of the episode, I’d expect to see Leon and Grace trying to exploit whatever power they think Ranka has. From the visuals though, we see a lot of Ranka and Brera plus a little interaction between Alto and Sheryl.