ONCE AGAIN, MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR BOTH THE EPISODE AND LEAKED DELETED SCENES, BEWARE
Renton sat on top of his tricked-out Nirvash, adjusting his new sunglasses. Behind him sat nine horrifying white beasts with boards and sharp teeth. In front of him lay an ocean dyed red by people turned to LCL. On the horizon was a speck of light: another Nirvash, come to fight, meant to usher in the end of the world and the resurrection of his love. The lighting was perfect. The soundtrack was deadly. All he needed was a massive cross-shaped shadow for maximum symbolic impact.
“And that is because,” he said, “all is proceeding as according to the scenario.”
[roll OP, episode title card]
“Did you know?” Truth said. “You’re the one who kills me. I descend into Terminal Dogma in order to activate a giant legged hanging thing to bring about the end of mankind, but then it turns out to be a completely different giant legged hanging thing. So then you strangle me, and I die. Or, uh, explode. I don’t really remember which.” He draped his arms around Ao within the brand spanking new Dual Cockpit of the Nirvash. “Isn’t it nice that we’re both alive, in this timeline? Sprinting towards our inevitable fate on wings of fire?”
“Truuuthh,” Ao said through gritted teeth, his hands gripping the controls of the Nirvash so hard he could barely feel them. “As much as part of me wants to swivel this chair around and start making out with you, there’s a confrontation with my father coming up and I really have to focus okay?” He wasn’t lying, exactly. About half of the Shinji part of him was crying “it’s the chance you’ve been waiting for, MAKE OUT WITH KAWORU YOU SON OF A BITCH” while the other half was going “mustn’t run away, mustn’t run away, mustn’t run…” His inner core of Ao didn’t help matters easily. Where were the prescription drugs when you needed them? “How about we just leave the Evangelion references out as much as possible,” he said. “They make everything so much more complicated.”
Truth laughed. “You still don’t get it?” he said. “Of course making out is a Eureka Seven thing! We’d probably win this game from the get-go if we…” A white blur shot from the horizon, fangs bared and board ready. “Ao!” he yelped. “Hard on port!” Ao barely managed to dodge the first of the MP-Evas as it hurtled past at sonic speed.
“Fuck you, Evangelion!” Ao hollered. “We spend twenty-four episodes trying to escape from your shadow and then you come back to bite us on the ass.” The Nirvash unfolded into humanoid mode, surfboard at the ready. “This time,” Ao said, “it’s personal.” The Nirvash plummeted through the air, riding a massive wave of trapar as it tore the attacking MP-Eva in two. Two more hurtled out of nowhere, then a third, but Ao dodged them all because now that his dad’s pride was well and truly on the line, he was on fire. He pumped the controls and made to speed directly towards Gen…I mean, Renton, when Truth laid his hands over Ao’s and jerked the Nirvash into an upswing instead. “Truth?” Ao yelped. “But why?”
“You can’t solve every problem by charging directly at it, Ao,” Truth said. “Name one instance in the past few months when that hasn’t blown up in your face.” Ao said nothing. “I thought so,” Truth said grimly. “If you were in anything other than a mainstream shonen series, you’d be dead before fourth episode.” The Nirvash flew higher and higher, piercing through cloud cover until finally it stood on its board high above a red, red world. From below came the MP-Evas, surfing on their own boards. They were learning.
“Right,” Ao said. “Let’s do this!” MP-Eva number two, decapitated. MP-Evas number three and four, blown up by a well-placed blast of machine gun fire. MP-Eva number five, blown up by a missle. MP-Evas six and seven crashed into each other and exploded. That left only two, but before Ao could do a thing they came together in a flurry of limbs and acid and combined with a sickening squelch into something completely different.
“Wait,” Ao cried, “did that thing just transform? There isn’t anything in Evangelion that can transform!”
“Yeah,” Truth said, “I guess it’s not in the nature of these things to follow the rules.” Hanging in the air was a white bird three times the size of an MP-Eva. It no longer had a mouth or a bird, but it looked wrong in a way that was both subtle and terrifying all at once. Voices crowded into Ao’s head, whispering things like “I mustn’t run away” and “This is the End…of Evangelion” and “Halleluiah, you son of a bitch.”
“I don’t think I can fight this thing,” Ao said. “Not without lasting damage. What am I supposed to do, Truth? What are we supposed to do?”
“Leave it to me,” Truth said. Before Ao could move a muscle, he grabbed a lever in between them and pulled, ejecting him from the dual cockpit. “Remember, Ao!” he cried as flew towards the combined MP-Eva, hands channeling Secret energy. “You’re the only one who can kill me!”
“Kaworu, no!” Ao screamed. “I’ll…you’d better hold up your end of the bargain!” Catching a wave of trapar, he plummeted down towards his father to meet his destiny.
“Before I kill you,” the combined MP-Eva whispered, “I think you should know the secret behind Trapar. It is fuelled by human souls from another world, where men and women are engaged in an all-consuming war many years in our past. Will you continue even knowing that your strength is fuelled by nihilism?”
Truth cocked an eyebrow. “Okay,” he said. “What the fuck does that even mean?”
[side a transfers to side b]
“All,” Renton said, “is not proceeding as according to the scenario. Curious.”
“Father!” Ao howled, scarring the sky with trapar as he flew through the air faster than lightning. “You’re going to pay for this! All of this! Especially Truth!”
“Truth got what he deserved,” Renton called into the wind. “Nobody liked him anyway! He was the worst written character in the show, after all. I thought you’d be glad to see him gone.”
“Oh, you’re one to talk, asshole,” Ao said. The Nirvash pulled a combat knife from its leg holster, Eva-style. “You didn’t actually show up until these last two episodes. What are you supposed to say about that, huh? At least Truth has a character. You’re just a conveniently-sized hole wearing sunglasses. They’re even Gendo’s sunglasses. Do you know how many people out there even like Gendo as a character?”
“They love to hate me,” Renton said, “as you do.” He threw his sunglasses to the ground and opened his arms wide. “Well then,” he said. “If you intend to obstruct the restoration of your mother from the time-stream and kill your father in the bargain, do so. If you have the guts.”
“I…” Ao took a look at his father, and this time, he did so trying to keep the fog of hatred at bay. Renton stood there, a shock of white in his hair, perched on a giant robot similar but different from Ao’s own. He tried to remember what his mother had said, not too long ago.
We were only children back then. He was a bit of a crybaby, and acted kind of useless…
You didn’t love him?
No, I did. Every bit of him.
The Nirvash lowered its weapon. “I’m sorry, dad,” Ao said, his voice cracking under the strain. “I can’t kill you.”
Renton blinked. “What?”
So, Ao thought, I’ve been going about this the wrong way. Charging right towards the enemy, putting my trust in a giant casualty-altering gun with a mind of its own, trying to win a fight by just tearing everything to pieces. “Well,” he said to himself, “that stops today.” The cockpit of the Nirvash slid open, and Ao extended his hand to his father. “Come in here,” he said. “Let’s fix this together. Okay?”
Renton was suddenly seized by the worst headache that he had ever had in his life. “But…” He stumbled backwards, clutching the bridge of his nose. Suddenly everything became clear. “Oh,” he whispered. “How could I have forgotten?” With a running jump, he crossed the distance between the robots and landed in on the other side of the dual cockpit. “Do you have any ideas, son?” he asked. “It looks like I’ve created quite a mess, this time.”
Ao studied the landscape. The ocean remained the same color of blood. “I’m not sure,” he said slowly. “I don’t think this will be an easy thing to put right.”
“Of course it’s easy, baka,” Fleur said. She was sitting on top of Ao’s chair, dangling her feet into his eyes. “You’re making this out to be way more difficult that it is.”
“The answer’s right there,” Elena said, leaning against Ao’s side. “You mean you haven’t figured it out by now?”
“Wait a second,” Ao said, “where did you come from? I thought you abandoned me!”
“Who would abandon you?” Truth said. He entwined his arms around Ao from behind the seat. “We were just waiting for you to wise up, that’s all. I was sure you’d figure it out on your own, but you were way too slow.”
“You just have to pull the lever,” Elena said, pointing at a lever in between the two seats of the cockpit. It was clearly labelled amo ex machina. “That’s what Naru said, anyway. She’s not here right now because she thinks you’re an idiot, but she said that she would meet us on the other side.”
“It can’t be,” Ao muttered. “This is too easy. Isn’t there some kind of catch?”
“You be the judge,” Renton said. “I know from experience. That said, I think you should pull the lever. That’s how your mother and I first met after all.”
Ao took a deep breath. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll try.” He took the lever, and