# Out of Options (Gundam Seed 37)
A strange episode, this: it felt like it moved at a decent pace, and yet I struggle to say what was different between before and after. Our protagonists are still deserters; while Orb has extended some kind of offer to them, what that means in practice is unclear. We're told that Alaska was a decisive blow for the Earth forces in the broader war, but what we're shown contradicts that: Le Creuset is as confident as ever, and the attack on Panama at the end of this episode puts the Federation firmly on the back foot.
*Gundam Seed* has never had much time for the ebb and flow of the broader conflict - the stories it wants to tell are about a handful of individuals. That's fine as far as it goes, but ultimately the war itself is an important part of the setting. Just like geographical mistakes undermine the consistency of the setting, this seeming gaffe makes the overall background feel flimsy. That war is futile is an integral part of Gundam's message, but no-one would ever fight a battle - much less discard their honour and kill their own troops - if the result was quite *this* meaningless.
What works rather better is the escalating hate between the sides. As the war runs on, polarisation deepens, and this is conveyed effectively with a montage of protests and scenes like this one. In parallel, the Orb leader tells of the pressure being placed on neutral nations - a story that rings very true even if there's little reason for him to be telling it to our protagonists. Even clunkier are the shots showing ZAFT troops shooting those who surrender - a cheap trick from a storytelling point of view, but undeniably effective.
The final scene has all the trappings of a decision being made - even if it's not clear to us what that decision is. But the story we've actually seen feels more like the opposite. Flay and Deakka are trapped in a very direct sense, with no actions available to them. But in their own way Ramius, La Flaga, Cagalli and even Kira seem to have had no more choice about what they were doing. Kira tells them to make a choice they won't regret - but one can only regret a road not taken. Right now, *Gundam Seed* feels more like a railway track.
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