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- The opening for the show is very well animated with smooth and AWESOME mecha action. There's definitely an improvement in Rooster Teeth's animation in this show.
- The Colonel's Rousing Speech to the Vanguard, which also is a good Establishing Character Moment for her.
- In a villainous moment, we see that the Union is not to be messed with as it literally rips the life out of New York City in 2068 with its nanotech.
- Despite being utterly horrifying, the Union organic-devouring nanotech are a kind of that. In one scene the nanotech cloud envelope the Union sympathizer and his family... and did not harm them, because the cloud is smart enough to actually discriminate the "friendly" ones.
- Julian's Heroic Sacrifice in the Battle of New York is a hell of a thing. Knowing that the Union supermech can detect his nanotech-neutralizing warhead arming, he flips his fighter to interpose it between incoming fire and the bomb, shielding it just long enough for it to detonate.
- As it turns out, Julian didn't perish from the Battle of New York. He's still kicking, and now with a giant mech suit!
There's Always Tomorrow
- The way the Holons - a.k.a the mechs that Julian now pilots - are controlled. Instead of a conventional pilot controlling the mech from the inside, the pilot's mind is essentially digitized and transferred to the mech. For a lack of better terms, you literally are the mech.
- When Sinclair is found out and kills the guards meant to arrest him the other three new Holon pilots are quick to step in to try and stop him, with Kazu almost tackling him, and Val nearly hitting him with thrown knives. Even Cammie who was panicking during the fight is quick to jump in to get the alarms working once Yasamin tells her to do so.
- During the fight with Fake!Sinclair, he nearly gains the upper hand on Yasamin. While this is happening, Chase learns from Cammie that "Sinclair" is a spy and that he needs to do something. His solution? Materialize behind Sinclair and simply say "Boo," scaring Sinclair into opening fire on his hologram and giving Yasamin an opening.
- An underhanded example from Dr. Weller when "Sinclair" tries to steal the gen:LOCK tech for the Union. He calmly orders his robot, Caliban, to plug Sinclair into a machine - knowing full well that the spy was pretending to be the real deal (rather than being a turncoat) and would therefore get killed. That takes some serious Nerves of Steel.
- Before that, how Weller figures out that the spy is not gen:LOCK compatible—while being held hostage by Sinclair, he theorizes that either Sinclair has switched sides since qualifying for gen:LOCK, or he's not the real Sinclair. Sinclair barely reacts, but Weller takes his response as confirmation of the latter, and wags his eyebrows at the impostor smugly.
- During the game of capture the flag that Leon, Jodie and Miranda play against the three rookies, Valentina uses a car to sneak past the mechs. Kazu sees this, and buys time by using Cammie as a "human" shield and charging the others as a distraction. It nearly worked, too.
- After the rookies' repeated failures at capture the flag, Chase steps up to the plate to show what an experienced mecha pilot can accomplish by defeating the vanguards.
- Dr. Weller had a hard sell ahead of him after Sinclair's death spooked the team, and nearly caused Cammie to leave. His solution? Convince the team to try out their Holons just once outside a hangar where a squad of medivacs are set to drop off another group of refugees. He then delivers this soliloquy as the refugees debark - which is as relevant in the real world as it is in-series.Weller: Needless aggression, unscrupulous greed, unchecked hate. To have the images, the headlines, incessantly thrust at you, hour after hour, years at a time, you normalize to it. They want you to go numb, become indifferent or lose your self in distractions, for it to feel like the evil in this world and all its machinations are too big to challenge. That loss of control leads to despair. To re-engage, to claw back even the tiniest sense of control, you don't have to save the world. You just have to make a difference where you can, with the opportunities you are given.
- The way they handle Valentina being revealed as genderfluid is pretty impressive, and perhaps more importantly, the subtle reveal that gender-reassignment technology has advanced enough in this time line to facilitate multiple transitions back and forth as the person sees fit. It's impressive to see that even in a time of war, science is making improvements to people's lives, allowing Valentina to live comfortably in their own body.
- The Gen:Lock team's fight against Nemesis is pretty intense. Even Julian and Yasamin are hard-pressed by it.
- The mech's use of its two extra arms is a CMOA for the fight choreography. Rather than simply having two extra arms to punch with, Nemesis' entire fighting style is based around attacking and counter-attacking with its extra limbs from unexpected angles, preying on the heroes' inexperience by fighting exactly how a two-armed opponent wouldn't.
The Best Defense
- Cammie is serious about not letting Nemesis "get me again." She mods her own mind within her Holon, turning on a "simulated adrenal response." She goes from being barely able to fight off a few gun drones and getting instantly taken down by Kazu to taking down dozens of drones at once and beating Kazu down so hard that she only stops when Weller remotely shuts down her Holon.
- Kazu's reaction to Cammie beating the crap out of him? "That was great!"
- The Holons get a new set of upgrades, including wings for Chase!
- Chase's new wings, allowing him to fly like he used to, make him an even more effective fighter than he already was. Kazu's reaction (in unsubtitled English to boot) to seeing Chase take flight says it all:Kazu: Woah! Yes!
- The rematch against Nemesis goes much better than the first fight, with the tide turning when Cammie manages to use Electronic Telepathy to connect with Valentina and give them the targeting info to hit Nemesis despite its Smoke cover, saving Yaz and giving a Badass Boast in the process, and the mech ultimately ends up losing two of its arms and has to flee.
- For the first time in a long while, the Vanguard found a chance to strike against the Union, with the gen:LOCK team and Leon's Strider unit leading the assault. It worked, with an unscheduled hostage rescue to boot.
The Only Me I Know
- Nemesis has revealed who and what it is, and is readying to attack while repeating that Chase wants out. Cue Chaser divebombing it from the sky and our Chase telling him he's all too happy to help him get out.
- When Kazu gets pinned down by a mob of Union spider tanks, Valentina shares her mind with him to help take them out. The end result is the Dance Battler trope played beautifully, both within the Holon minds and in real life. The pair end up wiping the floor with the tanks effortlessly.
- Once he gets the gen:LOCK team out of harm's way, Dr. Weller gets a Dying Moment of Awesome by blowing up the Cyberbrain's room with a squad of Union soldiers sent to capture him.
- During their escape through the Anvil, Valentina not only lands a triple-kill with a single shot from her energy rifle, but quickly follows it up by throwing a knife right into a Union soldier's helmet.
- Migas's apparent last act is to drive the gen:LOCK team to their transport amidst the carnage the Behemoth's inflicting.
- Miranda showing the Union just why she has the Callsign "Tempest" by doing an epic Spinning Multi-Directional Barrage. Leon's Strider Team were chosen as the GEN:Lock Team's drill instructors for a REASON.
- How about Chase holding his own against the Nemesis in single combat? Also, an entire team of Striders dished out significant damage to the thing while it's fighting Chase. Course, then again, that is Leon, Miranda and Jodie of Baker Squad, the show's resident recurring team of Badass Normal soldiery.
- Chase also finding his comrades fleeing in the transport, and despite showing enmity towards Weller, proceeds to take out some Union flyers to keep them safe, before joining them later after the battle.
- The Union successfully enacts a Thanatos Gambit; when their Behemoth got destroyed, the Union smoke went loose and tore through the Anvil base.
- In a meta sense, the fact that War Is Hell is being played straight to the hilt, and there is no Plot Armor. There aren't too many animations out there that depict war for the horror it truly is, and both this episode and the show in general have done it masterfully, even if most of the cast actually survives.
It Never Rains ...
- Cammie figuring out that Nemesis can track the team whenever they upload to the network.
- Dr. Weller is revealed to have pulled off one hell of a Thanatos Gambit ... by secretly backing up all of his gen:LOCK research within Caliban, whom he kept muted to protect his work.
- The montage of the Holons receiving their final forms at a secret robotics facility, and all of them were Cammie's designs.
- It turns out that everyone sans Doctor Weller made it out fine after the Anvil attack. The Doctor had the idea to mimic the signal used by Union troops and sympathizers that tells the nanobots to not attack them. Once the nanobots flooded the base, the Vanguard decided to test the Doctor's idea out in the field for the first time, and it worked like a charm.
- It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it thing, but apparently the Hammer system in the Anvil base has inter-continental range. During the battle for Chicago, it downs a Union Behemoth despite being hundreds of miles away, with an immensely satisfying bass "WHUMP".
- Despite the dangers of doing so due to his age, Leon gets a moment to shine for successfully being able to upload and pilot Sinclair's Holon. Which is especially impressive since this is literally his first time using a Holon with no practice or training and he briefly distracts and holds off Nemesis.
- As the final showdown between the gen:LOCK team and Nemesis, this episode is full of awesome fight moments, with every character, even the villain, getting their chance to shine and show off their new upgrades. Cammie and Kazu use mindshare to lay a beating on Nemesis, as do Yaz and Valentina - though the battle is ended by a whole team mindshare in which every member of the crew gets a lick in on Nemesis, pummeling him both mentally and physically until the battle is won.
- Highlights from the mindshare-powered moves include Cammie leaping into the air and slamming down Kazu's sword guillotine-style with her legs, and Yaz superheating Valentina's dagger with a heat ray to boost its cutting power.
- Nemesis gets its own share of the awesome this episode, coming in with its own upgrades that include a flight pack and combat tentacles, as well as utilising even more creative uses for its nanotech, such as making solid barriers, spikes, swords, repairing its damaged and torn off limbs and even creating cannons on the fly, making an already dangerous foe even deadlier than before.
- The animation throughout the fight is incredibly fluid, with multiple shots circling around Nemesis as the gen:lock team lays down attacks, all done in single shots that call to mind the various Oner scenes from the Avengers films.
- One to the animation team for the way Nemesis moves in the fight. The excellent choreography for it fighting with four arms was good to start with, but with the addition of extra spidery limbs and tentacles, it manages to get even better. Its movements are incredibly fluid in both attacking and mobility, easily attacking enemies behind it and switching between which limbs it's using to move. Even with the team's upgrades, it has them on the ropes more than a few times.
- The team working together to defeat Nemesis in a five-person mindshare, snatching the signal needed to shut his nanotech down from his mind.
- The Stinger reveals an Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Sinclair survived abduction.
- Sad, ominous, heartwarming, and awesome: Nemesis in defeat accepts his fate after the gen:LOCK team takes him down, and instead of resisting and attempting to take his real body, warns Chase not just that the Union created other versions of them, but also that he needs to kill them. Even as the real Chase became twisted into this state, he's still holding on to himself as much as he can to both understand what happening, and be willing to accept his death (even if it's slow in coming) if it will cripple the Union's military strength and bring both himself and his other's (our Chase's) peace.
- The fact that Rooster Teeth mustered a pseudo-All-Star Cast including Michael B. Jordan, Dakota Fanning, David Tennant, Maisie Williams, and Kōichi Yamadera.
- Also, the fact that Rooster Teeth has included so much diversity and LGBT representation. Casting Asia Kate Dillion as Valentina was amazing, and having Valentina be genderfluid too makes the Actor-Shared Background trope all the more poignant, especially in the entertainment industry where LGBT roles and other minorities are dubbed over by Hollywood with white washing.
- Monica Rial, whose previous credits have mostly been limited to anime dubs and video games, recorded Colonel Raquel Marin's dialogue for the original teaser fully expecting she would be redubbed later by some Hollywood actor, especially when she learned Michael B. Jordan would be the voice of the lead. "So when I found out that I was cast as Marin I really had like a girly screechy moment."
- The first episode's rather glorious subversion of Stuffed into the Fridge. As one viewer put it in a text shared online, "I was really worried they were gonna kill off Michael Jordan's girlfriend for his character development, but then they killed off Michael Jordan for Michael Jordan's character development and THAT, that is ballsy."