Listening to the exchange between Brera and Klan on who is the aggressor is very telling.
“No, we’re only defending ourselves.”
“Bullshit, you attacked us first.”
And then you have the brainwashing of the Frontier army: “We must eliminate them for us to survive.” “May the divine providence of the universe smile upon us.”
Amidst all these pretenses is that Leon and Frontier would have found any pretext to take over the Vajra’s planet for their own anyway. It matters not who attacked who first or if they don’t die then we will. Frontier wants a planet, and the Vajra has one. What remains is to go through the charades of justifying the takeover so the soldiers will fight and the citizens will feel good doing it—you know, like how the U.S. of A. overran the American Indians centuries past or how G.W. warned us of W.M.D.’s in modern day Iraq.
So, what is a soldier supposed to think among all these pretenses? Each of the characters has a different take.
Alto seems to have bought in on Leon and Bilrer’s prep talk that the Vajra are evil, Ranka is their tool, and therefore as a soldier defending his motherland Alto must annihilate both of them. Or maybe he does not; instead, he reasons that whatever Frontier’s motives are, they will march into Vajra’s nest, at which point every citizen on Frontier will be subjected under Vajra’s retaliation, and therefore, having seen many suffering of lost—he himself first hand with Michel—he decides to stay behind and protect those who cannot protect themselves. This is of course a very noble line of thought as a soldier, but as an individual human being, it is at best myopic.
Ozma and Cathy have a sight set further; it also helps that they know something which Alto does not: Leon and the survivors of Galaxy have their hands in the leading of the Vajra to Frontier. So, they, taking upon themselves the branding of traitors, set out to discover the truth and expose Leon, in order to halt Frontier from its eventual train wreck. And as such, they have mostly solved the entire puzzle in this episode: fighting the Vajra is not the final solution, but stopping Leon and Grace is. By the gods of Frontier that are the writers, they will make it in time, but the burning question is how much will be the cost of Frontier’s sin.
Klan is bent on one thing only: revenge. Nothing else matters to her anymore. She is the prototypical soldier whose war suffering has been turned against her by the government, transforming her into a soldier of rage. Her beloved is killed in front of her eyes; the government reaffirms it’s the Vajra’s fault; then they put a gun into her hands. Now you have a ruthless soldier who would fight to the death. Since there is a commenter over at THAT who loves to quote MGS4 (and for those of you who’ve played the game), Klan is like one of the four girls in the The Beauty and the Beast Corps. RAGE, RAGE, RAGE is in her eyes. These are the makings of a perpetual war machine.
Sheryl thinks she only has herself and her music left. On the other hand, her reaction ending the episode tells another story. She is far from singing for herself or her music (or some fancies that she sings for Frontier); rather, she sings for Alto and Alto only. Another myopic person. However, I can’t blame a dying person who must choose with her limited time what is most important to her. For Sheryl, it is Alto’s dream (or his true love), which she seems to think is rescuing Ranka. Helping Alto in achieving his dream becomes her life’s remaining task, which is why when she sees Alto’s fighter explodes, she could sing no longer.
Brera at this point is probably not himself at all. His brain has been reformatted by Grace’s Utility 1000. I would’ve wished to see how he would react after knowing Ranka is his sister, but we will have to wait for the finale.
Finally, Ranka. Her eyes say zombie all the way. Far removed from any ally, she is left alone at the mercy of Grace’s poisonous words. To expect a teenager girl under the burden of the unimaginable sin of being a mass murderer—even if no sane person could possibly fault a little girl for her singing that led to the tragedy at the 117th Research Fleet—to snap herself out of the brainwashing of an evil mastermind who has fooled everyone so far would be no different from expecting a miracle (or a very bad screenwriting). The only voice that will reach her now is Alto’s, which is where the Fold Crystal earring that Sheryl gave him will come into play.
Everybody is playing their roles well. Some agreeable, some not. The final act is almost over, and the play’s anchoring performance is about to showcase. Sing, hime, sing!