Cross-posted here @ ff7
Episodes 1 & 2
Warning: Mild language, spoilers.
Previously, on FF7: Crisis Core: Zack and Tseng are investigating the hometown of Genesis Rhapsodos, deserter from SOLDIER, when Tseng runs across a fresh grave. Zack's mentor, Angeal, is also missing, so Zack goes to visit his mother's house to look for answers. . .
EPISODE 3: Puppies and Monsters
Angeal's Mom: Are you Zack the Puppy?
Zack: . . . Come again?
Apparently Angeal calls him that on account of his bouncy energy and propensity for being easily distracted. Also, Genesis did indeed come back here, but not to hide. He's been killing all the villagers, and using his clones to help. Angeal's mom doesn't understand what happened--Genesis used to be such a nice kid.
Zack: What about Angeal?
Angeal's Mom: [uncomfortable pause] He came back too.
He's also left his buster sword in the house. Family heirloom, apparently, which explains why Angeal was so careful about not wanting to use it much. Zack tells Angeal's mom to hide, but she thinks she's safe--Genesis wouldn't hurt her. Yeah, this isn't going to end well.
So guess who was in that grave Tseng was checking out? Genesis' parents. Angeal is still MIA, and they're starting to get an idea of just how cold and evil their adversary is. What started as a simple search and rescue has turned into something much, much worse, and Zack is starting to wonder if he knew Angeal as well as he thought he did.
They finally do find Genesis, in an abandoned house, just chilling by the window, reading a book. It's an unfinished play/epic poem called "Loveless," and we'll be hearing a *LOT* of it from now on.
Genesis: You sure make a lot of noise, Puppy.
(Cold as ice, y'all.)
Zack: What the hell's wrong with you? Your own parents?
Genesis then starts rambling (he does this a lot), calling Tseng and Zack "Shin-Ra dogs" and accusing the SOLDIER organization of mistreating him ever since he left home, and none of them understand what's really going on or they'd agree with him. Tseng then makes the mistake of trying to come closer and talk sense to him, and gets a fireball in the face.
Zack, being the noble player/protagonist he is, tries to charge and retaliate, but someone appears out of nowhere and knocks his sword away. It's Angeal, now standing between Zack and Genesis.
Genesis: Hey, partner.
Turns out Angeal has been helping Genesis this whole time, slaughtering villagers and all. But he's still protecting Zack, so he hasn't lost his mind completely. Right? Genesis says he respects Angeal's choice to throw in his lot with the kid, because they're friends, but that he'll regret it. He won't be able to live with himself in this world any longer. Then Genesis exits, and damned if Angeal doesn't follow him. Zack is understandably stunned after this exchange, but quickly runs after them both.
Obviously that would be too easy, for him to just run outside and find them, so Zack goes back to Angeal's old house--where Mom was not so safe as she thought she'd be. (Surprise.) But--actual surprise--it wasn't Genesis who killed her. It was Angeal. This is where Shit Gets Real for Zack: he finally loses what's left of his cool and starts wailing on Angeal, screaming something like, "WHY??" and beating the hell out of him. Angeal's explanation: "She had nothing left to live for. And neither do I."
Then Genesis pops up again to say, "Told you," and trips Zack on his way out the door, leaving him to watch Angeal walk away without a backward glance.
It's hard for me to convey just how distressing this sequence is. Zack has lost the one character in this game that he really looked up to, and not just lost, but watched him turn homicidal in the worst possible way with no explanation. And as he's trying to have a mental breakdown, Genesis serenely recites a passage from "Loveless" about how nothing can stop the hatred and evil of this world we live in while Zack repeatedly begs him to shut up, just shut up. It is surprisingly gut-wrenching and awful.
Genesis: Sephiroth didn't come back. I wonder why not?
Then he calls up a Summon Creature for Zack to fight.
Zack: You're supposed to be a SOLDIER--what happened to your pride?
Genesis: We are monsters. We've lost both our dreams and our pride.
Then he flings his arm out, and a giant black feathered wing unfurls behind him. The usual laws of physics don't apply, apparently, because he only needs one wing to fly away. Zack stares after him, and says, "But SOLDIERs aren't monsters." And the whole village goes up in flames. Either by Genesis fire-bombing them from the sky, or from the Shin-Ra helicopters just now showing up to pull Zack out of the danger zone--maybe both. But if it's the helicopters, I have to wonder why they're destroying an innocent village. Maybe to cover up what Genesis did there?
When he gets back to headquarters, Zack is a little broken and lost, but the war between Wutai and Shin-Ra is over. Then his cell phone rings--it's Sephiroth, and he has a new mission. This time, they're both going in.