We begin Episode 17 with Ange and Salia in the hot springs, discussing the pending invasion of Misurugi and the liberation of Aura, info courtesy of Riza. Ange is wondering if Sala wants to draft her, and Sala tells her she's free to make her own choices, but that would be really nice. Further, just before the intro starts, Sala points out they owe Ange for saving her peoplke, and Sala wants to repay the favor.
When we come back, Tusk is doing his handyman thing as he advocates kicking ass alongside the DRAGONs, as he has obvious personally reasons to want to screw Embryo over. Ange wonders if that's morally correct, and when is confused, Ange recaps all they've learned and understandably wonders if joining Sala's cause just means they will get jerked around by someone else with a hidden agenda, and Tusk just tells her "don't worry about that, just follow your conscience".
And that's when the series running gag hits, just as Vivan pops by with thanks from her mother for the other day. Vivian blushes, Ange is pissed, and Tusk gets sent over a cliff.
Later, Tusk (looking like a mummy) is being spoonfed at a BBQ by some DRAGON girls, Ange sees this, makes a loud crunchy noise as she bites her kebab (prompting Tusk to shield his jewels), and that when she goes all Tsundere again and does the same thing the other girls were doing (yeah, jealousy), and we see Tusk's hands are fucked up (must have hit the water pretty damned hard).
Sala and her groupies show up soon after Ange decides to go back home, Sala's cool with that, even if that makes her and Ange's enemies again, and Kaname and Naga get into a pissing match over the wisdom in just letting her go. Ange confirms "chill, we not enemies anymore", and Sala accepts this at face value, despite the shock of her groupies, and then they promise to finish their competition with karaoke next time (this is a shout out to the uber hilarious official 4-koma gag parody of the series, which can be found here: http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Cross-Ange-Tenshi-to-Ryuu-no-Gakuen )
Later, at Lamia's place, Vivian wants to go with Ange, but her mom gets up and walks out without a word, prompting Vivian to have second thoughts. However, turns out Lamia just wants to show Vivan her baby clothes, points out Vivian grew up a lot since then, and that she has friends and memories she has to return to (basically, she's an understanding mom).
The next day, a crap ton of DRAGONs are gathering, and just as Vivan comments on this, Dr. Gecko shows up to hit on Tusk, and Ange is like "back off bitch, he's spoken for". Gecko's all pouty, Vivian snarks they need a room, then we cut to the High Priestess giving the "let's go rescue Aura speech", and we finally see the High Priestess is friggin short.
As they all take off, Vivian muses about invites the girls from Arzenal over for a house visit, and Tusk just wants to open a small cafe by the sea, and as his monologue starts getting more mushy than Salia's favorite romance movies, Ange wants to gag (but as the portal to their world opens, she privately admits to herself Tusk's ideal life sounds nice).
And that's when the DRAGON forces realize they are nowhere near Misurugi.
Me, I figure Embryo has caught on ahead of time (like the last episode wasn't enough foreshadowing) and screwed up their plans.
Sure enough, a friggin missile barrage pops out of nowhere, just to confirm they were set up, and yep, we see Embyro's Ragna-mail, as if we needed MORE confirmation, just before the intermission.
As the intermission resumes, Embyro reveals he's got backup as they assault the DRAGON forces, who can do little but respond.
Also, another cut a torture room (and unlike the first episode, this appears to have been ACTUAL torture) shows Embryo with a trussed up (naked) Riza, in trollface mode as he informs her that her info is why her friends are being slaughtered.
Meanwhile, as Sala's forces are getting overwhelmed, Ange decides to kick ass to help her out, but warns her they are screwed and they need to retreat. Around the same time, the pilot in the black Vilkiss seems oddly familiar as Sala is eventually persuaded with Tusk's help to retreat for real.
And soon, we find out why the pilot is so familar: It's Salia, and the forces they are fighting are Ange's own, who were tipped off by Embryo, who apparently convinced Jill (who doesn't know what Ange knows) that they have a common enemy in DRAGONS, using their continued ignorance to force them to fight each other.
........well played, Embryo, well played.
In fact, he somehow managed to get the Arzenal crew on his side (WTF?!?!?!?!), but it kinda makes sense since he tipped them off that Ange apparently turned traitor. Anyway, as the DRAGONs complete their retreat, Salia orders an attack name right out of magical girl anime (to Chris and Ersha's consternation), and they proceed to close in for the kill by using grappling hooks to paralyze the Vilkiss.
Or they try, until Vivian does a midair cord cut with a bomb and Tusk pulling a variant of what Ange did with Salia a few episodes back, to Ersha's shock.
However, Salia still has a hold on the Vilkiss, and Ange gets tired of hearing Salia speaking of the creepy narcissist Embryo like she's nailing the guy (creepy thought IMO). As Salia tries to the formation attack again, Ange, after a few threats to kick the Vikiss' ass, finally gets it teleport both her and Tusk away.....
.....back to the blown up shell of Arzenal.
Later, as they are hiding out in one of the half destroyed lower hangars, that's when several figures in wetsuits pop out of the water and head toward them, scaring the shit out of them.
Turns out one of them is Momoka (to Ange's relief), another is Rosalie, and one is Hilda, who finally meets Tusk, and nearly rips his balls off to confirm he's a guy, and as he's turning purple from understandable shock, end credits roll.
The post credits have Ange and Salia bitching about who is hated more by the anime production staff, Jill and Maggy getting briefed by Ange (and pissed at what she learns), Hilda creeping on Ange in the shower (yeah, been awhile since we had some lesbian fanservice, lol)
Anyway, little theory before next episode:
After the teleport to the other world, Embryo (remember he brought Chris back to life in Salia's presence and a dead child back to life in Ersha's) got ahold of the three of them and sweet talked them onto his team. Salia was pretty easy, he just handed her a Dracunium ring, her own Vilkiss, and a chance to show up Ange. Chris, well, he REVIVED her from certain death, and Ersha....well, he can't be all bad if he brought a dead kid back to life, can he?
Everyone else got out of Arzenal.
Meanwhile, Embryo isn't stupid. After Episode 13, he realized Riza was still around (her exit from Julio's ship wasn't as discreet as she thought) and thus captured her when she thought her cover was still intact, and a little torture later gave up the plans for the DRAGON invasion, and Embryo used her info and some creative BS to get his three new sycophants to do his dirty work, which is pretty brilliant if you ask me, and suggests that even if he isn't a total bastard and has some standards, he sure isn't above using any goodwill he engenders with people for his own gain, which still plants him in villain territory, but he's still not as much of an asshole as Julio was, at least, not yet.
Meanwhile, Jill has been in a holding pattern, hanging around the general area of Arzenal since the linchpin of Libertus was MIA, which also makes sense, since no one would expect them to double back there for awhile.