"The Phone That Never Rings" is the third episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Shinji begins school at Tokyo-3 and meets his classmates: Tōji Suzuhara, Kensuke Aida, and Hikari Horaki. Toji is angry with Shinji because his sister was badly injured in Shinji's first fight against the Angel Sachiel. Another Angel, Shamshel, appears, and Shinji must defeat it. Shinji is pushed to his mental limit during the battle, going berserk during the last seconds, engaging the Angel in close combat and savagely disabling it. Afterwards, he is traumatized by the emotions he experienced during the battle.
Three weeks have passed since the events of the first episode. Shinji tries to adjust to his new life in Tokyo-3, but has little interest in piloting, and his relations with Misato are still distant. In the beginning of the episode, he is seen lethargically going through a simulation training. The next morning, he tries to wake Misato up, while a female radio announcer talks about scuba diving and tells the audience that the Earth no longer has seasons, but instead has consistent weather year-round. Shinji then departs for school, leaving the trash for pickup. Ritsuko then calls Misato to check on Shinji and is told that Shinji seems to have made no friends at school after two weeks since he transferred to his new school.
At school, we are introduced to Shinji's classmates: Kensuke Aida, Toji Suzuhara, and Hikari Horaki, the class rep. We also meet their teacher, who seems to teach nothing but the history of the Second Impact. Rei is in the class too, her eye and arm still bandaged, looking out the window. Kensuke is a military geek who seems to be the only one enjoying the fact that Earth seems to be suddenly at war. Toji has only just returned to class for the first time since the battle, explaining that he had to care for his sister, who was injured in the battle with Sachiel.  When his identity as a pilot is discovered by his classmates, Toji, who blames Shinji for his sister's injuries, gives Shinji a beating in retaliation. Shinji's pleas that he was piloting involuntarily only made Toji angrier.
Rei then arrives to tell Shinji that there is an emergency call. Shamshel, another Angel, is approaching Tokyo-3 and the conventional firepower is of no effect on it. The committee demands the dispatch of an Evangelion, and Shinji is mobilized in Unit-01 to defend the city. Kensuke convinces Toji to sneak out of their shelter to watch the battle from nearby. The battle goes poorly for NERV, when Shinji loses his nerve to fight and is sent into the air by Shamshel, almost killing Toji and Kensuke as he lands, as they are frozen between its hands. This also severs Unit-01's Umbilical Cable, leaving her with just 5 minutes of activation power.
Shinji then begins fighting a defensive battle, attempting to protect Toji and Kensuke rather than defeat the Angel. To protect them from the battle, Misato orders Toji and Kensuke to take refuge in the Evangelion's Entry plug.
Inside, Toji sees Shinji's great anguish and pain as he fights the Angel, and is beset by remorse. Misato orders to Shinji to retreat, but he charges at Shamshel with the Evangelion's Progressive Knife, defeating the Angel just as his power runs out. Days later, Kensuke gives Toji, Shinji's phone number so he can apologize. Toji attempts to call, but stops.
- Shinji: "Target in the center, pull the switch"
- Ritsuko: "Even though a hedgehog may wish to get close to another hedgehog, the closer they get, the more they injure each other with their spines. It's the same with some humans..."
Misato: "Well, he'll eventually learn that growing up means getting closer to people and distancing them, finding a distance where you can avoid hurting each other too much."
- See Timeline for details.
- First appearance of Shinji's Plug suit.
- First mention of Second Impact. The teacher is talking about the cover story; it was caused by a meteor strike 15 years earlier in the year 2000 which resulted in the human population of Earth being halved.
- Toji says that his father and grandfather are busy with work, so if he didn't visit his sister in the hospital himself, there would be no one to visit her and she would be all alone. He does not mention his mother in this, so it would seem to imply that his mother is dead.
- Evangelion Unit-01's skin color has been changed to a brighter color in Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone