The snow outside isn’t the only cold and icy thing in the Briggs Wall…
What They Say:
The soldiers at Fort Briggs remain ever vigilant against the threat of spies from Drachma. The massive compound may seem impenetrable - but a violent intruder offers destructive proof to the contrary.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)”
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood hits a very good note with this episode as a lot of little things come into focus, though some of it won’t be apparent if you haven’t read the manga to know what it all means. The episode keeps things quite simple as it’s all about Ed and Al and their time at Briggs, which is now changing since they’re inside the fortress and Olivier Armstrong is giving them time to actually come clean about things. Some of the people inside there are surprised to learn that Ed is actually a State Alchemist, but you almost get the feeling that the Elric brother is quite used to it by now even if it does frustrate him.
Olivier’s view of the world is one that completely defines Briggs in that everyone there will do whatever it takes to protect the country, even if that country isn’t truly worth that protection and its sacrifice. It’s a group of hardened misfits in a way who all have their secrets but do seem to have little problem admitting them to others. Ed and Al are called out by Olivier to reveal what they’re really doing there, and they do give up certain information but keep a lot of the big damning material to themselves such as who the Fuhrer really is and the homunculi as well. The boys do have a really fun moment learning what their temporary job will be as well as running into an old subordinate of Mustang’s who is embarrassed about his position but still quite open to showing the brothers all about the fortress and the weapons development going on there.
While this is a decent information based kind of episode, and we do learn a bit about Olivier Armstrong and Briggs itself, the focus shifts halfway through when a new homunculi literally comes up out of the ground. Sloth, a massive hulking man who seems to be quite dense in the head, is focused on his sole job of digging a tunnel and nothing else. He doesn’t seem capable of independent thought and just keeps moving forward, even though he’s in the middle of a military base. With a lot of weapons development there, Olivier is ready to take him on but she’s really intrigued in her cold manner by the way the Elric brothers are very aware of what Sloth is and how the weapons she has won’t do anything. There’s almost a grudging respect slowly growing between them in how they’re handling all of this and the way the brothers present themselves in general.
I was rather unsure of how this arc would play out in the last few episodes, though Kimblee’s role was fun and the whole of Briggs is really intriguing. As this episode really settled down and worked out its exposition elements, I found myself pretty well enraptured by it and how Olivier Armstrong presents herself and deals with others. There’s a lot to like here in how it’s cementing the relationships of a few characters and in particular that of Miles, an Ishvalan working for the military in this remote location. The introduction of a new homunculi is quite appealing as well, especially with the mysterious job that he’s working on that’s likely a portent of things to come. This is a really good episode that ended with me anxiously awaiting the next one.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.