The mystery begins to deepen more from the laboratory incident and its tendrils snake out to quite a few people.
What They Say:
When the conspiracy surrounding the Philosopher’s Stone closes in on the highest ranks of the military, one of Mustang’s most trusted and cherished allies is murdered.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Brotherhood comes in many forms and the opening of this episode and other aspects of it put that out there rather well. One of the things that works in the favor of a series like this is a strong supporting cast that is fairly diverse and involved. This episode starts off with a piece from the past where we see Mustang and Hughes from the Ishvalan war period where they worked together and created the bond of support to try and figure out what’s really going on in their government. The two men are different in approach and personality, but the way they complement each other is simply wonderful to watch. Mustang’s serious nature and Hughes’ outgoing and ebullient personality have them as an odd match that works.
The story of Mustang and Hughes plays in a roundabout fashion with this episode as it sort of weaves throughout it and provides the bookends. The central piece brings us a really interesting little nugget as Ed and Al along with Hughes and Armstrong discuss what they’ve learned from the laboratory incident and the scope of what may be some sort of massive cover-up. What throws them completely is the sudden arrival in Ed’s hospital room of the Fuhrer himself. Bradley continues to be one of the more amusing leader I’ve seen as he alternates between deadly serious and scary to outright lighthearted and amusing in a heartbeat. His arrival in this episode helps to paint his interest in what’s going on and practically creates a little cabal here to investigate it while keeping it all secret since “nobody in the military can be trusted” after what’s been learned.
The shift in approach has Ed and Al ready to head south to meet up with their teacher who showed them the ways of alchemy and Winry has decided to tag along since she wants to go to a famous automail place along the way. And it works in her favor since it gets Ed to pick up the tab. This quiet period where they travel is offset by the investigation that Hughes continues on with that actually lands him in a great deal of trouble. Hughes has been my favorite of the State Alchemists that have been used in the show because of his personality but also because of his family and the sheer love and adoration he has for his family. What he discovers here sets the show on a very different course and it’s one that helps to tie a lot of things together here as well as serving as a wonderful bookend piece. His contribution to this episode is one of those key moments that lets you know you’re really watching a serial here, a lengthy fully realized storyline, and not a bunch of loosely connection shonen episodes.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood rolls right along with this episode and adds more little pieces to the puzzle and the overall foundation of the series. Though less focused on Ed and Al, everyone gets a good moment here and there as the episode is very much an ensemble piece with hints, teases and eye-opening revelations and surprises. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has a lot of heart here that shows but it also wraps it up with a layered storyline that’s slowly being explored. Though I’m still aware of some of the larger themes from the original series, this new adaptation of the manga continues to excite and intrigue and makes me want more of it. Definitely a lot of fun but also one of the turning points of the series.
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.