Some truths start to become revealed as Edward heads out of the way under Armstrong's care.
What They Say
Ed's journey to a distant land of legend offers surprising new details behind Mustang's alleyway encounter with Ross. After a fateful encounter of his own, Elric learns a stunning secret about Winry's parents.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While it may not be quite so apparent to those who haven't seen a lot of shows, read a lot of books or dealt with plotting in general, this episode was filled with mostly predictable material. That's not to say it's bad, but it's a kind of bridging episode used in order to shift some pieces around and get ready to move forward. It's the kind of episode that's well used to flesh out the characters a little more and to help them become more human and connectable for the viewer. In that sense, this episode succeeds quite well as most everyone comes across as very likable.
The bulk of this episode focuses around closing out the story with Maria Ross, who was summarily executed in the previous episode by Roy Mustang when he incinerated her with his power. It was a simple move, one that showed a cold side to him, but it was also patently obvious that it was a trick unless you're completely new to the world. It was nicely done though and played well for what Mustang wanted to show as it let him deal with a problem, effectively, and probably helped to keep his position secure a bit longer as he organizes his own research team. Maria's escape is given some nice detail as we see how it really happened, but only after Ed and Alex Louis Armstrong meet up with her in the outskirts of the country in a really amusing reunion. Everything is nicely tied together here with how it happened and we simply get to admire the smooth and proper execution of the idea.
Ed's road to discovery here does get him to meet up with a group of Ishvalan's who have a sizeable grudge against anyone from his country. But within this group there are those who have a connection to him from the past with the war and Ed is able to glean a little interesting information that helps to flesh out Winry's past a bit. But it also provides a tie in a different direction with the man responsible, again done in a patently obvious manner for the viewer in a way that to me removes the drama from it, which helps to give him some more motivation in exacting revenge for Winry. It's a nice little touch that wasn't exactly expected in this since the death of her parents didn't seem like it would be connected to much other than providing a bit more drama when it was revealed. All told, there's some nice setup throughout this episode that gives us a lot to look forward to. But that's summed up a few of the recent episodes.
While there's a lot of exposition here, we do get some good action as well as No. 66, aka Barry the Chopper, gets to have a bit of fun when his original body arrives to reclaim its soul. Add in that Greed makes an appearance and there's some mildly good bloody fun as you see more of what Mustang has in mind. The show has had some good episodes dealing with the setup phase of the series as the murder of Hughes plays out in varying angles and Mustang is watching to see who is getting rattled by each new event or revelation. At times it may seem like it's going too slow, but there is a good deal going on in each episode. With great looking animation and a continuing nod towards the physical comedy side, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood remains a very enjoyable series with plenty more to go as it tells its tale. Very recommended for weekly viewing.
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.