Manipulation is the order of the day as Kimblee sets to getting everything he wants out of Ed.
What They Say:
Hawkeye is shocked when the first Homunculus reveals itself. Far away, Edward is surprised by an offer from Kimblee: Fullmetal can have all he has searched for – in exchange for becoming a mass murderer.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)”
For an episode titled, “The First Homunculus,” there’s very little of said homunculus in there. The introduction, or rather the outing, of the first homunculus occurs in an almost surprising fashion fairly early on in the episode though the entire angle is fairly much expected based on past information. The family dynamic that the Fuhrer has, with his wife and his adopted son, is one that opens up all sorts of possibilities. When you connect back to the information that was revealed recently about the Fuhrer’s own origins and his lack of family, it’s quickly apparent that Selim certainly isn’t from a distant relative. Or perhaps we misheard and believed that Selim was from his mother’s side of the family. But when Hawkeye stands near him and he gives off a wave of incredible bloodthirst, she realizes all too quickly what he’s all about. And that puts her in even more danger than before as her every move is even more scrutinized now and ties in to events going on in the North.
The bulk of the episode is spent in that area as the ramifications of Raven’s death have yet to be felt. Armstrong has done the right thing in making sure she’ll shoulder any fallout from the event and is setting about to getting everything in place to move forward as best as she can. There’s some time given over to something that’s living down in the tunnel during a rescue operation of some other soldiers, but this is more of a tease of a menace to come more than anything else. Most of this episode is spent on the verbal sparring between Ed and Kimblee, which means it’s mostly done with dull daggers. As much as I like both characters, they’re not exactly the types that will use wit and layered dialogue to ensure that they’re scoring points and manipulating the other. They’re both blunt in their own ways and are very easy to read, which reduces some of the impact of it.
Kimblee’s offer to Ed, or rather the missions he’s giving him since Kimblee holds all the cards at the moment with Winry as a hostage along with Al, certainly does give Ed something to work with. Finding Scar and Marcoh align with his own goals of finding them since it could lead him to the girl with the panda that they want so they can get more information on Alkehestry. Kimblee’s even upping the ante by placing a Philosopher’s Stone right in front of Ed so he can use it towards restoring the balance of debt he owes to his brother as well as fixing himself. But it’s the third part of the deal that’s the worst as it commits Ed to going down a dark path that he may not be able to recover from, if he can even bring himself to do it. All of it builds towards a mild explanation for Winry as she must learn the position she’s in and the fact that she truly is a hostage. Like Ed, she’s a bit too obvious but several of the characters in this show truly do qualify for the dull blade label.
There’s a fair bit of humor to be had in this episode, largely at the beginning with Ed getting his cold weather upgrade and at the end with Winry forcing her way into a ride with Kimblee’s group. These light moments do help greatly to offset the serious nature of everything as well as nudge their relationship a little more out in the open, particularly as Ed remembers Hawkeye’s comments about it back in Central. Overall, this is a decent episode but it’s one that is again transitional as it moves the pieces around a bit and reaffirms where everyone stands. Mustang gains a little more information – along with an insult – and we also get the tease about the first homunculus which will obviously play a larger role in the episodes to come. This is a good story building episode, but one that doesn’t have any real key points to it that will be memorable or singled out.
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.