War begins to break out in several areas, including one very intriguing declaration of war.
What They Say
May and Marcoh's efforts to decode the research of Scar's brother yield progress, but it might be too late to prevent catastrophe. Violence is spreading across the land, and it will soon reach the northern border.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)'
The forty-second episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an interesting one as it has a very different flow to it. There's a lot going on here but it's mostly subtle until the second half where it picks up in intensity. The excursion to the north has not been one of my favorite arcs of the series as it felt like there was a lot of hurry up and wait, as well as little real accomplishment to be found here. This episode doesn't really change it all that much but we do see the engines of war moving forward openly this time around and that helps to give the show a push in the right direction of overt action.
The first half is mostly about the group with Winry trying to figure out what's going on with Al as well as the research notes that Scar had brought with him. Al's freezing up necessitated the group to disassemble him so they could move him to Asbeck easily, though they haven't put him back together yet. When Al is in this mode, as we've seen him do different times before, it's almost cute since he treats it almost matter of factly. While this occurs though, May has an accident with the research notes that leads them on a new path. Marcoh's work with them has not led them to anything significant, but when it turns out that you can arrange the pages to overlap key words, it opens up some possibilities. The revelations aren't what they expect at first though but it does put them on the right path as Scar knows that his brother must have more than this when it comes to what it reveals.
The second half is more interesting as we see different places across the country that are getting more and more caught up in violence and war. Things along the southern stretch of the country are deteriorating and various members of Mustang's group confer on the phone to realize that events are moving fairly quickly and suddenly. There's even a move by the country to the north to make an attack on Briggs with a very surprising advisor working alongside them for his own goals. The really good material shows up when Hohenheim appears in one of the cities we saw early on as he explores a church that's been destroyed there. What it leads to is the tunnels that Sloth has been digging as well as a very ravenous and angry Pride. Hohenheim figures out a neat trick about Pride while down there and essentially delivers a declaration of war from Slave No. 23 to the homunculus, as well as noting just how much like his Father the homunculus is like, which is really appropriate for Pride.
There's a lot going on in this series and this episode is one that features a good blend of setup as well as action. It's not straight out combat action but more the type where Hohenheim is on the run but we glean some neat information about it, or it's the action where we see the machinery of war moving into position and getting going. It's also an episode completely without Ed which does happen once in awhile and is a nice change of pace. Those that do appear here get some good moments to them and there are some solid discoveries to be made, but it's not an episode that you'll get completely jazzed over until the end where it teases with what's to come.
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.