The pieces continue to come together but in a more interesting way this time around.
What They Say
Quiet warnings spread near and far: the Promised Day is at hand. While most will face the coming chaos with their own kind, Edward forms a new cabal comprised of human, chimera '" and Homunculus.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has certainly been frustrating in the last couple of episodes for different reasons as they show some promise of moving forward but sometimes linger too long. This episode is another of the setup pieces that shows the strings being pulled together a bit more but it's done with a lot of the cast so it feels like we're getting something a bit more serious and focused. When it lingers with one or two characters it comes across as if it's not moving fast enough. When it spreads its setup across multiple characters it feels like it's speeding right along.
Episode 45 runs through a lot of material and brings a lot of the cast back that we haven't seen too much of recently. There's a whole lot of good stuff in here that does fall into the setup arena but it's all done with the knowledge that events are getting closer, the so called Promised Day that Father is working towards. The opening segment does a good job of quickly finishing off the Greed vs. Fuhrer fight that helps to push Greed out on his own, likely once again. The character is not one that would play well with others and you can imagine him on a wide orbit around the rest of the homunculi. Where it takes an intriguing turn is when he stumbles across Ed as Ling manages to take over the body for a short bit and Ed gets to learn some of what's coming soon.
The internal struggle between Greed and Ling is really fun to watch as they're both vying for control and ultimately you can see both of them finding value in each others goals. Ed comes up with an amusing hybrid name for them with Greeling and proposes that they work together now that Greeling has set off on his own. There's a fun little twist to all of it, one that in the end is going to make things awkward and difficult for Ed when he comes across everyone else. But it pushes forth the idea that Ed has had that many people are going to have to work together to stop Father from what he has in store. And with the entire country at stake - to start with - it's not something that everyone can just ignore.
The smaller moments throughout are even more fun. Olivier returns to her father's estate and instructs him to turn over the family business to her. It's a ploy to get her family out but her father insists that since it was going to her younger brother, the two of them have to fight it out. That leads to a shirt ripping moment and a fast but beautifully comical fight between the two across the estate. The other main area is the slow dissemination of information across the network that has come up through the help of General Grumman, and we see that flow going from through various sources in discreet ways until it reaches Mustang. Izumi has a wonderful attack on Briggs, Grumman gets to play with Rebecca a bit and Mustang gets to end it all by looking incredibly cool while being hot.
While we're not getting anything all that huge with this episode, there's a lot of progress forward here that helps towards making the show feel like it's going somewhere. After a few episodes that were more like we were spinning our wheels, this one delivers us the large cast in spades while still not bringing out most of them. There's a lot of layering going on here, much like you'd get in a complex novel series, and by pulling the camera back with this episode and showing us multiple areas of interest, it goes a long way towards making us feel like there's something in the works. With the information system working hard, various characters making connections and the new deal between Ed and Greeling, this episode is much needed and very welcome.
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.