Nothing like a sheep festival to bring back memories of youth for a country boy.
What They Say
Those who have prepared to reclaim a nation find their plans exposed. The chaos multiplies after an assassin strikes down a mighty leader in broad daylight, and Alphonse falls prey to monsters in the dark.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It's a good sign when an episode makes you giddy in several places and laugh out loud with glee during one particular scene. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has been getting its steam back in the last couple of episodes and it seems like we're getting closer to some payoff episodes which is definitely a good thing. As everything has slowly been put in place and the pieces are ready to move, there's a thrill in watching this happen even as other pieces are still in transition. There's a lot to like with this episode as it moves about a couple of different things while also getting ready to take it all to a very public level as the Promised Day is literally a day away.
The show has a lot of quiet moments throughout it but there's an energy building as well. The opening is rather cute as we see Winry being smuggled into her house after making her way back from Liore only to discover that Ed is there as well. It's an awkward reunion, particularly as it happens in her bedroom of all places, as Greed is there and both sides have their own soldiers and chimera. Winry gets confused by Greed since it's really Greeling now and that whole situation, including Ed now working for Greed in a sense, makes her very uncertain of events. Leave it to Piyoko though to get everything settled in the end with a good meal. There are some neat little moments here, especially as Greed expounds on how greed can be good, as well as the way Ed and Winry play against each other with the simmering of feelings.
One area that's really nicely highlighted here that I think gets lost in the series is how the two brothers have found their own way while separated. This is more important for Al since he's younger, but it's important for Ed too as he can't be continually watching out for his brother like before. The two have been separate since Briggs and each are doing the things they can, such as Al now heading off to try and help organize things with the planned pushback against the Promised Day event. Things never seem to go easy for either brother but Al's having a harder time because of his blackouts and having a team-up of Pride and Gluttony going against him in a dark train yard doesn't help him either.
What was very intriguing and exciting about this episode is the time spent in the East and with Scar. Scar's moments are smaller as we see him organizing the Ishvalans who will work with him to help regain Central as he's doing it to help change the nation as opposed to saving it. There's a fine line but it's one he's walking well, and relatively quietly. The time in the East is the best though as Miles arrives and starts coordinating exercises with Grumman. What throws a kink into their plans is that the Fuhrer himself has come to oversee it as he expects the coup to start from here. Plans within plans slowly start to reveal themselves though and there's the best moment in recent memory as Grumman is fanning himself in the heat and starts giggling over the trick that they've played. Priceless.
There had better be some good payoff in the next episode. Everything about this episode was great but the majority of it is still setup of sorts. Or rather, it's the opening motions as the events are about to start so there's a certain thrill and energy to it all. So much has been put into place, so many little nods and winks and knowing glances that it's exciting to finally have it happening, to have the Promised Day nearly here and for people like Father to step out into the open more. So many characters have changed dramatically over the course of the series that the evolution of them alone is fascinating, but seeing them react and act with confidence is even better. I'm simply excited and on the edge of my seat waiting for more.
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.