Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 49-52

49 Filial Affection

Renewed in strength after consuming Greed, Pride begins to gain the upper hand in battle. Hohenheim shows up and the recently severed Al cooks up a plan. Al allows himself to be captured by Pride again and Hohenheim encases the two in a covering of soil, trapping both in complete darkness. Meanwhile, Roy’s group is corned by a group of military soldiers that have orders to kill everyone except Roy.

I feel like a bit of a broken record at this point, but I love how good this show is at coming up with creative solutions to the fights. Instead of simply being a spectacle of battle, there’s a heavy reliance on wit. Al’s plan to encase Pride in complete darkness is a great way to resolve the fight against an overwhelmingly powerful opponent. It’s one of the ways in which the show allows its heroes to gain a satisfying victory over their far superior enemies.

50 Upheaval in Central

Roy’s old crew kills the soldiers that trapped them from the rafters of the buildings. Briggs soldiers join the battle as does Ross. Ed and crew gain access underground by infiltrating the third laboratory. The group decides to split and Ed leading one group, Hohenheim leading another group. Panicked that Central has been invaded, one of the generals awakens the mannequin soldiers: zombielike creatures brought to life by philosopher stones.

We’re getting to that part of the show where everything is building to a head and as a result of that these episodes are action filled. The problem with that is that there’s just not to terrible much to talk about beyond the action. It’s okay here. There’s not as much cleverness to the action in this episode, but it is continuing towards the trend of each episode one after the other escalating in the scope of the action, giving us more and more players.

51 The Immortal Legion

Ed and crew arrive at the door where Lust was defeated. As they arrive, the door lets out a flood of the mannequin soldiers. May also finds her way into the tunnels with Envy, who escapes and begins consuming philosopher stones from the mannequin soldiers. Al discovers Pride is sending Morse code and Kimblee arrives to free Pride. The chimera with Al reveals he has a philosopher’s stone and Al uses it to battle Pride and Kimblee. Inside Central, Olivier and Armstrong battle with Sloth.

I’ve got a couple of bones to pick with this episode. The first is that Envy manipulating May seems a little trite. I get that May is still a child, but even she should be bright enough to see how clearly Envy is manipulating her at this point. I think May should have been a bit more cautious than she ends up being this episode.

Also, the zombie soldiers are lame opponents. They’ve been given a bit of a setup, and I do like how they pose a different challenge to the group as it’s less about strength and more about numbers. However, given how much personality the enemies have in this show, they feel like a lame obstacle unnecessarily thrown into the way of the heroes to stretch out the conflict.

52 Combined Strength

Al battles Pride and Kimblee, trapping Pride again, but finds Kimblee a formidable challenge when Kimblee reveals he has his own philosopher’s stone. However, before Kimblee can defeat Al, Pride consumes him as well. Back at central, Olivier and Armstrong discover Sloth actually stores up an amazing amount of speed and can move lightning fast. Ed’s group find themselves overwhelmed by the mannequin soldiers, but Roy and Hawkeye arrive to help them.

This episode parallels a lot of the enemy gaining an unforeseen upper-hand over the heroes. I like that the show keeps the characters on their toes. There’s already overwhelming odds stacked against the heroes and the show always finds a way to add just a bit more, make things just a bit worse. Still, like the end of this episode, there’s still often a solution to overcoming odds that seem insurmountable.

© 2015 James Blake Ewing